Can’t keep clean at Plean


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The first cyclocross race since 2011 was held in Plean today, and what a humdinger it was. It may have been one of the coldest races of the year, but the action was hot, hot, hot.

I had planned to make up for my big cream puff at Strathclyde by getting down to the course nice and early to catch the J/W/vet50 race. And for once my plan worked. I was able to go for a wander around the course for a while with international cyclocross legend and race promoter  Jon McComiskey.  ”The passion for ‘cross is strong in this one”.  It was great to hear Jon’s thoughts on the race at hand, as well as the wider cross scene. After speaking to Jon, I also managed to share a long chat with social media guru and drum-up blogger, Owen Philipson. More on this chat at a later date.

During this course walk we were able to enjoy a great race. The weather was atrocious, with heavy rain and sleet falling before and during the 40 minutes of racing. This did not deter Eileen and Brendan Roe, who were scrapping it with Kenny Kentley at the sharp end. Nor did it hold back the remainder of the field from working hard out there. Roe Jnr and Kentley dropped Roe Snr as the laps ticked away. The two were going toe-to-toe, but Eileen held on for victory after Kenny dropped out with a late mechanical, Brendan finished in second with Jane Barr digging in to finish third.

I then spent the v40 race trying to get organized for my own race. I had walked the course, but a quick lap to check it out would make things clearer. The start area was part of the normal lap, and offered a flat and well surfaced section to recover, before a long blast through a sodden path. This brought us down to a sharp 270° turn, with mud of course, followed by a short ascent to the first muddy, grassy section. Over the hurdles and then wind your way down through the boggy parkland, bouncing as you go. A wee turn and then a fast runoff brought us to the long climbing sections. Up along the burn, then over and up the bridle path to the highest point of the course. Then down, plunging and sliding we went, back down to the burn, before a nice fast section to return us to the finish area, and it all kicks off again.

My bike was gubbed- rear brakes gone, front brakes not strong enough, pedals not clicking in. And that was before the start! My fitness at the moment is just as bad, so when the last rider in front of me started pulling away within the first couple of minutes, I felt like climbing off. But the great thing about cross is the encouragement you receive to keep on keeping on. So after a couple of laps I started to push myself.

Without throwing caution to the wind, I messed about with lines and speed and began to enjoy the freezing, wet, mud-splattered majesty of the day, even the climb where I blew a gasket on the final lap, and on the mad, rooty, single track section with porridge-like mud and sharp corner at the bottom. In between times I saw David Lines (1st), Michael Nicholson (2nd) and Gary Mcdonald (3rd), a lot of times, smash things up at the front of the race. And a lot of other people going faster than me too.

Dead last  – room for improvement.

On to Irvine for some fun on the sand.

Tip of the hat must go to the Unders who raced earlier in the day, all the marshalls and spectators who made the course safe and cheered all riders on.

It was a tough day for all!

Some links –

Jon’s ‘cross webshop
Owen’s blog
An excellent Irvine #Joksijde preview from Albannach

Keen on Plean – Scottish CX preview


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This Sunday marks the return of Cyclocross racing to Plean Country Park, held by Stirling Bike Club. The park was home to a series race for a number of years in the noughties, right up until 2011, when the race was last ridden. Issues around parking and SBC’s ability to support a CX race have been addressed in the intervening years and now it’s back!

Plean was my first foray into racing and cyclocross and what a baptism it was. The course was exceptionally muddy in several sections, not least the steep runup, which was slithered more than climbed. I had a great time, despite crashing on the final lap, forcing me to run around the majority of the course to get a finishing position.

The race organizer promises the 2015 edition to be a fast and flowing parcours, incorporating elements of the old course with some new additions. The stronger riders can expect to get off the bike for the hurdles, but should be able to complete the rest of the route without having to resort to running. This means the dreaded slither-up does not feature this year. Conditions in certain sections are muddy but not too claggy, but we will see how things develop between now and race-day.

This year’s event does not form part of the SCX series, but has a full brace of races taking in all age groups from u-12s right up to the Vet-50s.

David Lines has been on imperious form this season in the Senior Open races, with several series and non-series wins so far this season, alongside a strong showing at the recent round of the National Trophy at Durham. Some of the men looking to keep Lines off the top step of the podium at Plean include Sean Clark and Michael Nicholson, who have both had solid seasons with podium finishes throughout. Local boy Wayne Barr will also be looking to place high in this one. It will also be interesting to see how vet-40 superstar Gary McRae does in this senior race.

