A superb setting with top class food, wine, beer and more it was easy to see why our experienced Tour reporter Ed Hood headed to the OmegaPharma-Quickstep media gig in Carcassonne on the Tour's rest day. Mussels to eat and some tired muscled cyclists to interview were the menu of the day.
Roadside St 15: Ed Hood, the PEZ man with the most Grand Tour experience, has hit the French ground running. He flew out of Scotland this morning and has been exploring Carcassonne this afternoon and crying into his beer over Jack Bauer being caught only metres from a Stage win in Nîmes. Ed’s 2014 Tour adventure starts here.
Race Report: Hell, it's a cruel sport sometimes. Bike racing really knows how to break your heart. It was a pretty routine stage, pretty flat after the Alps and with a rest day to follow. Today was not really a day for much to happen. We had a long dual escape, but the longer it went on … well, you just started to hope that the escapees would hang on.
Race Report: With three big climbs it was a surprise that a rider from the break would go all the way to the line for the win, but Rafal Majka did. It was no surprise that Vincenzo Nibali rode away from all the others for a fine second place and more time in the yellow jersey bank.
Race report: Vincenzo Nibali seems to be taking a stance to win this Tour in a 'historic' manner. Strong on the cobbles and now stage wins in the Yorkshire Ardennes, the Vosges and the Alps. It was a display of controlled fury from the race leader as he nailed the day. Behind him the GC got a bit of a shake-up...
Tour de PEZ St.12: The climb to HC category ski station at Chamrousse is the capper on the Tour de France's first day in the Alps. I saddled up for a closer look on two wheels at the stage 13 finish, and find out who's already set up camp.
Race Report: Hot conditions in the Tour de France saw the roads melting and the riders doing much the same as ice bags were the order of the day. The main breaks were pulled in on the long slopes to the finish and a sprint was set up for the fast-men that were left for the battle. Good for Kristoff, bad for Sagan.
Roadside St.11: 'Bus driver' might not be up there on most people's list of exciting jobs, but in the world of pro cycling, it’s something only a few people are qualified to do. PEZ-Pal Danny In ‘t Ven invited us inside for a tour of the Trek Factory Racing team bus.
Race Report: With perfect timing the young French colt Tony Gallopin jumped away from the favourites on a crazy descent into the finish to hold off the pack. Peter Sagan was the big loser, the pressure was on him and he missed his chance. Another great day for the French.
Roadside Rest Day: A day at the Tour presents hundreds of options for Roadside adventures, and sometimes it’s tough choosing which path to follow. One story I was determined to get on my trek through the Vosges and Alps, was an interview with one of the Tour’s Podium Girls.
Roadside. St.10: What a day – 752 photos, 200+km in the car, 6 of 7 tough climbs, 1 major Tour abandon, and a handful of great stories – here’s what it was like at the Tour de France’s stage 10 on Bastille Day in the Vosges mountains.
Race Analysis: After the trilogy of Vosges stages there's a lot to analyze as Lee Rodgers looks back at the action so far - the attacks, the performances and of course the crashes. Froome's abandon, Contador's out and it's Nibali in control - this is certainly not the Tour de France that was predicted.
Race Report: It was touted as the Queen stage of the Vosges and even the Queen stage of the entire Tour by some and Stage 10 didn't disappoint with the action on show. Once again crashes unfortunately dominated the news with the big loss of Alberto Contador but nothing could overshadow the performance of Vincenzo Nibali who reigned supreme in the Vosges.
Race Report: On a day that saw Astana and the major players’ content to let the break go, we ended with a new Maillot Jaune, a shake-up in the overall, a popular German win and a new Toast of France! Bring on Bastille Day!
Roadside St.9: It’s 3:40PM, the press room in Mulhouse is filling up, and the break has 6 minutes and 71kms to go – and I'm feeling my legs after riding the Cat. 1 Le Markstein and cat 3 Grand Ballon passes today.
Roadside St.8: As an opener for the next three days in the Vosges mountains, I saddled up for a ride over stage 8’s final climbs to see how tough these slopes really are. And while the road might set the stage, it’s the fans who make the day…
Race Report: Another long attack highlighted the early goings of the Tour's first mountain stage today with the win finally going the way of the break thanks to a superb performance from Blel Kadri. The mountains mightn't have been long today but they sure provided some real fireworks amongst the GC contenders with some big changes in the top 20 by stage's end.
Roadside St.7: My starting point for the Vosges & Alps stages of our Tour de France Roadside coverage was the point closest to the Paris airport - today's stage 7 run from Epernay to Nancy. Here's what the stage looked like on the ground...
Race Report: The second longest stage of the Tour was looking like a typical transition day just until the day long break was caught 25km before the finish and all hell broke loose. The action started happening left right and center with two climbs, crashes, mechanicals, attacks, more crashes and a photo finish winner - what a final!
Race Report: With the pain of the cobbles still in the legs of the pelotón from yesterday, stage 6 of the Tour de France could have been a rest day. The wind and rain put any idea of an easy time out of the question as crashes again played their part in the excitement. In the end a different German won.