Tour de France 2014 – The Stats

TDF 2014 - Veloviewer Actvity WheelForgive me minions, for I have slacked…

After celebrating my (54th) birthday yesterday, I realized that it has been 18 days since I last wrote a post.

Which means that my own “Tour de France 2014” ended nearly three weeks ago.

The hardship of getting back into my daily routine was eased a bit by teasing Wayne on Facebook, with a daily picture of some mountain I climbed.

Paula did a great job shooting pictures and it’s not difficult to find a jaw-dropping scenery – I could keep on driving Wayne to tears for a couple of months.

But the real Tour de France started the week after we got back and the first 10 days of that have been hectic and a pleasure to watch – most of the time anyway.

With Chris and Alberto out of the competition, the tour has not been boring and every time Sagan fails to take a stage, I’m getting more happy.

We even had a Dutch – ka-BOOM! – stage winner and that had been a long time ago too.

Hopefully the next stages will bring more spectacle – tomorrow they will climb the Izoard, which is the only pass the official Tour has in common with my own, albeit that I climbed it from the other side…

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Tour de France 2014 – Part 3

Post stage reports of my Tour de France 2014 – part 3, with the “Brevet des 7 cols de l’Ubaye” and some amazing side events.

Jausiers

Our final stay this Tour was in Jausiers, located some 7 kilometers from Barcelonnette, were we had an apartment in La Mexicaine, right at the foot of the Bonette.

In fact, no less than three of the cols for the “brevet des 7 cols de l’Ubaye” are starting here: besides the Bonette, the Vars and the ‘Montée de Sant-Anne’ start around the corner. Plus, the Larche is nearby, but that is no longer part of the brevet.

However, I planned on climbing that anyway, perhaps combined with the Fauniera.

Two more climbs – the Cayolle and the Allos – are starting from Barcelonnette and the final two – Saint-Jean and Pontis – are a bit further away, starting from Le Lauzet, some 20 kilometers from Barcelonnette, between 25 and 30 from Jausiers.

You can also rent a B&B room with Heidi and Kristof – if you ever consider going to the area, I highly recommend this place!

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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 led 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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