With McRae not racing the Vet-40, it falls to the likes of Crawford Carrick-Anderson, Steve Jackson and Franco Porco to light things up in this category. The women’s race has a small field, packed with talent, including local ladies Jayne Barr and Brenda Callendar, while Eileen Roe of Wiggle Honda will also be out for the win, as will her father Brendan Roe in the vet-50s race.  The older Roe won’t have it his own way at Plean, with the like of Alistair Dow, Kenny Kentley and Colin Shearer all putting in strong showings recently and will be keen to get in the mix on Sunday.

All races, including the U-12/14/16, promise fantastic entertainment so if you are in the area, get along to spectate and shake a cowbell.

British Cycling race page
Stirling Bike Club website
Scottish Cyclocross website

***Parking is limited for racers, spectators and park users alike, so please be considerate when coming by car and follow any instructions given.***



Battle in the sand : Koksijde report


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What a fantastic day of racing at Koksijde.

It’s easy to see why so many riders and fans love this course, and it was great to see so many cheering on despite the atrocious weather conditions and security concerns. There may have been a lot of sand on this course, but the riders where showing real grit and determination. Nikki Harris showed this in bucketfuls in her race, the first UCI channel televised race of the day.

Women’s Race

The race pace was high from the start and early attacks by Havlickova and De Boer set the tone, but it only took a couple of laps for the on-form Harris to hit the front, with Sanne Cant on her wheel.  Unfortunately the British woman suffered a mechanical and dropped down through the field before she was able to pit. In the meantime Cant built a strong lead over the chasing pack.

Coming from 5th, Harris started to reel in all those ahead of her to get back to second place, showing great courage in doing so. She was able to close in on Sant without really troubling her. Once again, it’s a case of what might have been for Harris. As for Cant, she once again showed why she is dominating women’s ‘cross at the moment as she cruised home to take the win and series lead. American, Katie Compton, slugged it out with De Boer & Havlickova, before breaking away to take a solid third place.

  1. Sanne Cant (Belgium)
  2. Nikki Harris (Britain)
  3. Katie Compton (USA)


6. Helen Wyman
20. Hannah Payton
27. Amira Mellor
35. Bethany Crumpton

Men’s race

There were many points of interest around the men’s race. Mathieu van der Poel was making his return, Sven Nijs won his first race of the season at Hasselt, while many were looking at Wout van Aert to continue his winning streak. In the end, all three riders would pay back the interest as they lit up the race.

Van der Poel started strong alongside his countryman Lars van der Haar as they hit the front earliy and stretched the race out.  Van der Poel had stated his aim pre-race, of finishing in the Top 10, but it was clear he was looking for more. However both Dutch riders were overhauled and a duel between the ‘old hand’ Sven Nijs and ‘young pretender’ Wout van Aert began that would hold the viewer captivated to the very end.

Nijs continually attacked the younger man, forcing him into making a lot of small mistakes as the two slithered around the muddy, sandy  parcours. Van Aert put in some attacks of his own, but nether rider could shake off the other. Behind, Kevin Pauwels was looking strong for 3rd place as he gapped the like of Van der Poel, Tom Meeuwsen and Van der Haar. Despite riding well for several laps, he gradually fell back through the field and Van der Poel took command of 3rd, a postion he would not relinquish.

Meanwhile, back at the front Nijs and Van Aert continued to knock lumps out of each other, but they were unable to land a telling blow. A late puncture for Van Aert would not hold him back as he was able to change quickly and Nijs was unable to capitalize. As the two came to the final muddy section, Nijs used his positioning and power to blast through the mud and pass Van Aert. Nijs had enough distance on Wout in the final straight to sit up and celebrate a superb World Cup win.

So just when it looked like Van Aert was set to dominate the men’s season, the performances of Nijs and Van der Poel showed he will not have it his own way.

  1. Sven Nijs (Belgium)
  2. Wout van Aert (Belgium)
  3. Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands


24. Ian Field
46. Jack Clarkson

Next up in the world Cup is a round at Namen on 20/12.
You can catch up with today’s races here.





A bit on the ‘sijde : Koksijde 2015


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It’s the Koksijde round of the UCI World Cup Cyclocross this Sunday.

