Tour de France 2014 – Stage 9

Cayolle and Allos

I descended towards Barcelonnette – on my bike this time – in the morning to tackle the Cayolle.

Some two kilometers out of Barcelonnette, you get to the junction of the Cayolle and the Col d’Allos. The latter is also the entry to the climb up to the ski station of Pra-Loup.

Upon leaving Uvernet-Fours, you enter the more spectacular part of this climb, the Gorges du Bachelard. The road has been carved out of the rocks and is spectacular, albeit narrow.

This means any wide vehicle or vehicles higher than 3 meters, will get stuck 🙂 So no trucks, no campers and in fact, there’s not much traffic at all.

After you pass through Chapelle Saint-Blasse, the road widens a bit.

At Bayasse, a short series of hairpins leads up to the second part of the climb.

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 8

Les Petits

(Well, the Vars was not that petit as it turned out)

Today, I decided to tackle two of ‘les Petits’ on the list of cols for the brevet in the morning. These were the Saint-Jean and the Pontis the furthest away from our apartment.

So, as I was advised to avoid riding to Le Lauzet on zee baik, Paula delivered me there by car.

But actually, while seeing it from the car, it didn’t look as bad I was let to believe.

Certainly no worse then any main road in Belgium or Germany and by the look of it, traffic – i.e. car drivers – are mostly attentive when it comes to passing a cyclist.

I decided I could easily cycle this road when needed and I did so the following days…

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 7

Bonette times two

On the list as mandatory climb to obtain the ‘brevet des 7 cols de l’Ubaye’, I took on the Bonette on our first day here.

You know, to get it out of the way.

But just because I can, I made that two Bonettes, as I also tackled the approach from the south…

The Bonette is proudly announced as ‘Europe’s highest pass’ on just about every sign from bottom to top, but the Cime is just an artificial loop, much like a round about.

The natural pass height, while respectable at 2,715 meters, is well below the Iseran, Stelvio and Agnel…

I estimated that within the time limit of no longer than 6 hours ‘en route’ in total, I would be able to climb the Bonette from both ends.

But I would have to scrap the detour to the summit of the Lombarde.

Which  would have made this stage another insane one anyway – the Lombarde from Isola is over 20 kilometers long, at an average of 7.3%…

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 6

Cinglé du Mont Ventoux

More info on the Cinglé du Mont Ventoux here.

As we didn’t arrive in Bédoin before 21:00 yesterday, we were lucky to get a bite at the Italian restaurant after we settled into our room.

It was almost midnight by the time we went to bed.

Smart people undertaking the ‘Cinglé du Mont Ventoux’ effort, will tuck in early and get on their bike at the break of dawn…

However, the hotel owner was not going to serve breakfast before 8:30 anyway – no exceptions, because that privilege was reserved for the Saturday, when large crowds of Belgian cyclists would occupy the Ventoux for their equivalent to our Alpe d’HuZes.

So, as I did not want to start on an empty stomach, which would be suicide anyway, I still got sufficient sleep…

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Tour de France 2014 – Stage 5

Half a Marmotte

I originally planned this trip to follow the route of the Marmotte, but then changed my mind and plotted a ‘shortcut’ down the Croix de Fer towards the Télégraphe / Galibier.

After all, the passage from the foot of the Glandon in Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines, through the valley to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and onwards to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, is basically just adding (a lot of) miles to the trip.

In the end, I changed this stage to not include the downhill and / or side trip over the Mollard, and I transferred from the top of the Croix de Fer to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne by car because it would save us (valuable) time.

Besides, arriving at the summit of the Croix de Fer, I was already tired, with the Galibier still to come and the triple on the Ventoux planned for tomorrow…

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