Friday, May 27, 2022
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2009 - Stage 12: Tonnerre > Vittel, 211.5km

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 12: Tonnerre > Vittel, 211.5km



Le Tour de France! Ca va? What does the ‘0’ stand for in 02:30 ?  “Oh my God, it’s early!” Four hours sleep, as Barry White would say; “it’s just not enough!” It’s 14:19 and we’re on the motorway, near Metz; we just got lost – no excuses, but the signage is grim. Destination Vittel.

A town will be clearly marked, then it disappears at the next roundabout and being on the correct route has a large element of luck to it.

It’s not until you fly over Northern France again, that you remember how much a part agriculture plays in the structure of the French economy.

Nicki Sorensen.

Fly over Scotland and it’s not long before the patchwork of fields gives way to the hills – moorland or forest, but in France, the barely crumpled green, brown and golden quilt covers the land to the horizon and beyond in every direction.

Paris has hi-tech La Defense and Toulouse spawned Concorde, but make no mistake, much of France is still “profond.”  Rural, deep, real.

But, enough of my blethers – “what about the race ?”

Cavendish quatre a quatre” says the heading above the postage size picture of Cav, tucked into the gutter of L’Equipe’s front page.

On the cover of Monday’s edition, the whole front page was devoted to a colour picture of Fédrigo getting the better of Pellizotti at Tarbes.

The French are obviously getting bored with the ease with which Cav is hoovering up stages.

There was a piece in the Guardian, this morning that the French are also peeved about the young Manxman’s getting a bit “eggy” (as Terry Wogan would say) and making use of the “F” word, to quote L’Equipe’s headline, our Mark is alleged to have been ‘going off’ thus; “Asshole” and “F***ing Frenchies” – ah yes, I can see Viktor raising Cav even higher on the pedestal, now.

Ironically, right beside those eight column inches, he gets 10/10 to Tyler Farrar’s 8, Hushovd’s 4 and Freire’s 3.

They also analyse Cav’s train, “Le TGV de Columbia”… Grabsch and Eisel control the breaks and start the chase, at 50 kph.

Monfort, Kirchen and Rogers prevent breakaways and launch the final part of the train – 60 kph.

Hincapie, Martin and Renshaw bring Cav in, alone, as fast as possible and as close to the line as possible – 70 kph.

Doesn’t sound that difficult!

And across the top of the page above, a picture of him getting the better of Tyler Farrar, it proclaims; “Un sprint parfait” so, I guess they can’t be that pee-ed off with him.

The Salle de Presse in Vittel. Photo©Martin Williamson

It’s 17:30 CET now, in the press room, Vittel – we were met with the usual indifference when we went to get the creds – fat, bald and old doesn’t cut it with the ASO lovelies. [I hope Ed’s not describing me! Martin].

But eventually the White Knight arrived; a helpful lad who spoke English – job done!

Sorensen just won, he jumped the break then jumped his co-escapee, Calzati to win in the grand manner.

Cav skooshed the bunch sprint to stay in green.

That’s it, then, game on – best do some work!


Tour 09 Stage 12 Map.
Tour 09 Stage 12 Profile.

* * *

Al Hamilton

AS starts today’s news with the fact that Cavendish wins stages with or with out race radios. “Dictadura del sprint” and “Con pinganillos o sin ellos, se repite el final gana Cavendish”, remember pinganillos are race radios in Spanish. So “Cav” is the dictator of the sprint, which if you think of it, that’s quite strong in a country that lived under a dictator (Franco) as recently as 1974!

Cav is the talk of the race.

Cavendish is the star of all the Spanish sports papers, “Cavendish equals the record of victories in 11 stages”. The man from the Isle of Man is being mentioned in the same breath as Petacchi, Cipollini and Freddy Maertens in that they have all won 4 stages in the first eleven stages.

The other big news is that Leipheimer and another 106 riders, including Wiggins and Menchov, are to be given back the 15 seconds they lost on Tuesday. Possible good news could be that Bouygues may stay on as a sponsor for another year costing 5.5 million euros; the win by Voeckler seems to have helped.

Andy Schleck has said “Seria estapido no atacar al Astaná en los Alpes…” so it would be stupid not to attack Astana in the Alps, fairly obvious.

We can’t wait, Andy.

Contador and Armstrong are his main competition and Alberto has the form, but Lance has to be given a lot of respect. And Friday to Colmar? “I would be stupid not to attack; I have a plan, maybe an early attack!”

So the last week will be all go, bring it on!

Más Tarde, Al.