Not your average beach run (pinched from Velonews)

Koksijde is located on the Belgian North Sea coast and the parcours makes full use of the sand dunes to create several sandy sections. Riders will constantly have to decide whether to ride or run these zandstroken and those who choose to ride will require to demonstrate great handling  skills to ensure they stay upright. For many ‘cross aficionados this helps make the course one of the highlights of the CX season.

Each world cup event has a full day of racing with Male Youths, Juniors and U23s all powering their way around the course during the morning, ahead of the elite women and men.  I have pulled together a wee preview of the women’s and men’s races for you to digest at your leisure.

Women’s race : 12.30 GMT

Koksijde has been a happy hunting ground for the American Katie Compton recently, winning the race in 2012 and 2013. Sanne Cant has also enjoyed real success in the sand. The Belgian women has placed 3rd (2012), 2nd (2013) and 1st (last year). That’s the kind of progression any of us would be more than happy with! Cant has been on form in 2015, scoring some big wins in the recent Superprestige races as well as winning the European Championships. Compton cleaned up at the Derby Cup double-header and at the Pan-American Cross Champs, making November a good month for her too. Both women will be keen to get their first UCI World Cup win of 2015/6 under their belt, but there are plenty of others who won’t want to bury their heads in the sand.

Brit Nikki Harris has been on good form over the last few months with several podium finishes. The sand at Koksijde has also been good to her, with two podium places and a top 5 in the last three years. She will also be hoping to get some payback after a slip cost her the chance of victory at the Valkenburg round of the World Cup. The Italian Eva Lechner took advantage of this slip to win at Valkenburg, building on a strong 2nd place in Las Vegas (1st round of World Cup). She also picked up wins in America a couple of weeks ago and will be aiming to fly high on Sunday.

Another Brit to look out for is Helen Wyman, who has finished in the top 10 at Koksijde for the last three years. And keep an eye on the other women in the British contingent: Hannah Payton, Amira Mellor & Bethany Crumpton.

The last few Belgian/Dutch series races has seen Jolien Verschuren finish on the podium regularly, including top spot at the Koppenbergcross, and a 1-2-3 with Harris and Cant would not be a surprise.

Men’s race : 14.00 GMT

The 2014 winner, Wout van Aert, is a red-hot favourite to win here again this year. The Belgian Van Aert has ridden a strong season (read more here) and will be looking to add to a string of victories this Sundayvin the dunes, to strengthen his grip on the 2015/6 season. His fellow countryman, Kevin Pauwels, finished 2nd to Van Aert here last year and will be looking to go one better, after recent back-to-back victories in sandy Ruddervoorde and Niel. Dutchman Lars van der Haar will be in the hunt, and we can also expect to see Koksijde 2012 winner, and de-mob happy, Sven Nijs looking for the elusive victory in his final season.

Koksijde marks a return to competition for the World Champion Mathieu van der Poel. The young Dutchman crashed on the road earlier in the year and had to have surgery on his knee.  He is hoping for a top ten spot, but I think he will push the Van Aert & co a bit more than. We won’t be seeing 2013 winner Niels Albert in the sand due to his early retirement from competitive cycling, nor will we see Frenchman Francis Mourey who finished on the podium in 2012 & 2013, but does not appear on the start list.

Field in the sand, (pinched from Velonews)

Ian Field, current British national champ, will be racing in the sand again and has shown progression year-on-year at Koksijde, posting 29-28-24 finishes. I am sure he would like to crack the top-20 this year to continue that upward trend. Fellow-Brit Jack Clarkson will also be mixing it with the world’s best, and considers this race as the most difficult he has ever ridden.

The women’s and men’s races will be broadcast live on the UCI Youtube channel, where you can also watch previous editions of Koksijde and other World Cup rounds if you can’t wait until Sunday.  And should you enjoy international cyclocross, why not come down to a local race and shake your cowbell? There is even a Scottish version at Irvine, also known as Jocksijde, being held in a few weeks on the beach at Irvine.

For more information on Scottish cyclocross, have a look here.





Pavé to Glory


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What a momentous season it was for MTN Qhubeka in 2015 . There has been a veritable plethora of stage wins and classification jerseys in across a number of races. There has also been a consistent outpouring of general good feelings toward this African outfit. It looks possible that the team could be promoted to the World Tour for 2016. This is something they richly deserve- a chance to shine at all the world’s top races. The management busily been preparing for next year by making a number of key rider signings, none more headline grabbing than that of a certain Cavendish, Mark.

