Tour de France Diary, Stage 13.

There’s not really too much to say about yesterday’s individual Time Trial. The strong cross winds favoured the big men, and winner of the stage, Dutchman ‘Long’ Tom Dumoulin is one of that species.

A couple of years ago, in early October, The Wattmeister trundled down the spectacular Ardeche valley. There were few other visitors, some campsites were already closed after the summer season and there was evidence of flooding. To the East, the Rhone had breached its banks.

He pitched up at the campsite Vieux Vallon, just outside the town of Vallon Pont d’Arc which featured in yesterday’s stage. With kind permission of The Wattmeisterin, he set off up the Col de Serre Toure, (home to a lookout point with sensational views), crossed the plateau to St. Remeze and descended back to Vallon. By chance, this route was almost the TT course from yesterday in reverse.

What a gorgeous canvas on which to paint another tableau of the Tour. Despite the pain of contre la montre, and not diminishing the strain of having raced hard for nearly two weeks, somewhere in their collective consciousness, the riders must feel privileged to race in such glorious surrounding.

Now,  flageolet beans again for lunch, with thanks to the god of pulses, Phaseolus.

Open the sunroof and all the windows.





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