Wednesday, October 27, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France - Day 6: Stage 18, Bourg D'Oisans to...

Le Tour de France – Day 6: Stage 18, Bourg D’Oisans to Saint-Etienne

-

Guten dag! We honoured Carlos yesterday, so we best pay tribute to Big Marcus today. It’s been a great Tour for Columbia – and it’s not over yet. We had to be flexible today, the plot was to do a bike feature – the top GC riders plus points and mountains leaders – but the start at Bourg-D’Oisans was so tight for space, with team buses in the village streets that there was no room for the team trucks. These went directly to the hotels at the finish in St. Etienne, so it wasn’t the best day to bike skek.

Thinking on my feet, I decided to do an opinion piece on “has Sastre done enough to win?”  for words of wisdom from among others, Patrick Lefevre, Roger Legeay and Claudio Corti.

I also did a wee interview with my journalistic idol, Philippe Brunel;

“the winner must CONQUER the Tour.”

Bourg D'Oisans
Philippe Brunel, more philosopher than journo. Photo©Martin Williamson

Cycling journalism as philosophy, I love it!

Bourg D'Oisans
Tom Boonen’s boss, Patrick Lefevre. Photo©Martin Williamson

I could have left it at that, but with so many of our interviewees talking about another CSC ‘blitz’ we decide to go to the last big climb of the race, the 2nd cat, 14 K Croix de Montvieux.

Bourg D'Oisans
Claudio Corti, one of the ‘old school’. Photo©Martin Williamson

Just maybe there would be an ‘explosion’, or if not, then we’d go ‘local colour.’

Bourg D'Oisans
Chris Froome talks to VeloVeritas. Top bloke, he gave us his time when pushed to get to the depart. Photo©Martin Williamson

When a break of two hustled past, we knew it wasn’t going to be a ‘mega’ day and settled for that ‘local colour’ – probably a lovely brown, the skin colour of two charming local ladies who we were chatting too, Laetitia and Noemie.

Bourg D'Oisans
Our lovely new friends in Pelussin. Photo©Martin Williamson

It was a great hour or so, Tour watching at its best – it was good to be almost, ‘just a fan’ again.

The big drama was Cunego, he crashed early, gashing his chin and would finish the day 20-12 down, not bad for having ridden a near 100 mile time trial with four of his squadra.

He was being pushed up the climb, when we saw him. Just while I mention stats, the bunch did 55.7 kilometres in the first hour – wow!

Bourg D'Oisans
Cunego gets a push. Photo©Martin Williamson

We nipped right in behind the breakdown truck – you daren’t let a gap open or you’re on open roads with hundreds of cars and camper vans setting out for home.

Despite Cunego’s injury, the five Lampre guys were riding at 40 to 50 kph on the flat, and touching 80 on the descents.

I didn’t see much of it – I was sitting tapping the keys on Martin’s BlackBerry.

It’s 8.40 pm in the press room at St. Etienne – which is actually located in the St. Etienne football stadium – the pieces are away, the pics are away and Martin is getting our VeloVeritas pictures up to date – sorry about the lack of them, but it has been hectic: 2.00 am we got to bed this morning.

I’m on a Tour motorbike tomorrow – wish me luck!

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

Related Articles

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 6; Arpajon-sur-Cère – Montauban. Cavendish’s 29th Career Stage Win!

Mark Cavendish? There’s little left to say about the man, his third win of the 2016 Tour de France and his 29th career stage win to take him one ahead of Bernard Hinault in the record books with just the legend that is Eddy Merckx ahead of him on 34 stage wins. Dimension Data and Deloitte will be ecstatic. Cav beat Etixx Stage Four winner, Marcel Kittel into second place – the downhill charge should have suited the German - and in third spot a terrific result for Fortuneo’s Dan McLay not so far away from ‘The Missile.’ Kristoff, Coquard, Theuns, Sagan, Groenewegen all behind the Englishman – a real quality effort.

