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Trans Provençe Days 5 and 6

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October 2nd, 2011

Day 5

start: Guillaumes (793m)
trailhead: Bouchanières (1418m)
finish: St-Sauveur-sur-Tinée (500m)
riding distance: 39.22 km
on-bike height gain: 977m
on-bike height drop: 1954m
no. of timed “special stages”: 4
highlight: long, winding, physical descent from Roure

Day five regardless of what old timers at the Trans -Provence may think turned out to be the  favourite by some degree with riders so far.

Trans provence 2011, nico vouilloz, mark weir, marc beaumont, fabien barel, andreas hestler

The combination of technical trails and the majority of climbing on roads gave the riders a little relief from the standard bike a hike and fire road climbs to the top.

Trans provence 2011, nico vouilloz, mark weir, marc beaumont, fabien barel, andreas hestler

First trail  of the day Special stage fifteen definitely drops a long way but also has some hard pedalling sections combined with technical moves . To quote Chris Porter from Mojo “You need the trials skills of Danny Macaskill and the lungs of Indurain” We couldn’t decide if that was a compliment or not!

Trans provence 2011, nico vouilloz, mark weir, marc beaumont, fabien barel, andreas hestler

A long road climb with opportunities for coffee and cake at the top (which most seemed to take ) led the riders in to Special Stage Sixteen a woodland epic that finally saw them fire through arable
fields before reaching the feed station.

Trans provence 2011, nico vouilloz, mark weir, marc beaumont, fabien barel, andreas hestler

Another long road col gradually winded the riders to special stage three – a fast dusty trail that cuts along the edge of ravine and out and along a old road that leads to them through tiny villages and
finally into a deep ravine which demands the only carry of the day!

Trans provence 2011, nico vouilloz, mark weir, marc beaumont, fabien barel, andreas hestler

Finally the Village of Roure is reached and another of the classic Trans- Provence trails. zig zagging across open hill side with a enormous sense of exposure on either your left or right depending on
which way the trail was taking you held together with perfect switch back corners – faster and less technical than some of the other stages – it definitely has a bit more flow and speed to it.

Trans provence 2011, nico vouilloz, mark weir, marc beaumont, fabien barel, andreas hestler

A final uplift of the day saw competitors reach there camp for the night and much needed rest for day six , the only day that compares to day two in terms of duration.

Day Five results Overall

 Place    Dos    Surname         First               Day 1      Day 2
   Day 3     Day 4     Day 5                       Total Time

