Thursday, January 20, 2022
HomeRaceRace ReviewsLe Tour de France 2014 - Stage 18; Pau - Hautacam, 145...

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

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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.

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Christophe. Photo©Ed Hood

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Campervans. Photo©Ed Hood

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

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The valley road. Photo©Ed Hood

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