The boy racer has grown up in both a cycling and personal context. The desire to win, however, is undiminished and Cavendish will look to continue his winning ways in 2016, as well as wrest back the title of unofficial world’s best sprinter. But another signing has got me thinking.

Roger Hammond is leaving Madison Genesis to become a DS at the reincarnation of MTN, Dimension Data. Hammond is well known for skills at cyclocross, but also excelled on the cobbles throughout his career, famously finishing 3rd in Paris-Roubaix in 2004, and 4th in 2010. He will no doubt be expected to provide a bit of insight into racing the cobbles and provide leadership for the classics group of riders.

Cavendish has a successful record when it comes to the ‘flatter’ sprinters cobbled classics, such as Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Scheldeprijs and Gent-Wevelgem. His record in the classics which make greater use of the Flemish Ardennes, such as the E3 and Tour of Flanders, or the Hell of the North is nonexistent. I’m not even sure how often, if ever, he has ridden these races. Could this be about to change?

Brian Smith, DS at MTN and a key mover in getting Mark signed, is looking for a different approach from his new charge and has also hinted at a tilt at Paris-Roubaix. With the era of Boonen and Cancellara coming to an end, is it too much to expect Cav to reinvent himself in their image? Perhaps it is, but it is clear that he has the stamina to ride the longer, harder races and has the tactical nous to deal with, for example, cross winds and positioning. With Hammond’s guidance could he find the remaining ingredients required to be a contender and take on the likes of Degenkolb and Kristoff on the cobbles?

At the moment the man seems more focused on Brazil 2016. It’s heavy metal he’s after, not heavy stone. But it would not surprise me if Cav followed a new pavé to glory in the near future. 

How do you solve a problem like Wout?


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Pity the world’s best cyclocrossers.

The 2015/16 season has seen them staring at Wout van Aert’s backside for practically every classification race.

BPost Trofee 2 rounds, 2 wins
Superprestige 4 rounds 3 wins
UCI World Cup 2 rounds 1 win

His only significant losses have come back to back in early November. Over one weekend he finished second behind Lars van der Haar at the European Championships and second behind Kevin Pauwels at the Ruddervoorde round of Superprestige. Van Aert’s performance this season has been phenomenal. When you consider the fact that he is still only 21, then it’s even more impressive.

Again, pity the world’s best cyclocrossers.

They could be spending the next ten years staring at Van Aert heading in to the distance. They must be shaking their heads. The thought had surely crossed their minds that, with Sven Nijs retiring this season, they would have a chance to step up and dominate world ‘cross. As things stand Pauwels, Van der Haar, and Co are possibly not going to get that chance. Especially when you consider that the young Dutchman, and reigning world Champion Mathieu van der Poel has barely ridden a cross race in anger this season and could make things more difficult for the chasing pack. But I digress.

So how do you solve a problem like Wout van Aert?

The way I see it, there are a few short and long term possibilities around how the cross scene will develop.

1. Van Aert can’t sustain his form and gives ground to the others around him.

For such a short career it’s difficult to see how he will react to a significant drop of form, long term injury and so on. However we did get a hint of his resilience during the World Champs, when a mechanical held him up. He refused for a long time to give up the gold medal place to Van der Haar and continued to chase Van der Haar deep in tp the race. A lot of people felt Van Aert was the strongest on the day. It is worth noting that he did not clinch first in some of the big jersey races over the last year, ie the Belgian, World & Euro Champs. Pressure can do strange things.

2. Van Aert gets worked over by his opponents.

You can see this already. Nijs attacks and if he is brought back then Pauwels jumps and so on. Sometimes Van Aert is made to work, sometimes not. If all the ‘toppers’ force Wout to take the chase every time, then they could tire him out and one of them takes the win. Over the longer term this could grind Wout down.

3. Tactical riding

Van Aert seems to be a bit less confident on trickier, more technical parcours. Lars van der Haar commented on his confidence going into the the technical sections at the Euros. And he does seem to wobble from time to time. So maybe the others needs to target him more at certain races or during certain sections. Unfortunately for VDH and Co, you can learn technical skills and Van Aert has time on his side, plus a good coach in Niels Albert.