Le Tour de France 2009 – We’re There!

In previous years we've posted stories and interviews live from the Tour de France, but we usually haven't joined the race until it's into the second week.

No More Hiding (TDF 2012 St 11)

The first big mountain stage of the Tour has exposed the form of the riders who have intentions of finishing on the podium in the race. The best five in the race to date have been Wiggins, Evans, Nibali, Froome and Van Den Broeck (VDB). Bizarrely, Chris Froome is probably the best in the race right now: he completely cracked Cadel Evans AND (briefly) dropped his own team leader.

Close Run Thing (TdF 2012 Stage 5)

Close Run Thing... the “Guaranteed” Bunchie that I mentioned yesterday did indeed eventuate on stage 5 today, but it was looking touch-and-go as to whether they’d be sprinting for the win, or lower placings! People always ask why teams get into a break if they know they’re only going to be caught in the lead-up to the bunch sprint, and today’s stage was a great example of the answer: you never know.

Book out the window: TdF 2010 Stage 6 (bunchie)

Book out the window. There was a quote one of our boys gave on a day he crashed twice in 200m: “I thought I was pretty good at riding my bike.” Upon watching the final sprints and the way our boys have set up the lead-out train in the past two days, I think I could be forgiven for thinking something similar about what I do for a job.

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 7: Stage 17, Pau – Castelsarrasin

Pau, Thursday morning, the sun is out, so that's a good start. How do we feel? A tad flat, it has to be said, but the show must go on. Over to our left, the publicity caravan is rolling-out, headed for Castelsarrasin. It's a day for the "baroudeurs" today - the breakaway specialists. There are five fourth and one third category climbs today, so it's a hard day's work - maybe a French win? That would be nice, this Tour could do with a 'lift'. The Pez guy is out of the office today, checking-out the 2008 Look frames and bikes launch in San Jose - a dirty job, but...

At Random

RTTC 10 Mile Championship goes to John Archibald, by 3 seconds!

An RTTC championship in Scotland? VeloVeritas couldn’t miss that – on the way down I was thinking about opening lines; ‘Marcin Bialoblocki gives himself as a birthday present a clean sweep of all CCT titles from 10 to 100 miles' but John Archibald was having none of it and pulled off the testing surprise of the year.

Le Tour de France, Stage 5: Epernay – Montargis; Welcome Back Mark

Nice to have to you back, Mark! Columbia didn't dominate the finale here at Le Tour de France Stage 5 - Garmin did that - but the men in white and yellow did a huge amount of the work in the last hour. Renshaw was brilliant, not afraid to exchange bumps with Hushovd and weaving through Hunter and Farrar with ease, taking time in the chaos to calmly look back to check that Cav was where he was meant to be - ice cool!

Berlin Six Day 2013 – Day Four

First up on Sunday at the Berlin Six Day was the team picture, like one of those shots of the ‘class of 1955’ or whenever that they take at expensive schools. The only photos the guys I went to primary school with had taken were on an individual basis with the each of them holding up a card bearing their name and number.

Franco Marvulli – focussing on the races he really wants to win

Twice World Madison Champion, twice World Scratch Champion, Olympic silver medallist in the madison and the winner of 33 Six Days off 115 starts - Franco Marvulli is the most successful rider on the current Six Day circuit.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012 – Day Four

It's Day four at the Rotterdam Six Day 2012, and like it says on the report cards; 'could do better!' We're referring of course to 'our Alex's' time keeping - he missed the rolling presentation on Sunday. It's not a huge deal because at the time he had no partner, poor Stöpler having crashed out.

Heinrich Haussler – “it’s awesome to be back at the front of races”

For 2013 the 29 year-old decided to go back to the drawing board; train using the methods which worked so well for 2009 and join a team where the ratio of chiefs to Indians suited his perception of how a team should be built. The surprise for observers came in the team he chose – new Swiss Pro Continental squad, IAM.