Monday, September 27, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2016 - Stage 20; Megève - Morzine-Avoriaz. Izagirre...

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 20; Megève – Morzine-Avoriaz. Izagirre Descends To Victory

-

Mont-Saint-MichelWe’d hoped for a big GC dog fight on the Joux Plane but what we got was a dour struggle to the line whilst those crazy baroudeurs battled for the stage win.

It was a nice morning to start with but as we parked up on the Joux Plane the clouds scudded in, thunder roared down the valley and the lightning flashed brighter than a million photog’s flash guns.

Callum and I stared glumly through the windscreen, we HAD to go out in it shortly.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Etixx Ardennes Man Alaphilippe was first up through the gloom with Colombian Stage 15 winner Jarlinson Pantano (IAM) close behind.

In the finale, despite his skills as a demon descender, Pantano just couldn’t get up to Movistar man, Izagirre who swished down over the wet tarmac to stage glory.

Izagirre
Jon Izagirre takes the stage. Photo©ASO/G.Demouvaux

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Astana’s Giro winner Vincenzo’s efforts to salvage his Tour came to nought – third on the stage, out descended by Izagirre and Pantano.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Former world champion, Lampre’s Rui Costa was involved in the charge too, whilst there would be no victory there would be good TV exposure.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

It wasn’t a great day for Astana with Nibali failing and Aru having a ‘jour sans’ and dropping out of the top ten.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

The Bigs were all huddled together and one look told you that attacking was just not an option; Yates (Orica) was right on Porte (BMC) though – just in case.

After the escape artists and peloton it really was the ‘men all over the mountain’ of cliche.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Orica’s South African time trial champion, Daryl Impey did sterling work for Yates lower down the mountain – keeping a steady high tempo but had ‘popped’ by the time he reached us.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Arthur Vichot (F des J) suits that French Champion’s maillot but is no mountain man – this was the second day we saw him in difficulties on the climbs.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

The Emperor Napoleon was on hand to oversee the day – he must have been disappointed to see Arthur’s lowly position whilst wearing the tricolour uniform.

Wellington was bad enough – but now there’s this Froome character.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Trek’s Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner, big Jasper Stuyven was faring better than many on this horrible day, still looking reasonably ‘together’ as he fought his way over the col.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

BMC’s American stalwart, Brent Bookwalter didn’t look in too bad nick either.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

French Giant GC hope, Warren Barguil looked his usual million dollars – just a pity he was way off the pace…

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Jumbo’s Cobbled Classics beast, Sep Vanmarcke was looking anything but a million dollars though – staring up to the next bend but knowing there were still many more to come before the summit.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Handsome Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto) was at his limit too, in his own wee world.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

My flash interrupted Welshman Luke Rowe’s lunch; he’s entitled to a bit of peace with his energy bar.

But think of Paris tomorrow, Luke and the Sky team prize money split…

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo has been riding Grand Tours since the beginning of time but those cols don’t get any easier.

He looks the part though, harder than hard.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Lampre’s Yukiya Arashiro is probably on the squad as part of Lampre’s Japanese marketing strategy – but the man is gallus and get’s round.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Etixx chronoman Tony Martin may be a strong beast of a man but his face said it all today, wasted…

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Bryan Coquard, the compact Direct Energie sprinter has been close a couple of times this Tour – and was second on the Champs, last year?

This year?

But the boys have to get him home, first.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Often, when the gruppo amble past there’s chat and laughter – not on this day.

Stony silence.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Izaguirre
Photo©Ed Hood

The voiture balai passed and it was time to join the infernal procession off the hill.

Izagirre
Photo©Ed Hood

Dodge the Crazies and think about a bath and a pizza – unaware of course that our last digs, straight out of ‘Zombies, Dawn of the Dead’ had worked a number on my laptop and it would take a ‘system resume’ and ’til midnight to clear it.

Such is life on le Tour – but like Jess Glynne says; ‘No Place I’d Rather Be.’

Izagirre
Jarlinson Pentane felt Nibali was holding him up on the descent. Photo©ASO/A.Broadway

Izagirre
Chris Froome has the race wrapped up. Photo©ASO/B.Bade

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

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 10; Escaldes-Engordany – Revel. Bling When You’re Winning

The sprinters are denied - but it's a sprinter who wins. It was big smiled Aussie, Michael Matthews (Orica) kicking to glory from Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) in third spot – a podium of real quality from the big day-long breakaway. And whilst Sagan may not have taken the stage bouquet he took the stage by the scruff of the neck and thrust himself back into green – possible all the way to Paris, now.