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
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 2013 – Stage 10: Saint-Gildas-des-Bois > Saint-Malo, 193km. Kittel’s Second Win

It's not often he gets it wrong, but he did today on the stage from Saint-Gildas-des-Bois to Saint Malo. Cav let Steegmans go and decided to go 'in the wheels' with Greipel and Kittel, tangled with Veelers - taking the Dutchman down - and ended up third.

11 Years of VeloVeritas – 2017: Roadside at the Tour; Maciej Bodnar!

Sprinter stages - they almost have you feeling sorry for Carlton. When we settled down in our mini-market/café with it's big screen and fridge full of cool beer we were quite prepared to sit and wait on Kittel obliterating everyone again after the usual boring run-in. But Big Bora Pole, Maciej Bodnar, AKA 'The Bison' - in his Cannondale days he had a great Polish bison air brush job on his top tube - had other ideas; jumping his doomed breakaway companions and heading off on a solo epic which only ended in sight of the line...

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 19; Albertville – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc. Bardet Saves the Tour for France

We chose the wrong mountain - but little did we know there'd be a big rain storm on the last climb to give the race the jolt it's been requiring for three weeks. A great day for Bardet and AG2R. A good day for Quintana, Mentjies and Martin. A bad day for Mollema, Yates, Dumoulin, Rolland and Navarro - the latter three all crash victims. And Froome and Porte have had better days. . .

Le Tour de France starts tomorrow! Who do we fancy?

Like it or not, the sport of professional cycle racing is largely defined by one race – the Tour de France. To aficionados the Primavera, Ronde, Hell of the North and Classic of the Falling Leaves are eagerly awaited then devoured and endlessly analysed. But mention any of these races to the ‘man in the street’ and you’ll be met with a blank stare. The Giro and Vuelta will elicit a similar response - Paris-Nice? Forget it. But tell a ‘lay person’ you’re going to the Tour de France and in response you’ll get; ‘Lance, Cav, yellow jersey’ – and ‘drugs,’ naturally.

Le Tour de France 2009, Stage 4: Montpellier > Montpellier, 39km TTT

The team time trial here in Montpellier, it’s beautiful; speed, strength, skill, trust, unity, honour — everything that makes pro bike racing special.

Steve Taylor – Hanging out the ANC team car roof at the Tour

The legend of the ANC team and participation in the 1987 Tour de France - the story continues. Our man in Shropshire, Martyn Frank said to us recently; ‘you should speak to Steve Taylor, he was a mechanic with ANC.’

At Random

Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship: Preview

The only thing that is certain about Sunday's Scottish National 25 Mile Time Trial Championship, is that there will be a new champion. Reigning champion, Jason Macintyre was snatched from us before we saw the very best of him; we miss you, Jason. Sunday morning's championship is organised by Isobel Smith on the rolling dual carriageways of the A90 near Strathcathro Services between Dundee and Aberdeen. The start is near Fordoun, just a mile or two from Arbuthnott - Lewis Grassick Gibbon country.

Ollie Robinson – Racing season 2021 with Ukrainian team Lviv

The top 20 of the recent, hard fought GP Monsere in Belgium saw a name familiar to VeloVeritas but unsung in the UK take a fine top 20 placing in the company of top opposition: Ollie Robinson, who we interviewed last year. He’s now with a Ukrainian UCI continental team, Lviv Continental so we thought a catch up chat was well in order.

Emile Abraham – Trinidad & Tobago’s Multi Champion

Trinidad and Tobago’s Emile Abraham has been on the international pro scene for a long time; 2013 will be his 12th season.

Michael Storer – On Moving from DSM to FDJ

Michael Storer's Tour preparation suffered a bit of a ‘blip’ in recent weeks when a fever prevented him from starting Stage One of the Tour of Romandie but he hopes to back for the final Tour preparation race, The Criterium du Dauphine. 

Highs and Lows

Participation in cycle racing, like any other sport, is a constantly changing cycle of highs and lows, and the graph of peaks and troughs is also as fragile as it is changeable. This is an aspect of the lifestyle I lead which at first I found hard to take, but now I see as just that; an aspect of the lifestyle that simply needs to be dealt with. The last time I wrote I was just beginning my Belgian campaign for the 2011 season, and it seemed like things were going well, which they were.

Dan Fleeman – Moving from Racing to Coaching

'There's a time to come and a time to go,' the words of Danny Stam when he announced that he would retire at the end of this winter season, the Dutchman is 39 years-old. But whilst the former British under 23 road race champion, twice British hill climb champion and Tour of the Pyrenees winner, Dan Fleeman is 10 years younger than the six day man, he's arrived at the same conclusion.