Le Tour

by Monographical Uk November. 10, 2018 196 views

One of the best sporting days that I have ever experienced has to be my trip to the 2013 Tour de France and the day I spent on Mont Ventoux.

The heat was stifling, my trainers actually melted on the walk back down and never saw the light of day again - it was physically draining just watching, never mind taking part in the actual race itself.

Mont Ventoux itself is stunning, the climb is some 22 km in length from the bottom and passes through pine forests before opening up to a lunar type landscape near the summit.

The gradient starts off very easy for the first few kilometres, but then kicks up to around 9% and never drops all the way to the top.

For my vantage spot, I walked up the mountain for around 10 km taking advantage of the shade in the forest, finally positioning myself on a bend with a good vantage of the road ahead.

There are many images I could have chosen to show, but these are pretty much my favourites from all the edits I completed.

I have to start with the best image that I have captured from all my thousands of cycling shots, this (for me) was just perfect.

Peter Sagan had just taken all the intermediate sprints in the valleys below and then pulled a wheelie for the fans as the race hit the mountain - he rode right towards me, his blue irridescent sunglasses personifying his style and panache.

The day that the race climbed the mountain was also Bastille Day in France, a national holiday and a chance for the fans to look for their heroes.

Of course the French riders in the peloton always respond and this year was no exception - the race was lead up the hill by Sylvain Chavanel - immediately catching my eye with his special orange bike frame and his amazing leg tattoo.

Not too far behind was another attack minded French rider, the king of the breakaways in the race over the years and a fans favourite - Thomas Voeckler, renowned for his facial expressions during the race.

Again, he did not disappoint.

I have already mentioned the incredible heat and even in the forest it was very hot indeed despite the shade that was offered under the branches of the trees.

Several riders took bottles of water from the roadside spectators and poured them over their heads in an attempt to control their core temperature.

Jerome Coppell from the Cofidis team rode right past me, grabbing a big bottle and drenching himself.

The final image I will show, connects the Tour to my bigger love within the sport, the Cobbled Classics and the races over in Belgium where the real hard men of the sport have to deal with the conditions and the often foul weather.

Niki Terpstra is a king of the cobbled classics, he is totally suited to that terrain but not so much to the high mountains, he was another of my favourite riders who I was lucky enough to watch race on the amazing day back in 2013.

The day will never be too far away from my thoughts, it had so much and it was estimated that there might have been nearly a million people on the mountain that day, I am pleased that was one in a million.

At some point, I will post a longer article about the cobbled classics but for now I will leave you with the heat and the energy of Mont Ventoux.

Vive Le Tour!

  Be the first to like this post
Join the conversation
Be the first one to comment on this post!
Copyright @Photoblog.com