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 15: Laissac-Sévérac l’Église – Le Puy-en-Velay, 189.5km. Mollema in the mountains

Sunday, Stage 15 and VeloVeritas’s last shift on Tour - so we headed for the biggest hill we could find to remind ourselves how special and beautiful France and this race really are. Today we’re in the heartland, perhaps not deepest agricultural ‘France Profonde;’ the rural, simple, beautiful heart of the nation, not with the gorges and cols - but it’s quiet, lovely and some of the simple, striking images surprise as you drive the parcours.

Le Tour de France 2016 – Stage 17; Berne – Finhaut-Emosson. Ilnur Zakarin Goes Solo

How are the mighty fallen? We had to double check the number – but ‘yes’ it was Tejay, way off the back and just ‘riding in’ on the Col de la Forclaz – well, we got that one right, we said he do nothing in this race. But we did also say that Nairo Quintana would win it – but that was more out of hope than anything else but it would be tall, skinny Russian Ilnur Zakarin who would take the day, eventually.

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

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.

Back to Bunchies (Preview: TDF 2012 Stage 13)

Back to Bunchies - we’ve had a full week since the mad dog sprinters have had a chance to shine, and I would be astonished if we had to wait another day to see them all go head to head for the win.

Le Tour de France 2015 – Stage 21; Sèvres – Paris Champs-Élysées

When we spoke to Cav's personal soigneur, Aldis half way through the stage we knew it wasn't to be; 'And Mark, today ?' Aldis screwed up his face; 'he's a little sick...' So 4:1 to Greipel - and the rumours about Cav having to learn to understand Brian Smith's accent at MTN get ever stronger. We changed our system and didn't drive race route for the last stage; instead we drove straight to the digs, got organised, had a shower and headed off across a wet Paris to the finish circuit.

At Random

Christina Mackenzie – Land’s End to John O’Groats Record Breaker!

Congratulations are in order as Christina Mackenzie became the fastest-ever woman to traverse the largest of the British Isles from it’s south western to north eastern tips. Christina, originally from the Isle of Lewis but now Stirling-based took time to speak to VeloVeritas a day or two after her epic ride.

Mickey Morrison – how ANC-Halfords got to the Tour de France

It’s the stuff of cycling folklore; the year was 1987 and a British trade team lined up in Berlin for the start of the world’s biggest bike race. ANC-Halfords was the name on the jersey and the team's presence was largely down to Mickey Morrison, a good amateur rider in the 70’s who brought major sponsors into UK cycling but who’s contribution is largely forgotten...

Jake Scott – An InterClub Win at Zandhoven!

One result which caught our eye recently was a win in the InterClub race at Zandhoven over 138 K where Englishman Jake Scott beat Stef Vermeulen of KWC Heist Zuiderkempen to take the win. InterClubs are ‘big deal’ races and the pro teams keep a close eye on the results – naturally, they’re not easy to win.

Stevie Williams – Not Ready to Begin Racing with Bahrain-Merida

One of the big success stories of 2018 was that of 22 year-old Welshman, Stevie Williams who returned stellar u23 results and netted himself a World Tour contract with Bahrain-Merida alongside the likes of Grand Tour ‘triple crown’ and Primavera/Lombardia winner, Vincenzo Nibali and World Time Trial Champion, Rohan Dennis.

Mark Stewart – “I realise AN Post is ‘the real deal'”

The last time we spoke to Scotland’s top endurance track rider, Mark Stewart he’d just added to his growing medal collection at the European Championships with bronze in the team pursuit and silver in the scratch. Some nice road results in the Ronde van Oost Vlaanderen followed where he made his breakthrough from riding as a domestique and/or ‘getting round’ to being a serious contender for stage and overall honours.

Jonathan Tiernan-Locke – “Ifs and Buts Don’t Win Races”

It's no surprise that Endura Racing's 'man of the year' Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has today signed for Team Sky. Anyone who thought that Englishman’s top six GC placing and King of the Mountains win back in the 2011 Tour of Britain was a freak result had their eyes opened this spring when the 27 year-old from Plymouth won the first stage, fourth stage and GC in this season’s Tour of the Mediterranean – a race dating back to 1974 and which boasts Eddy Merckx as one of its winners.