Tuesday, January 18, 2022
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2009 - Stage 15: Pontarlier > Verbier, 207.5km

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 15: Pontarlier > Verbier, 207.5km

-

Montpellier

We finished in Verbier today, but first, a little diversion; I’ve always admired Bradley Wiggins as a pursuiter, but as a roadman, he’s never cut the mustard; the cycling saddo’s bible, ‘Velo‘ doesn’t lie:

  • ’03: # Tour de L’Avenir, prologue.
  • ’05: # Circuit de Lorraine, time trial,: # Tour de L’Avenir, stage.
  • ’07: # 4 Days of Dunkirk, prologue,: # Dauphine Libere, prologue,: # Tour du Poitou Charentes, stage,: # Duo Normand.
  • ’09: # De Panne, time trial,: # Tour of Qatar TTT.
Verbier
Contador stamped himself all over the race and his team today.

It’s not bad, but it’s not amazing – today was amazing; he dropped Lance and was driving in front of Nibali and Schleck.

I thought that maybe the Head’s sedate progress through the Pyrenees had been responsible for his exalted GC position – but no, today was a death race with the absolute best on the planet.

Verbier
Total, unqualified respect, Bradley. Photo©Martin Williamson

Alberto Contador; any man that can win the three biggest stage races in the world is special – today he put a line under, boldened and italicised the word ‘special.”

The thing about what we do is that you don’t see much of the race on TV; but I believe that Lance was big enough to admit that he didn’t have it and that the skinny man from Madrid is the best – respect to you too, Mr. Armstrong.

Verbier
We see Craig at the feed zone, waiting to give Contador his lunch, whilst brandishing an SRAM bottle opener! Photo©Ed Hood

The parcours were tough, today – to average 25 mph on a course like that, with a nine kilometre climb to the finish is extraordinary.

It was a long day, today.

Verbier
A Swiss meadow, with Tour ‘copters in the sky. Photo©Ed Hood

We had around 1:45 to drive from the digs in Dijon, to the start.

During the drive I began to rough out the piece about Lance’s bike, on the BlackBerry.

Driving the course is always fun, but you have to be paying attention all the time and make sure that you take sufficient pictures to support the piece.

I write most of the words as we go.

At the foot of the Verbier climb they halted all traffic not directly involved with the race; we could have chosen to take the cable car up, but I’ve done that before, at the Giro, a few years ago – getting of the hill was terrible.

We settled for walking up a bit, taking some pics, then watching the finale on the TV in a little outdoor bar.

Verbier
The Livestrong guys are out very early these days, painting the roads with their messages. We just wonder if they help wash them off again. Photo©Ed Hood

Our parking was good; we were one of the first cars off the hill, but it was still a fair trail to the digs on difficult roads.