Saturday, April 20, 2024

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 13: Saint-Girons – Foix, 101km. Barguil on Bastille Day!

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HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2017 - Stage 13: Saint-Girons - Foix, 101km....
Mont-Saint-Michel

VeloVeritas soothsayer, Viktor and I have long been critics of Warren Barguil (Sunweb & France) as a ‘one hit wonder,’ with his two stage wins in the Vuelta in 2013 then very little else; but in this Tour he’s certainly been reborn.

He was so close to Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale & Colombia) last Sunday after being the hero of the day and today, on Bastille Day he scored the biggest and most beautiful win of his career with a historic stage victory.

And whilst he seems to have been around for a long time, he’s only 25 years-old.

We were parked up on the Mur de Peguere climb which is actually a ramp stuck on top of another col, the Col de Cauognous; the latter isn’t too severe – the former is a swine with ramps of 16 and 18 percent ramps.

Scary Rabbit. Photo©Ed Hood

With the road so steep and narrow the road was closed to all but race traffic; perhaps just as well because the ‘Crazies’ were out in force.

Landa leads Contador. Photo©Martin Williamson

The shape of the race was well established when they passed us with Mikel Landa (Sky and Basque) and Alberto Contador (Trek & Spain) clear.

We may have branded Contador’s Tour as ‘one too many’ but whilst the man’s legs may not be as they were, his heart is still the same size.

Landa looks better by the day and Sky’s move in putting him up the road means that they have two cards to play, taking a lot of pressure off Froome.

Barguil says hi to VeloVeritas (or maybe asks for a bidon). Photo©Martin Williamson

Chasing the two Iberian riders were the hero of the day, Barguil in company with Nairo Quintana (Movistar & Colombia) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky & Poland) who was riding shotgun for Sky.

Fabio Aru. Photo©Ed Hood

Maillot jaune Fabio Aru (Astana & Italy) looked very comfortable but was isolated in a group which was surprising in that UAE were driving for Louis Mentjies (RSA) – but he still goes in our ‘Difficult to Drop’ file.

Some are saying that Fabio will be in UAE colours for 2018 so maybe…

Sky team leader, Froome was watching Aru like a hawk and Aru will have to be on his guard with Sky so strong and Astana so lacking.

Alexis Vuillermoz. Photo©Martin Williamson
Nacer Bouhanni. Photo©Ed Hood
Vasil Kiryienka has some company. Photo©Martin Williamson
Brice Feillu. Photo©Ed Hood

Men were suffering on that hill but some still look good, take Fortuneo’s Frenchman Brice Feillu – dropped but still cool.

Andrey Amador accepts the BMC offer of a tin of coke – and a little pull. Photo©Martin Williamson
Janez Brakjovic. Photo©Martin Williamson
Barguil
Quite a few riders have the GoPro Session attached to their ‘bars. Photo©Martin Williamson
Barguil
Luke Rowe looks comfortable. Photo©Martin Williamson

Sky’s Luke Rowe wasn’t too distressed today, The Welshman taking it easy in the gruppo, not like yesterday when we saw him giving everything on the Col de Mente.

Barguil
Dan McLay. Photo©Martin Williamson

Dan McLay (Fortuneo & GB) was second last on the road today; that laddie suffers but always seem to make it to the gruppetto, thankfully.

Barguil’s day then but not Jakob Fuglsang’s (Astana & Denmark) out with his injuries or George Bennett’s (LottoNL & New Zealand) losing four minutes.

Barguil
Fabio Casartelli’s memorial. Photo©Ed Hood

But back to start of the day; we were sad to leave our great Spanish digs and head for Saint Girons, en route we passed the memorial to fallen Olympic Champion Fabio Casartelli who crashed and died here in 1992 – rest in peace, Fabio.

Barguil
The memorial features a hole through it, which lets the sun shine through on the anniversary of Casartelli’s passing. Photo©Ed Hood

We were maybe a wee bit later than we’d ideally have liked arriving at the start but there’s an Einsteinian thing happens with time on the Tour – it accelerates on you with an hour seeming like five minutes.

Barguil
The riders are all introduced to the crowd at sign-on. Photo©Martin Williamson
Barguil
Adam Hansen. Photo©Martin Williamson

Consecutive Grand Tour rides ‘recordman,’ on 18 now, Adam Hansen (Lotto & Australia) pedalled past us with a nod on the way back from the sign on – we make this somewhere around 400 times he’s made that trip in recent years.

Barguil
Yukiya Arashiro fills his pockets. Photo©Martin Williamson

Power Bar have a ‘help yourself’ stall for their products at the start and riders stock up before the off, Yukiya Arashiro (Bahrain & Land of Rising Sun) was taking no chances today and filling his pockets.

Barguil
Tsabu Grmay. Photo©Martin Williamson

His team mate in the cosmo Bahrain squad Tsbagu Grmay (Ethiopia – but if you’re a Rastaman then that’s actually ‘Babylon’) has settled into the World Tour scene well; so different to the old ‘Euro guys only’ days.

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We usually have a chance to chat to Tim Harris at the stage starts, here to drive the VIPs along the stage. Photo©Martin Williamson
Barguil
Peter Sagan’s bike is still setup by the bus every day, ready to race. Making a point or Specialized just getting photo exposure?Photo©Martin Williamson
Barguil
Zdenek Štybar. Photo©Martin Williamson