     1     12   CLEMENTZ        JÈrome              00:28:    00:30:
 00:27:    00:38:    00:24:                          02:28:
     2     35   VOUILLOZ        Nicolas             00:28:    00:30:
 00:27:    00:39:    00:23:                          02:29:
     3      6   BAREL           Fabien              00:30:    00:30:
 00:28:    00:38:    00:24:                          02:32:
     4     25   WEIR            Mark                00:28:    00:30:
 00:26:    00:39:    00:30:                          02:35:
     5     36   RYAN            Matt                00:29:    00:32:
 00:27:    00:41:    00:26:                          02:36:
     6     27   BEAUMONT        Marc                00:30:    00:33:
 00:32:    00:41:    00:25:                          02:43:
     7     30   SORRELL         Rowan               00:32:    00:31:
 00:30:    00:43:    00:27:                          02:45:
     8     20   RICHARDS        James               00:33:    00:34:
 00:30:    00:44:    00:28:                          02:52:
     9     32   JONES           Steve               00:31:    00:34:
 00:32:    00:46:    00:29:                          02:54:
    10     33   KIRKMAN         Mick                00:34:    00:34:
 00:32:    00:47:    00:27:                          02:56:
    11     24   MARTIN          Sven                00:37:    00:33:
 00:33:    00:45:    00:27:                          02:57:
    12      1   KIENAST         Pascal              00:37:    00:35:
 00:31:    00:45:    00:29:                          02:59:
    13     56   MATHEWS         Iain                00:35:    00:39:
 00:31:    00:44:    00:29:                          03:00:
    14     38   GRAVERSE        Tim                 00:34:    00:37:
 00:32:    00:48:    00:29:                          03:02:
    15     18   MCLEAN          Neil                00:35:    00:38:
 00:33:    00:47:    00:30:                          03:05:
    16     42   BROOKES         Rob                 00:35:    00:35:
 00:32:    00:51:    00:29:                          03:05:
    17     19   MOSELEY         Tracy               00:38:    00:36:
 00:34:    00:49:    00:29:                          03:07:
    18     41   HARPER          Kevin               00:37:    00:36:
 00:34:    00:45:    00:33:                          03:07:
    19     34   HESTLER         Andreas             00:31:    00:43:
 00:30:    00:43:    00:42:                          03:10:
    20     23   MARTIN          Anka                00:39:    00:41:
 00:35:    00:51:    00:32:                          03:21:
    21     31   PORTER          Chris               00:36:    00:36:
 00:36:    00:50:    00:42:                          03:21:
    22     10   ZIMMERMANN      Joris               00:39:    00:42:
 00:34:    00:56:    00:33:                          03:26:
    23     54   ALDER           Matt                00:40:    00:41:
 00:35:    00:55:    00:33:                          03:26:
    24      3   HOHERMUT        Ingrid              00:39:    00:44:
 00:37:    00:56:    00:33:                          03:31:
    25     57   GROGNUX         Johann              00:42:    00:44:
 00:38:    00:54:    00:33:                          03:33:
    26      2   SEVERINO        Alessandro          00:39:    00:42:
 00:42:    00:56:    00:33:                          03:34:
    27     16   THOMAS          Alun                00:46:    00:41:
 00:37:    00:58:    00:33:                          03:37:
    28     17   SHINGLER        Guy                 00:41:    00:43:
 00:35:    01:03:    00:35:                          03:38:
    29     52   VELISS          Lee                 00:41:    00:40:
 00:39:    00:54:    00:46:                          03:43:
    30      4   HYDE            Jasper              00:40:    00:44:
 00:36:    01:06:    00:37:                          03:44:
    31     14   WARRICK         Ben                 00:45:    01:07:
 00:31:    00:48:    00:38:                          03:52:
    32     11   DE RUYVER       Arno                01:02:    00:37:
 00:37:    01:05:    00:31:                          03:55:
    33     58   FULFORD         Giles               00:47:    00:55:
 00:39:    01:02:    00:37:                          04:02:
    34     37   BOELEMA         Kara                00:46:    00:49:
 00:45:    01:02:    00:39:                          04:03:
    35     55   BƒCK            Daniel              00:46:    00:52:
 00:39:    01:06:    00:44:                          04:09:
    36      8   COULING         John                00:45:    00:48:
 00:42:    01:04:    00:51:                          04:12:
    37     50   ALLEN           Dan                 00:47:    00:50:
 00:50:    01:11:    00:38:                          04:17:
    38      9   THOMAS          Jason               00:49:    00:52:
 01:01:    01:04:    00:38:                          04:26:
    39     28   MAURISSEN       Mark                00:39:    01:09:
 00:45:    01:07:    00:45:                          04:26:
    40     39   VAN             Joost               01:07:    00:54:
 00:43:    01:03:    00:39:                          04:28:
    41      5   HYDE            John                00:46:    00:54:
 01:12:    01:08:    00:40:                          04:40:
    42      7   THOMSON         Fiona               00:57:    00:57:
 00:50:    01:13:    00:45:                          04:44:
    43     43   VAN DURME       Dietbrand           01:01:    00:59:
 00:46:    01:12:    00:47:                          04:46:
    44     46   DARKE           Andy                01:14:    01:29:
 01:08:    00:00:    00:59:                          04:52:
    45     44   VAN DURME       Matthias            01:07:    01:06:
 00:47:    01:15:    00:44:                          05:02:
    46     45   VERKEST         Peter               01:01:    01:14:
 00:51:    01:18:    00:43:                          05:08:
    47     40   CRCEK           Ales                01:00:    01:23:
 00:48:    01:28:    00:43:                          05:24:
    48     29   ROJO            Cesar               00:32:    00:37:
 00:38:    03:08:    00:29:                          05:26:
    49     49   GUARITA         Bernardo            00:53:    01:01:
 01:18:    01:35:    00:47:                          05:36:
    50     47   PATTERSO        Robert              01:04:    01:17:
 00:58:    01:38:    01:00:                          05:59:
    51     48   PISSUERGA       Clarkson            01:13:    01:22:
 00:55:    01:42:    01:02:                          06:15:


Day 6 By Steve Jones
start: St-Dalmas-Valdeblore (1262m)
trailhead: St-Dalmas-Valdeblore (1262m)
finish: Sospel (430m)
riding distance: 47.80 km
height gain: 1430m
height drop: 3358m
no. of timed “special stages”: 4
highlight: seemingly endless singletrack from Granges de la Brasque is
amongst the most varied trail ever ridden by the organisers

Today we thought rather than us describe the day we’d ask a competitor so here’s Steve Jones from Dirt Magazine take on the day , well the week as well.

Trans Provence Day 6
ALL TO PLAY FOR AS BATTLE DROPS INTO MONACO

The symphony of snoring had been going on all night, but it was a pretty big hooter of a fart from my neighbour Rowan Sorrell that silenced the blue swarm of Quechua tents at about 3.30am. I know as I checked my phone.

It was an early start, an 800m climb into what had been described as some of the rockiest most exposed sections of the week. I spent the morning trickling uphill with ten-time World Champion Nico Vouilloz who, after a day of sketchy mechanicals on day 5 had him behind Jerome Clementz on time. “I smell technical singletrack” said Nico clearly smarting from his misfortune the previous day.

But then it’s been tales of woe all around really. Ben Cruz, Andreas Hestler, Cesar Rojo, Marc Beaumont, Rowan Sorrell had all been victims of some form of mechanical. Running third into yesterdays stages Mark Weir cruelly flatted yesterday afternoon which put him back a fair bit
and allowed double World Champ Fabien Barel into third as the race entered his, and Vouilloz’s home territory today.

Sven Martin smashed a derailleur before he even got to the first stage, as some of the top runners opted for downhill casings on the day’s sharp, relentless rock sections. Following Nico through the
transfer section to stage 20 was pretty awesome, as he picked up, lined up and carried his speed seemingly without trying as I bashed through seemingly going backwards. Its easy to forget the vintage on display here – this field really is packed full of some of the best mountain bikers on the planet.

The first stage of the day was high-speed stuff, I set off in a vain pursuit of Nico to try and get some idea of the speed. No chance, instead I accelerated into what I thought was a reasonable tempo only for Cesar Rojo to come past me like a demented runaway as if I was standing still. I tucked in behind the Spaniard soon to realize I was considerably out of my depth.

Nico took a tumble on 21 just before what is becoming an eagerly awaited lunch stop. But not quite to the extent of my riding partner Mick Kirkman who switched himself off in a technical rock section at mach 4. End of race for Mick as Doc told him to take his riding boots off.

With only a day to go I look back on an eventful week, its not since last Monday that I’ve had a solid clean run as a mix of mechanicals, wrong turns, and a tweaked shoulder have lost me considerable time. For the past few days I’ve had to sleep on my back and it takes until about lunch time to get the shoulder warmed for the unremitting pounding of boulder and rock. Still I managed to get going a bit better today (I hope, not seen results yet) and with a day to go simply cannot afford to make any mistakes.

And they offer themselves up many, many times a day. It might be a touch dramatising it to say today was dangerous but as me and Rowan reflected on the days stages the consequences of getting one or two race lines wrong would as Rowan pointed out “chuck you in a coffin.” It was a day for heads up riding today.

Eight hour riding days are now taking their toll on most of us. I’m sat here again with Andreas Hestler at half five at night unwashed, sore, hungry and exhausted and still under pressure to perform. The army of workers busy themselves preparing food, setting up camp, transferring kit as we are out there on the hill “enjoying ourselves.” This is a battle, physically and technically and we are all nothing short of totally dependant on them. If anyone has delivered this week then it is them.

