Sunday, 14 July 2013

Mt Ventoux - The Giant of Provence

Today's 242 km Stage 15 from Givores, just south of our base in Lyon last night, was a monster in every regard. The temperature in Provence has been up in the high 20's and low 30's for the past few days and even on top of Ventoux today it was 27 degrees C. The bonus for the peloton today was a cross tail wind for a lot of the day and as a result they were ahead of the fastest predicted race schedule by half an hour when they went through Crest, where we saw the race today.
Peter Sagan did a nice job of getting into the breakaway to secure the only Intermediate Sprint at Malaucene, in the shadow of Mt Ventoux. He now holds an unassailable 100 point lead over Cavendish in the Green Jersey competition.
Rolland has now relinquished his Polka Dot Mountains jersey to Froome, with Quintana still in with a slight chance in the climbers classification. Quintana is now the outright leader in the Young Rider's jersey  and with his climbing skills should continue to Paris with this jersey on his back as we head to the Alps.
Froome is certainly in a different category to everyone else in the race this year and the way he was able to attack Contador and then Quintana today on one of the toughest climbs in the Tour leaves you with no doubt that unless he has some extraordinary failure on one day, he is at unbackable odds to win this year's race. The attacks he put in were even more extraordinary when you consider the length of today's race at 242 km!!
Tomorrow is a rest day for the peloton and our group is going to ride Mt Ventoux. We take the bus to Malaucene and then ascend on today's race route via Bedoin and then descend the shorter side straight back to Malaucene. Our riders then have the choice to take the bus back to the hotel or ride the extra 50 km back.
It's going to be another scorcher tomorrow so we'll need to have plenty of water on board.
Today we left Lyon in the bus after an early breakfast and then rode a fantastic hilly 55 km from Chabeuil to Crest. Just before we left the hotel, TV crews had staked out the lobby to get some footage of some of the Belkin and Argos riders coming down to breakfast. The TV crews had a guy on each floor at the lift lobby and they were telephoning the TV crews when key riders we getting into the lifts. We heard one of the calls advising that Belkin's Bauke Mollema was "In Lift 2", so we joined the stake out to get a pic of the Dutch rider, who is currently second on GC, see pic below. The other pics were taken during today's ride.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pete, ah what day they had of it that is for sure a brute of a climb.. Mont Ventoux.
    It lived up to its name, as they cleared the trees, it dawned on me last night as watched it and the windiness of it on peak, that the name is made up of two French words:
    le vent = wind
    tous = every, all....

    and you find it all wind as you climb it today, no doubt, thinking and praying for you.
    Last night I held my breath as Sky train led up the climb so well, then Froome led off, after Porte did brilliant job of taking him up almost to the Chilean. Quintana has so much future potential ..
    Am glad of early night tonight, take care, Shaz.xx