Friday, September 24, 2021
HomeRaceRace ReviewsLe Tour de France 2014 - Stage 18; Pau - Hautacam, 145...

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 18; Pau – Hautacam, 145 km. Nibali Authoritative


HautacamBonjour! Hautacam and the Pyrenees are in the rear view mirror as we head for the start of Stage 19 and the start of the long haul north towards Paris.

We were on the Tourmalet, yesterday – a beast of a mountain.

But first, Lourdes – go, see it and then leave, quickly.

At the bottom of The Tourmalet sits Sainte-Marie-de-Campan where – back in the days when men were men – Eugene Christophe had to fix his own forks but the commissars still nailed him because the blacksmith’s apprentice worked the bellows at the forge.

Christophe. Photo©Ed Hood

Lance would have had ten lawyers on the race organisers’ case by dawn.

Lamongie. Photo©Ed Hood

La Mongie sits in a fold in the mountains – it’s a typical ski resort but you can get out of the car, stretch your legs and the bar we go to pumps a nice beer.

Scenery. Photo©Ed Hood

We parked up around two K from the top without too much fuss because the higher you go the harder it is to get a space.

The scenery really is stunning but the weather changes in a heart beat from scorching sun to low cloud, drizzle and chill.

Last kilometer. Photo©Ed Hood

From one K you can see the cleft in the skyline which is the summit – encouraging if you’re on your knees on 36 x 29.

Campervans. Photo©Ed Hood

There was a fair old breeze blowing which was helpful for much of the climb – small mercies …

The valley road. Photo©Ed Hood

And whilst the coureurs won’t notice, the views are stunning.

The top. Photo©Ed Hood

At the top there’s a restaurant and an over-priced souvenir shop and if there’s one good thing about the col, it doesn’t play games – the top is the top and the fast descent starts immediately.

Dave. Photo©Ed Hood

And although our resident prophet, Viktor might not approve we have to take at least a few snaps of the ‘radges’ – here we have Dave deftly avoiding the mad bandsmen.

Izaguirre. Photo©Ed Hood

Valverde had fired men up the road in the big break to act as stepping stones – but as L’Equipe says today; ‘Valverde fatigué’ and Izaguirre’s efforts were in vain.

Tommy. Photo©Ed Hood

Tommy V. had been away too but his ‘sell by’ is fast approaching and he was glugging Coke and going backwards when he passed us.

Astana in force. Photo©Ed Hood

Astana and Nibali were majestic at the head of affairs.

I may be wrong but I don’t buy into the ‘D-word’ Anglo vibe around Vincenzo.

As I said the other day, his progression has been steady ever since he won the Italian Junior Road Race Champs a decade and more ago.

And people seem to forget he won la Vuelta with Liquigas.

Adam H. Photo©Ed Hood

It was another bad day for big Jurgen Van Den Broeck who was shepherded up the hill by Adam Hansen.

Michael Morkov behind Jens.

And our long term VV friend, Michael Morkov wasn’t enjoying the views from the Tourmalet.

But the man has been working hard – first for Alberto then for Rafal.

Stage 18
Ale Jet. Photo©Ed Hood

Big Ale Jet Petacchi is like a fish out of water on the cols but it’s part of the job – you have to get over them to get to the next sprinter stage.

Demare. Photo©Ed Hood

Last man on the day was fast man French Champion, Arnaud Demare – another coureur not over keen on the anti-gravity stuff.

We missed the finale live on TV – not a bar to be had…

But we did catch it on Radio Tour; number four for Nibali and an overall lead of seven minutes; grim determination from Peraud to go third with the cavalier Pinot up to second.

It wasn’t ‘all ice cream and fairies’ for the French though – whilst Bardet is still fifth he dropped two minutes on Nibali, Peraud, Pinot and Valverde.

He doesn’t have the build of a ‘chronoman’ and van Garderen is two minutes behind him with a better grip of the ‘alone and unpaced’ school.

It’s all down to Saturday – but first, we have a sprinter stage to cover…

A demain.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Dave Millar Scores a Deserved Win (TDF 2012 Stage 13)

Dave Millar takes a superb stage; Stage 12 was as close to a guaranteed breakaway stage as there is with it’s steeply lumpy early: flat late profile. The sprinters lose too much time to be able to catch up and contest a bunch finish, but it is far too flat to result in any time gaps between the big hitters.

