The fourth stage of the Tour Nivernais Morvan was the queen mountain stage, a very tough 161kms of narrow winding roads. With three major climbs each around 10km long and many short 1-3km climbs not classified a hard day was on the cards.

– Reported by Paul Coats –

Tour Nivernais Morvan
Now that’s a reassuring sight for a bike race.

Stage 4, Chateau-Chinon – Chateau-Chinon 161.9 km

With 15km to go before the second major climb the French champion Nicolas Bourdillat drilled solo all the way to the bottom of the climb and up the 8km ascent.

He basically ripped the field apart, and of our team only Alsatair and Michael got over the top in the what was left of the main bunch.

It was a plane crash with the tricolour on the front doing terrible damage.

Tour Nivernais Morvan
The beautiful roads around this area are seldom flat.

On the descent Michael punctured, he got within a few car lengths of the bunch but couldn’t close the gap. Those French commissaries again!

At the finish Alastair was not too far off the pace, I came in alone, then Michael (who had gone off-course and ridden an extra 7kms).

Tour Nivernais Morvan
Wee GG digging deep on a climb.

Stuart and Graham ploughed on together for the last 90kms, with their own personal police escort, and made it inside the time limit.

Tour Nivernais Morvan
Gwenael Teillet shows joy and relief after 110 very hilly miles.

1 TEILLET Gwenael 04H08’00″00 U. C. NANTES ATLANTIQUE
2 BRANAA Damien 04H08’16″00 00’16″00 ENTENTE SUD GASCOGNE
3 GUYOT Yann 04H08’22″00 00’22″00 SUPER SPORT 35
4 DERANGERE Jérémie 04H08’23″00 00’23″00 SPRINTER CLUB OLYMPIQUE DIJON
5 GREDY Sébastien m.t. ” CLUB CYCLISTE ETUPES
6 TEVENOT Anthony m.t. ” SPRINTER CLUB OLYMPIQUE DIJON

35 KAY Alastair @ 46 sec DOOLEYS CYCLES RT
63 COATS Paul @ 18.23 DOOLEYS CYCLES RT
73 NICHOLSON Michael @ 27.53 DOOLEYS CYCLES RT
75 MC GREGOR Stuart @ 36.41 DOOLEYS CYCLES RT
76 MC GARRITY Graham same time DOOLEYS CYCLES RT

Tour Nivernais Morvan
Podium presentation.

This was a super hard day and not surprisingly, considering the three previous stages, there was little chat on the way to the hotel.

By now the guys were well and truly well you know what and it wasn’t pretty. Nonetheless, moral was high and the guys were enjoying the experience, but thinking “surely there are better ways to see France”.