The RoadBook

Maps, routes, time tables, sponsor info, and all the other behind the scenes info about chasing bike races with a camera.

Stage 15 – Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz

A tough route for the riders today, with virtually zero sections of flat road up until the finish loop into Culoz. However, for a photographer, this was my easiest day of travel so far. From the start, the plan was easy – go to the Col du Berthiand, then to the Grand Colombier. Even with the rather Giro d’Italia styled loop back up the Lacets de Grand Colombier, I had reconned where I wanted to shoot, and already stitched together a route. But did the pictures work out?... we’ll see.

At the start, business as usual:

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Once at the Col du Berthiand, I parked my car at the top and scouted for an angle.

High?

 

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Not really high enough.  

Low? 

 

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Not really low enough. 

Near? 

 

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Never got the framing quite right.  

Far? 

 

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Far will do. I guess.  

Ah well, can’t win them all. On the plus side, as I was sprinting back up the climb to the car, the broom wagon saw me and made the universal “#getinthevan!” gesture. I happily obliged, catching a lift up the last several hundred meters of the climb and getting to the Grand Colombier that much sooner.

 

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And man, was the Grand Colombier nuts. So many fans, packed incredibly tight. After “running-gate” on Ventoux, I was a little concerned for the riders – these roads seemed tighter than Ventoux, with just as many fans.


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Thankfully, the crowd cooperated today, and the atmosphere was fantastic!


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In the distance, Mont Blanc, which will feature as a stage finish in a few days at stage 19. 

In the distance, Mont Blanc, which will feature as a stage finish in a few days at stage 19. 

Ok ok. The images were getting there.  

Finally, once cleared by the commisaires, it was a quick jaunt down the mountain to the Lacets de Grand Colombier. Again, I parked near the summit, and began to wander down the climb to catch the leaders.


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Meanwhile, soigneurs. Some of them chill.

 

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Some of them definitely calm, but far more intense. Also, is that Hank Scorpio?

 

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As riders continued to stream past, I got individual shots of them. One by one. In small groups. With a leafy green background. Maybe with errant fans. Nothing to write home about though. Given the tree cover, I had a little something in mind, but the conditions weren’t quite right. Yet.

I walked back up the climb, shooting intermittently, waiting for the right moment. As I reached the KOM, the planets aligned (well, planet. Earth.), and I was rewarded with a few moments of the sun in juuuuust the right spot.

 

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I'd say it worked out.  

 

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Yep. Definitely worked out.  

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