Wednesday, July 28, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2015 - Stages 16, 17, 18 and the...

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stages 16, 17, 18 and the Second Rest Day

-

Ca va, ca va !

Friday, en route the Stage 19 start and it’s been hectic.

We arrived on Sunday afternoon but by the time we got to Valance, the Press Centre was closed – so it was ‘Plan B,’ go to the finish at Gap the next day and uplift them.

Vital bits of plastic duly collected on Monday morning we headed off up the Col de Manse which is just behind Gap for Stage 16.

Stage 16

Le Tour de France 2015
The break of the day. Photo©Ed Hood

The Manse is the col where Beloki crashed on the descent and Lance took to the grass to avoid him.

It was big Lampre Spaniard, Rubens Plaza doing the business with the remarkable Sagan second, again.

Le Tour de France 2015
Adam Hansen. Photo©Ed Hood

Le Tour de France 2015
Sky look to be in control. Photo©Ed Hood

The race was hugely spread out but with ‘Froomey’ looking well in charge of affairs.

Le Tour de France 2015
The Cycling Podcast’s Richard Moore chats with our pal and class photographer Jered Gruber. Photo©Ed Hood

And we even enjoyed a visit from cycling Royalty …

Second Rest Day

Le Tour de France 2015
The Moules are prepared. Photo©Ed Hood

The rest day was busy for us – there was our fave QuickStep ‘mussel party’ then an interview with Mark Renshaw – who’s since quit the race.

Lampre were in the same digs and full of nonsense.

Le Tour de France 2015
Serpa shares a joke with us. Photo©Ed Hood

Le Tour de France 2015
Brian Smith and stage winner Steve Cummings. Photo©Ed Hood

Then we high-tailed across town to meet the MTN boys, team principle, Doug Ryder, team manager, Brian Smith and stage winner, Steve Cummings.

Steve is one of the good guys – grounded, friendly and very easy to talk to.

Le Tour de France 2015
Steve’s bike is very nice indeed. Photo©Ed Hood

And it’s nice to see ‘one of our own’ in there at the highest levels of the sport, Brian Smith and ‘doing the biz.’

Sleep wasn’t a problem for us back at our digs in Embrun – a nice town.

The weather makes all the difference, it’s so nice to be able to sit outside a restaurant at 10:00 pm, enjoy the warm air and watch the world go by.

Stage 17

Stage 17 was the one to Pra Loup – we made camp on the lower slopes, conscious that with ‘dead end’ finishes, getting off the hill is a real battle.

Le Tour de France 2015
The publicity caravan trundles past. Photo©Ed Hood

Le Tour de France 2015
We’re here on the right day then. Photo©Ed Hood

It was another day of baking heat and it’s hard to imagine how tough it must be for the riders on a long grind like the Col d’Allos – heat as well as gravity sapping your strength.

Geschke came into the early slopes – which begin straight off the bottom of the Allos – like a rocket, with little warning so our pictures of him weren’t the best.

Le Tour de France 2015
Daniel Teklehaimanot. Photo©Ed Hood

Talansky, Uran and Pinot were all in hot pursuit but the chunky German held them all off for the biggest win of his life.

Le Tour de France 2015
Sammy Sanchez. Photo©Ed Hood

Those of my age will remember his dad, Jurgen who was a top individual and tandem sprinter back in the days of East German track domination in the 70’s.

A thing which never ceases to amaze us is that folk who have been up the hill for hours on end to watch the race begin to flood back down after the first 20 or so riders.

Crazy – and disrespectful.

Last man was MTN’s Louis Meintjes interview who made the time cut by three minutes but abandoned that night – too ill to continue.

Up ’til that point MTN along with Lotto-Jumbo and Europcar were the only three teams in the race with full rosters.

There was a huge thunderstorm as we came off the hill, making dodging civilians and mad team car drivers all the more difficult for driver Callum.

Our digs were in the post-apocalyptic wasteland that is Les Orres – a ski bum hang-out in winter – inadequate street lighting, unfriendly restaurant staff, some sort of huge kid’s free for all taking place in the apartment reception and wi-fi to make you cry.

We won’t be back there in a hurry and were happy to drop down the hill out of the place to our breakfast stop at beautiful Savines-le-lac.

The last time I was here we met Jim Cusick!

Stage 18

Yesterday’s Stage 18 was all about the new climb of the Lacets de Monvernier a zig zag wonder which somehow scales a gorge wall.

Le Tour de France 2015
Freebies at the start. Photo©Ed Hood

Le Tour de France 2015
Tony Gallopin. Photo©Ed Hood

But not before we’d worked the start a wee bit – bread with legs and handsome coureurs the order of the day.

Le Tour de France 2015
Stunning views. Photo©Ed Hood

The views on the way over the parcours were stunning.