Also the manner in which Nico has commanded the week has been utterly impressive. Ok there’s one day to go and the race is still open but given the challenges from skilled climbers its been stunning stuff. On the climbs he manages the red line superbly and on the descents he shows totally and completely why he is the rider he is. Everyone around the campsite comments that “he rides so different to everyone else.” Control, timing, focus. Clementz is up against it but he is
such a wily character with skill and race craft of the highest order too. Its only a few miles from Nico’s house, he knows this country well and then again not. The trip has highlighted the true vastness of France in this small corner, yet everyone, including the locals from fifteen valley’s away know there’s a battle heading for Monaco.

Racers, tourists, Trans Provence is a rich and unique mix of the various facets of mountain biking. Its certainly on a scale much bigger than I imagined, the fatigue is bigger than I imagined and the
race tempo is also much quicker than I had envisioned. The scenery has opened my eyes to terrain that is unimaginably complex in places. I really didn’t think landscapes like this existed in France.

Results

 Place    Dos    Surname         First               Day 1      Day 2
   Day 3     Day 4     Day 5     Day 6             Total Time

     1     35   VOUILLOZ        Nicolas             00:28:    00:30:
 00:27:    00:39:    00:23:    00:35:                03:04:
     2     12   CLEMENTZ        JÈrome              00:28:    00:30:
 00:27:    00:38:    00:24:    00:36:                03:05:
     3      6   BAREL           Fabien              00:30:    00:30:
 00:28:    00:38:    00:24:    00:35:                03:07:
     4     25   WEIR            Mark                00:28:    00:30:
 00:26:    00:39:    00:30:    00:37:                03:13:
     5     36   RYAN            Matt                00:29:    00:32:
 00:27:    00:41:    00:26:    00:39:                03:15:
     6     27   BEAUMONT        Marc                00:30:    00:33:
 00:32:    00:41:    00:25:    00:38:                03:21:
     7     30   SORRELL         Rowan               00:32:    00:31:
 00:30:    00:43:    00:27:    00:39:                03:24:
     8     20   RICHARDS        James               00:33:    00:34:
 00:30:    00:44:    00:28:    00:42:                03:34:
     9     32   JONES           Steve               00:31:    00:34:
 00:32:    00:46:    00:29:    00:42:                03:37:
    10     24   MARTIN          Sven                00:37:    00:33:
 00:33:    00:45:    00:27:    00:40:                03:38:
    11      1   KIENAST         Pascal              00:37:    00:35:
 00:31:    00:45:    00:29:    00:43:                03:42:
    12     56   MATHEWS         Iain                00:35:    00:39:
 00:31:    00:44:    00:29:    00:44:                03:44:
    13     38   GRAVERSE        Tim                 00:34:    00:37:
 00:32:    00:48:    00:29:    00:46:                03:49:
    14     18   MCLEAN          Neil                00:35:    00:38:
 00:33:    00:47:    00:30:    00:45:                03:50:
    15     19   MOSELEY         Tracy               00:38:    00:36:
 00:34:    00:49:    00:29:    00:44:                03:51:
    16     41   HARPER          Kevin               00:37:    00:36:
 00:34:    00:45:    00:33:    00:44:                03:52:
    17     34   HESTLER         Andreas             00:31:    00:43:
 00:30:    00:43:    00:42:    00:45:                03:56:
    18     42   BROOKES         Rob                 00:35:    00:35:
 00:32:    00:51:    00:29:    01:02:                04:08:
    19     23   MARTIN          Anka                00:39:    00:41:
 00:35:    00:51:    00:32:    00:48:                04:09:
    20     31   PORTER          Chris               00:36:    00:36:
 00:36:    00:50:    00:42:    00:49:                04:10:
    21     54   ALDER           Matt                00:40:    00:41:
 00:35:    00:55:    00:33:    00:54:                04:20:
    22     57   GROGNUX         Johann              00:42:    00:44:
 00:38:    00:54:    00:33:    00:50:                04:23:
    23      2   SEVERINO        Alessandro          00:39:    00:42:
 00:42:    00:56:    00:33:    00:52:                04:27:
    24     10   ZIMMERMANN      Joris               00:39:    00:42:
 00:34:    00:56:    00:33:    01:03:                04:30:
    25      3   HOHERMUT        Ingrid              00:39:    00:44:
 00:37:    00:56:    00:33:    01:00:                04:32:
    26     14   WARRICK         Ben                 00:45:    01:07:
 00:31:    00:48:    00:38:    00:43:                04:36:
    27     16   THOMAS          Alun                00:46:    00:41:
 00:37:    00:58:    00:33:    01:00:                04:38:
    28     52   VELISS          Lee                 00:41:    00:40:
 00:39:    00:54:    00:46:    00:54:                04:38:
    29     11   DE RUYVER       Arno                01:02:    00:37:
 00:37:    01:05:    00:31:    00:49:                04:45:
    30     17   SHINGLER        Guy                 00:41:    00:43:
 00:35:    01:03:    00:35:    01:13:                04:52:
    31      4   HYDE            Jasper              00:40:    00:44:
 00:36:    01:06:    00:37:    01:15:                04:59:
    32     58   FULFORD         Giles               00:47:    00:55:
 00:39:    01:02:    00:37:    01:00:                05:03:
    33      8   COULING         John                00:45:    00:48:
 00:42:    01:04:    00:51:    01:02:                05:14:
    34     37   BOELEMA         Kara                00:46:    00:49:
 00:45:    01:02:    00:39:    01:14:                05:17:
    35     55   BƒCK            Daniel              00:46:    00:52:
 00:39:    01:06:    00:44:    01:11:                05:21:
    36      9   THOMAS          Jason               00:49:    00:52:
 01:01:    01:04:    00:38:    00:58:                05:25:
    37     28   MAURISSEN       Mark                00:39:    01:09:
 00:45:    01:07:    00:45:    00:58:                05:25:
    38     39   VAN             Joost               01:07:    00:54:
 00:43:    01:03:    00:39:    01:11:                05:40:
    39     50   ALLEN           Dan                 00:47:    00:50:
 00:50:    01:11:    00:38:    01:26:                05:44:
    40      7   THOMSON         Fiona               00:57:    00:57:
 00:50:    01:13:    00:45:    01:13:                05:58:
    41      5   HYDE            John                00:46:    00:54:
 01:12:    01:08:    00:40:    01:18:                05:59:
    42     43   VAN DURME       Dietbrand           01:01:    00:59:
 00:46:    01:12:    00:47:    01:16:                06:02:
    43     29   ROJO            Cesar               00:32:    00:37:
 00:38:    03:08:    00:29:    00:39:                06:05:
    44     45   VERKEST         Peter               01:01:    01:14:
 00:51:    01:18:    00:43:    01:24:                06:33:
    45     40   CRCEK           Ales                01:00:    01:23:
 00:48:    01:28:    00:43:    01:12:                06:36:
    46     44   VAN DURME       Matthias            01:07:    01:06:
 00:47:    01:15:    00:44:    01:43:                06:46:
    47     49   GUARITA         Bernardo            00:53:    01:01:
 01:18:    01:35:    00:47:    01:26:                07:02:
    48     46   DARKE           Andy                01:14:    01:29:
 01:08:    00:00:    00:59:    02:11:                07:03:
    49     47   PATTERSO        Robert              01:04:    01:17:
 00:58:    01:38:    01:00:    01:36:                07:36:
    50     13   RUSBATCH        Cherie              01:02:    01:39:
 00:58:    01:44:    01:02:    01:41:                08:07:
    51     33   KIRKMAN         Mick                00:34:    00:34:
 00:32:    00:47:    00:27:    05:26:                08:23:

Till Tomorrow …


The final day is upon us. Will Nico hold on? Can Whistler’s Matt Ryan take 5th? Talk it here…