Rest Day 1… Where We’ve Been (TDF 2012), and Tyler Farrar

We’re at the first rest day already! And it feels like the race is well on it’s way to being decided. Each day I’ve spoken about what has specifically happened in the race, and my perspective on that. We shall see where things head hence in the next fortnight, but firstly, let’s look at some of my favourite bits thus far, including Tyler Farrar.

Le Tour de France 2014 – Stage 8; Tomblaine – Gérardmer La Mauselaine, 161 km. Blel Kadri Enfin!

‘Enfin un Francais!’ – ‘At last a Frenchman!’ said the caption on French EuroSport. And a highly deserving one – Blel Kadri won in the grand manner; in the break for most of the day; dissolving the partnership with his companions when they were no longer of any use to him then holding off the maillot jaune group to win ‘en seule’.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 9; Vielha Val d’Aran – Andorre Arcalis. Dumoulin Solos to Victory

Tom Dumoulin tests to solo glory in Andorra; Pinot goes poids; Froome consolidates jaune; Porte confuses; Martin rises to another level; Yates confirms; Aru and Tejay slide whilst Quintana waits – but it’s over for Alberto. But all that said - no real changes from yesterday and the Bigs only race the last few kilometres...

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 3: Stage 14, Mazamet – Plateau-de-Beille

The sun is high in the sky as we head south to the Pyrennes and Plateau-de-Beille from Toulouse. The French are making a real fist of out-doing the Italians as the worst drivers on the planet; we stopped at a cross-road in Toulouse last night and the guy behind us had a fit, horn, wild arm movements and a challenge to a square-go. We got his registration and will be back down after the Tour to visit him with a young-team from Ballingry. The game-plan today is to spend a full day on a mountain, just watching it all happen.

One More Bunchie (Preview: TDF 2012 Stage 6)

One More Bunchie... Today we see the closing stage of the opening flurry of salvos fired in the battle for the Green Jersey. This will be another bunch kick stage that covers 210km, and brings the race in range of the mountains and hills that will play a role in deciding the final order of the overall contenders.

At Random

Berlin Six Day 2012 – Day Two

I’d forgotten the raw horror of a Frank Zander gig; ‘If I Had a Hammer’ was blasting out at around 11:00 pm and it occurred to me that if you’re a bad musician then Germany and the Berlin Six Day 2012 is the place to be.

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 18: Briançon – Izoard, 179.5km. Barguil conquers the Izoard

As James Bond might say; ‘there musht be shom mishtake!’ Louis and Rigo doing a spell? Steady boys! In fairness to the UAE man from the RSA his pull didn’t last long. And neither did the Cannondale Colombian’s - but the former National Time Trial Champion and Giro TT winner had real power in his spell to close Froome down on the Izoard.

Gent Six Day 2009 – Night Two; Iljo Keisse!

It's different here; the butcher asks you how Keisse is doing in the six and the local paper has Iljo in full colour, on the cover. In the same paper - De Gentenaar - which is a local 'rag,' there's a two page guide to track racing and two pages of stats on the 2009 season.

Bernard Thévenet – the Man who Ended Eddy Merckx’s Reign at the Tour de France

By the mid-70’s Belgian, Eddy Merckx was well established as the “Cannibal”, an insatiable creature for whom only victory satisfied the hunger. In 1975 a handsome, smiling Frenchman ended Merckx’s reign of fear in one of the all-time great Tours. Bernard Thevenet is older now, but still handsome and affable, he took time-out from his role as “chef de piste” at the Grenoble Six Day race a year or two ago to talk to VeloVeritas. The interview was conducted in his office, he brought his chair round the desk so there were no barriers between us; I couldn’t help but notice that he had his shoes off…

Michael Mørkøv – is Getting Seriously Good!

The last time we spoke to Denmark and Saxo Bank’s Michael Mørkøv – after he’d won a dramatic Vuelta stage – we said that perhaps it was time to stop referring to him as a ‘Six Day star.’ We were right.

Giro d’Italia 2011, Stage 1: Venaria Reale – Turin 19.3km TTT

It's Giro time again! Getting to Venaria Reale wasn't too bad - Edinburgh to Malpensa Airport in Milan on Easyjet; pick up the hire car and head west towards Torino. We decided that rather than brave Friday night rush hour traffic, we'd stay in Chivasso, around 20 K from Torino. A wise decision, Torino was overflowing with 'Alpini' - Italian mountain troops, past and present - for their annual 'beano.' The day after the TTT the Gazzetta reckoned that there were one million people on the streets of the city - we believe it.