We knew we’d have to walk in to the Lacets climb – traffic was restricted to Tour vehicles and team cars only but weren’t prepared for the fact that it was shut to ALL civilians.

We had the climb to ourselves – there was just one “I’m too cool to speak to you guys, your lenses aren’t big enough” photog and a few bamz who’d dodged the cops.

Le Tour de France 2015
Froome follows Pauwels. Photo©Ed Hood

We’d have like to get there a little earlier to get higher up before Bardet spun into sight but our spots weren’t bad and neither were the pictures.

The wi-fi in the digs was steam driven and we had to send our images one at a time – which took forever.

Still, our burger with blue cheese and salad wasn’t bad at all – and we enjoyed our introduction to Génépi liqueur, the local speciality.

Maybe that’s how we’re so thirsty, today ?

The Stage 19 start beckons – and I’ll try to keep us more up to date for the last three stages of this the 2015 Follow Froomey Sportiv.

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

Rohan Dennis, the Tour de France’s first Maillot Jaune

Stage One of this year’s Tour looked tailor made for Tony Martin (Germany & QuickStep); or just maybe rising Giant home boy chronostar Tom Dumoulin? - but a name which kept appearing in the Australian press as Le Tour loomed large was that of BMC’s 25 year-old South Australian rider, Rohan Dennis.

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 5: Cagnes-sur-Mer > Marseille, 219km. Genius Cavendish

When I heard it was going to be a bunch sprint at the end of Stage Five, I knew there would only be one winner. The anger would have been boiling inside Cavendish since yesterday; losing that TTT by less than a second would have killed him. The chance for him to be on the podium with his boys - gone. No one was going to get the better of him after that disappointment.

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 21: Montereau-Fault-Yonne > Paris Champs-Élysées, 164km

Bonjour! The start starts today in Montereau-Fault-Yonne, but we're not there. Usually I start the VeloVeritas diary for Le Tour de France 2009 in the morning but then have to switch to 'other work' mode for most of the day - going back to poor old VV late in the day, as Martin and I fight off le vieux homme Morpheus.

Le Tour de France 2006 – Day 5: Stage 2, Obernai – Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg)

At Le Tour de France 2006 I was involved with TV - no, no, not like that, cycling dot TV - the Internet TV guys. I met their guy, Steve Masters in the press room yesterday and he scrounged a lift off me to the start at Obernai with his camera man, James.

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 2015 – Stage 20; Modane Valfréjus – Alpe d’Huez

We didn't want any slip ups on 'le jour d'Alpe' so we were offski early to make sure we were on the parcours in plenty of time. Trouble is that we were on the road before the routing crews and had a wee bit of mucking around before we picked up the parcours. One mitigating factor was that we stumbled on Oleg out for a run, complete with bodyguard/training partner and team car.

At Random

Reflections on the 2011 Track World Champs – Part III, Endurance Races

We conclude our review of the 2011 World Track Champs from Apeldoorn with a look at the endurance events; only one of which will be in the Olympic programme - the team pursuit. The individual pursuit, madison, scratch and points have all been axed from London.

Jonathan Dayus – “I just rode without asking myself too many questions”

There I was, researching Peter Doyle’s palmarès for his recent interview with us, checking out his big French win, in the Essor Breton. I was looking at the race’s roll of honour and was surprised to see that Englishman, Jonathan Dayus had won the race twice.

Giro d’Italia 2010 – Into Double Figures

We're into double figures. We’re now deep into the Giro, Day 10 in fact, and the cracks are starting to show! Firstly, there was a horrific incident of five of the team’s staff getting on the wrong side of some VERY raw, yet delicious steak, which fortunately didn’t lead to a team-wide outbreak of GIT problems. Thank goodness for Universal Precautions! Secondly (and as ever, less importantly) the riders are now in the hurt basket pretty much permanently.

Laurent Fignon RIP.

'Unluckiest man of the race was Laurent Fignon (Renault) who escaped alone on the climb of the Cote de la Madelaine, only to crash when leading by 37 seconds with only 18 kilometres to go.'

Road racing, Rhododendrons, Sportives, and Sunday Shopping

We look at the popularity of Sportives in this article. In 2014, both the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia will visit the UK. The 2011 World Road Race Champion was a British rider and the current Tour de France champion is British also.

Michael Mørkøv – Straight from the Road to a Six Day win

It's been quite a season for Saxo-Tinkoff's former World Madison Champion, Michael Mørkøv. The man from just north of Copenhagen was the prime animator in the Spring classics; wore the polka dot King of the Mountains leader's jersey in the Tour de France for the first week; was in the Danish team pursuit squad which dipped under the magic four minutes in London and he was back off 'up the road' in the late season Northern European classics.