4. Van Aert quits cyclocross.

For many this might be the only way to beat Van Aert- he takes up road racing full time. Like Boom and Stybar before him, Wout too could look to broaden his horizons and earn greater fame and a larger wage by changing discipline. He spent time on the road last year with the Flemish cobble maestro Tom Boonen, who was convinced Van Aert could be as dominant on the road as he is in the mud.

Only time will tell if Van Aert will get the chance to dominate cyclocross, but it will be interesting watching how he develops and what the chasing pack do to catch up.

My thanks to Rojaws and Hammerstein

Guess who’s Basque?


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From their Orange jerseys, to their ability to light up any race when the going got steep, from their dislike of the Northern Classics, to their passionate fans, the Euskaltel-Euskadi cycling team had a major impact on the cycling world.

Euskaltel in full flight, known to some as the carrots for obvious reasons

Throughout their existence they garnered plaudits and respect, as they won races here, there and everywhere. The backing they received from their fans, both Basque and non-Basque, was matched, from a financial perspective, by the Basque regional government, who co-funded along with a regional phone company.

The team had a unique recruitment policy whereby only riders from the Basque region, or those whose formative years were in the Pais Vasco could don the orange jersey. Unfortunatley this rule had to be relaxed in the last couple of years of the team’s existence, as the need for UCI rider points forced them to look beyond the Basque border. In 2013, after near-on 20 years of racing, the state withdrew funding, citing the Spanish economic malaise as the main reason.  Despite several attempts to keep the team alive, the dream died and the orange jersey was put into retirement.

But from Orange comes green

Euskadi Basque Country Murias. Foto: @MuriasTeam

The Basque government seems once again willing and able to fund a Basque cycling team to a level that will allow it to compete at the world’s top races.  Murias, a regional construction firm, has joined the government as a named sponsored. The first goal of this new team is to race in the 2016 Tour of the Basque Country. Further down the line they aim to race in the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France.

I look forward to reading and seeing how this team perform over the next few years. As they attempt to capture the hearts and minds of Basques and non-Basques alike. One thing is for sure,  they were visible in their bright orange jerseys and they will be just as visible in their bright green jerseys!

Read more about the Euskaltel-Euskadi history here.
And follow the new team Euskadi Basque Country Murias on twitter here and on Facebook here.

Running on Empty: European Cyclocross Championships


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Venturini bags some airtime during the men’s race


The European Cyclocross Championships were held on Saturday, and for the first time there was a men’s elite race alongside the women’s / u23s / junior races.

Both the women’s and men’s races were broadcast live on TV and Internet. Viewers in the UK were able to cheer on Nikki Harris to a bronze medal, behind the Belgians Jolien Verschuren (silver) and Sanne Cant (gold).

All three women have been dominant in women’s cyclocross so far this season. On the men’s scene, however, one man sticks out head and shoulders above his rivals, the young Belgian Wout van Aert.

Van Aert arrived as the hot favourite to win the sky blue jersey, having won every round of the BPost, Superprestige, and World Cup classifications this season. There was a strong field of riders determined to knock Van Aert from his perch, but it looked like business as usual as the rangy Belgian started to pull away from the field. The Dutchman Lars van der Haar was the only rider able to keep in touch and even then Van Aert was building a lead.

And then something odd happened.

A momentary lapse of concentration? A slipped chain?

Whatever happened, Van Aert lost a few seconds and the Dutch dude hauled himself back on terms, before going on to drop the favourite on the final lap, while Kevin Pauwels took the final medal of the day.

For the second time in as many “jersey” races Van Aert was beaten to the line by a Dutchman. This kind of thing doesn’t go down well in Belgium! It seems that Van Aert simply ran out of gas and had nothing left to give.

While I will never know what it is like to win a local CX race, never mind a prestigious race like the European Cyclocross Championships, I do know what it feels like when the man with the hammer comes calling. And it ain’t pretty.

I feel your pain, Wout.

Jackson Browne, Running on Empty

Link to women’s race

Link to men’s race

Disgusted, of Rutherglen


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Dear sir,

Further to your recent comments regarding your intentions toward cyclocross racing this season, may I kindly point out the following

A) Leaving important bike repairs, of which you were aware, to the morning of a race, is not advised.

B) Having to drive to a bike shop for replacement parts on the morning of a race, is not advised.

