Saturday, April 20, 2024

Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 14: Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Lyon, 191km. Trentin Takes It


HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2013 – Stage 14: Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Lyon, 191km....
Le Tour de France

Winner today: Trentin, Quote of the day: this comes from a gentleman of Ivan’s acquaintance; ‘It’s not fair what Contador did to Froome, using his team like that in the wind.’ Damned Johnny Foreigner – no wonder they don’t play cricket.

And that blighter Nibali pulled a similar stroke on Christopher in Tirreno-Adriatico, attacking downhill in the rain – I mean one or the other would be bad enough, but downhill and rain…

Vik rang this morning to say that we should have been sitting watching the stage on TV, yesterday not driving around France.

We did try to watch the finale, Vik…

He reckons it’s one of the best Tour stages he’s ever seen – praise indeed.

[And he does like the baby blue that Shack team has adopted for their Treks – so he is reading.]

Saturdays L’Équipe leads with ‘Un vent de folie’ – a wind of madness and continues inside ‘l’effet papilion’ – the butterfly effect; little actions but with huge consequences.

L’Equipe’s front page today.

Saturday’s stage was another ‘goodie’ with a break going clear – that was the most likely outcome given Friday’s echelon efforts where the stars went way deep and the fact that there’s the Ventoux on Sunday.

On the subject of big efforts, Cav reckons he had to use more watts to latch on to the Saxo ‘bordure’ with 31 K to go than he did in winning the sprint ahead of Sagan at the end.

But enough of yesterday, how about today?

We worked the finish on Thursday and then the start on Friday – so time to drive a stage.

The crowds at the start, along the way and at the finish were vast – Martin reckoned the biggest he’s ever seen.

Yuki Arashiro stocks up on PowerBar goodies at the sign on. Photo©Martin Williamson

When we watched the evening TV from the race they mentioned a figure of one million fans road side.

It’s hard for us to guess but there were certainly tens of thousands on the streets of Lyon.

The crowds were huge from the stage rollout throughout the entire day. Photo©Ed Hood

The start town of Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule was also bursting at the seams – it was hard to move behind the barriers because of the sheer crush.

Folks grab whatever vantage point they can – and this is just for the race rollout. Photo©Martin Williamson

Surprisingly, the Tour Village was relatively quiet with only one rider there that we could see – recently crowned French Champions, Arthur Vichot.

Arthur Vichot enjoys a chat in the Village Départ. Photo©Martin Williamson

He’s the typical tall, slim, handsome French pro – just like Brice Feillu and Thibaut Pinot…

Pou Pou was there too – Raymond Poulidor that is, still loved by all and sundry and ironically, wearing yellow – a colour he never managed to don in all the Tours he rode.

Tour speaker Daniel Mangeas introduces Raymond Poulidor to the crowd at the sign on. Photo©Martin Williamson

Much of the parcours today was beautiful, not stunning, just pleasant and easy on the eye – a lovely part of the world to ride your bike.

We had to make the obligatory stop for a beer – we chose this tiny bar/cafe/shop.

A quick stop for a coffee just before the feed zone. Photo©Ed Hood

The folk were great, very friendly – and it was ‘photos all round’ it’s the wee moments like that which make the Tour special.

The parcours weren’t savagely hard today – not for pros, albeit it was tough with lots of ups and downs all day but with a long, long spell of downhill in there to allow a regrouping – but once the break went it was pretty much certain that it wasn’t coming back.

It was pretty windy today, we thought if could be a factor again. Photo©Martin Williamson

Despite the vast number of folks roadside, there weren’t too many ‘crazies’ out – although they tend to appear more in the mountains.

To my mind, it’s all gone a tad too far and some of them are less interested in the race then making an exhibition of themselves.

However, it’s now part of the race and the daft images of angels, kangaroos, nuns, cowboys and all the rest go down well with a lot of readers.

As do the scenic shots – ‘It’s not just about the bike’ you might say.

The souvenir vans work the roadside fans hard for their last euros. Photo©Ed Hood

And on the subject of Mr. Armstrong, Martin met an American photographer of his acquaintance at the start today; ‘how are you?’ says our boy.

He was met with; ‘I nearly didn’t come after what they did to Lance!

A long rant ensued where my partner in crime had practically to make a run for it to escape the list of injustices which have been heaped on the Texan – with the upshot being that he’s a ‘victim.’

So now you know!

Tigger was out to watch the race. Photo©Ed Hood

But back to ‘crazies’ for a moment – the two English lads who were there in their yellow Skoda in support of Bradley, last year are back ‘va va Froomed’ to the max.

“Va Va Froome” says the English lads. The holiday was your 40th birthday present last year – what’s the excuse this summer? Photo©Ed Hood

They’re nice guys, a tad eccentric but into their bike racing, having fun, giving everyone a chuckle and causing no one any problem – good luck to them.

They’ll be on the Ventoux, today they tell us.

Yesterday we wrote about the Movistar bus and the list of ‘new media’ decaled on to it – Le Tour has embraced this aspect too.

The official Tour New Media truck, whips up the crowd and puts their photos on Twitter and Facebook. Photo©Ed Hood

A macho pick-up truck staffed by handsome, funky French guys hurtles along race route snapping pix of fans then Tweeting them and posting them to Facebook.

For someone from my generation it’s a little bemusing – but it’s what the kids expect and you can’t accuse ASO of not tapping in to the times.

We grab a light refreshment near the 5km to go banner. Photo©Ed Hood

The part of Lyons where we parked up at five kilometres to go to watch the finale was nice, beside the river with good views across to the city, street cafes and floating restaurants.

Lyons looks like a nice place. Photo©Ed Hood

Like Tours, it would be a nice place to visit when you didn’t have 2,000 words per day to write and a shed load of pictures to sort out.

It looked to us that a solo Julien Simon (Sojasun & France) might take it – but five kilometres is a long way in the Tour and later, on TV we’d see that he ‘died’ soon after passing us.

Julien Simon gave it a go, and credit to him. Photo©Martin Williamson

Trentin (QuickStep & Italy) looked way out of when in the sprint started but timed it to perfection to take it; well beating Albasini (GreenEdge & Switzerland)– who’s a canny rider – Talansky (Garmin & USA) and my tip, Rojas (Movistar & Spain).

Eventual winner Trentin chases Simon with 5km to go. Photo©Ed Hood
Dave Millar and Jens Voigt were tailed off the break on the run-in. Photo©Martin Williamson
Imanol Erviti tries to get back onto the break, but it’s not going to happen. Photo©Ed Hood
Froome was surrounded by his troops. Photo©Ed Hood

It was another good stage in what is a much more exciting race than last year with everything still to play for.

It’s the Ventoux, today – and for all the stages I’ve driven and written about, this is a special one.

Perhaps it’s because of the connection with my hero, Tom Simpson or maybe because of memories of being up there with Vik, Dave and the boys back in 1987 – whatever it is, I’m excited about it!

A demain.

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Results - Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 14: Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule > Lyon

Stage Result

1 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 4:15:11
2 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
6 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol
7 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
8 Arthur Vichot (Fra)
9 Pa