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Cent Cols Challenge: Stage 4
Sisteron to Valberg
A cool crisp start with cloud hanging around the all sections of the 26km climb. The day got progressively hotter and clearer, the only respite being the cool breeze which came with altitude.
It was over the duration of today's ride that we made the noticable transition from the higher Alps to Provence. The architecture became less Alpine and more Med, the weather became less threatening, and I got a whiff of the distinctive lavender fields. The ride involved four 'big' Cols, all of them very different in character but equally testing.
The day started with a 26km climb through thick low clouds into an area of geological significance. Every so often we'd rise through the mists into an otherworldly, rocky landscape. Yet more spectacular were the descents, some were hairpin cascades down the sides of steep ravines, others gentle ribbons of perfect tarmac.
The arrival of the Lanterne Rouge caps (more on this later), a weight off my mind and nice surprise for those who've earned them so far.
More good coffee, this time presented by Ira just before the off. The man is pure class.
This morning, from spotless bike to filthy in half an hour. Damn. Ira took a tumble on a clouded decent. I thought his superb 'cross skills would keep him on after being driven into a rocky verge but it wasn't enough. He's battered and his bike is a wreck, but as I type he's fixing up Phil's bike to ride tomorrow. Chapeau.
Forgetting to take my camera out on the final 14k climb to Valberg because I was so intent on chasing down David Arthur's break. A stunning climb, which you can see zig-zag up ahead for miles.
Dinner of make-your-own crêpes. …fabulous food, but I think I ate too much!
Tomorrow's stage looks brutal. 218km, a lot of Cols and climbs up to 13%, and some of it through Nice and urban areas (I feel spoilt with how quiet it's been the last few days), I'm looking forward to it.
The clouds were so heavy you'd leave each one covered in a thick layer of dew droplets.
The run into Guillaumes, cutting through the rocky valley side.
- 2 be clear that was @johnherety decision to not let @AaronBuggle start. Tour of Korea and Irish National Champs will be his next rendezvous
- Happy to report @AaronBuggle is as good looking as ever after 13 stitches in his chin. Sorry to report not letting him start tomorrow though
- @flammecast @AaronBuggle His Shrone is fine !!!
- Big thanks to all marshals,coms and medical staff on the @anpostras today. Great work despite the numerous demands on their services today.
- Just to let all his girl fans know @AaronBuggle is ok. He's in hospital and will need some surgery on a cut to his chin. Will update later.
- We've just added 13 new rides since the weekend to our Rapha #womens100 Find a Ride list. → http://t.co/ux8c1JCuQc
- The team also racing the Ras in Ireland this week. Currently Aaron Buggle is the team's top placed rider in 15th overall.
- Tour Series resumes tonight in Stoke on Trent. RCJ line up is House, Clancy, McCallum, English and Mellor.
- Arboretum → http://t.co/cJXOyDWnK0 #raphasurvey #sanfrancisco #sf #cycling
- There are still a few of these sweet Rapha + Raeburn jackets at the SF @raphacycleclub. http://t.co/C2d98yCRL0