C) Driving to a race expecting to easily fit said parts in good time before the race, is not advised.

D) DNSing a race and driving home in a cream puff because you completely failed to fit said parts, is not advised.

All in all, your actions (or should I say ‘lack thereof?) on Sunday and on the days prior, were inexcusable.

Are you aware of the cliché fail to prepare: prepare to fail?

Well never have I seen a better example.

I understand you intend to race on 29 November?

Well, as the saying goes, get the finger oot, don’t be a prat, and make sure you are ready.

Yours in cyclocross

Disgusted, of Rutherglen.

Strathclyde Park CX results here.

Paris – Alpe D’Huez – Paris Part Deux


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This is part two of my TdF 2015 travelblog.

You can read part one here.

An immensely enjoyable Alpe D’Huez stage concluded with a home win for Thibaut Pinot and a sufficient buffer for Chris Froome to take yellow in to Paris, despite the valiant efforts of Nairo Quintana.  My dad and I spent the 30 minutes after Pinot and the top riders had crossed the line cheering on the scattered remnants of the peloton, as they too crossed the line, stopped their garmins and tried to get off the mountain as quickly as they could.

From first to last they had earned their dinner and a decent kip that night.

Our journey back down the ski lifts went without a hitch, but the roads back to Grenoble were choked up with tour traffic. There would be no quick getaway for us! I spotted team trucks and buses of every hue on the three hour odyssey back to Grenoble. Some of them performed alarming manoeuvres to skip traffic. Yes Garmin & Movistar, I am looking at you! Time for another(!) burger in town and off to bed.

Sunday morning meant a wander down to the station to catch the TGV up to the capital. While hanging about, waiting on the train, I spotted Jens Voigt in the hall and tried to grab a ‘selfie’ with him. Unfortunately I could not get the camera on my phone to work, despite Jens’ best attempts to instruct me.  Perhaps he should have said ‘shut up camera and do what I tell you’!

*If you don’t have the selfie it never happened!*

After this epic fail I grabbed l’equipe, pastries and coffees and boarded the train. It really is a civilized way to travel up. More so when a group a Mexican cycling tifosi start talking to you about the tour, football, life and beer.

The TGV eased in to Gare de Lyon and we made our way to our chosen hotel for the final night of our French sojourn. Our intention was to head down to the route near the Champs Elysee to see the women’s one day race La Course, followed by the denouement of the men’s race. However a combination of grim Parisian weather and tiredness deterred us from leaving our hotel room until much later than planned, sadly missing the women light up an otherwise grey afternoon.

We eventually got ourselves down to the Rue de Rivoli to join in the fun. Cool, grey and wet weather is not ideal for watching a bike race, so we spent a while in a beer tent, near Norwegian corner, for a bit of shelter. We were also able to follow the race as it ambled its way in to town. After warming up it was time to head out to the roadside, where things were drying out a bit, but still not exactly summery. We positioned ourselves close to the flamme rouge and had a great view as the peloton thundered past us 10 times. It was easy to pick out names both big and small, although spotting Froome was never going to be difficult.


As the laps counted down the tension ratcheted up. The have-a-go heroes tried to jump away, while the sprinters teams swarmed to the front to control things. The guys at the back simply tried to hang on and keep out of danger, not always successfully!


Trek and Astana riders hit the deck


Christophe Riblon of Ag2R is not amused

All three riders who went down in front of us managed to get back on the go, after some remonstrating and gesturing, naturally. Just as well, as the very next lap was the last lap. Or maybe not.

We had lost count of how many were left and did not realise the race was over until the flamme was pulled down and others around us started to head away. This was a very odd feeling. I asked a couple of gendarmes on the course if they knew who had won, but they had no idea. The Norwegians back in the tent also had no clue, but seemed to know their man Kristoff had finished third. (They also seemed a bit more p!shed than on our previous visit.) You can see the final stage summary here.

We shuffled home via a Vietnamese restaurant and made an early night of it and spent our final day doing some sightseeing at the Sacre Couer and looking for Quasimodo down at Notre Dame.

So that was that.

The end of le tour and our tour

I can’t help but feel the final stage was somewhat of a letdown, but given the glorious weather and fantastic racing the day before, maybe that was always going to be the case. And that day on the Alpe will live with me for a long time to come.

Vive le tour!


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