Annecy / Grand Bornand

17/07/2018 - Stage 10 - 158.5 km - Mountain

Le Grand Bornand, Haute-Savoie: I arrive at 2am after a non-stop 1300km drive through England and France. Before I park the car I manage a quick recce of the stage route through town and the finish. I park on a typical chalet-lined side road and get my head down. 
7am: In the night I'm joined by more fans in motorhomes, cars and tents. I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together. None of my new neighbours have emerged by the time I head off for a leg-stretcher up the Col de Colombière. 

Col de la Colombière (1618m) 9am: It's raining heavily on the way up to the Col forcing me to shelter under a cow-shed by the side of the road. By the time I reach the top the sun is out again, two coffees in the cafe before riding back to the car. I don't see any spots for photographing the race on the Colombière. I will stick with Plan A which is the Plateau des Glières and somehow beating the leaders back to Le Grand Bornand for the finish. 
12pm: I've got my camera kit on my back and I roll down a deep gorge towards Entremont and the turning for the Plateau. 
Plateau des Glières, (1390m) 2pm: I make it onto the Plateau after a hot, awful climb with too much kit and not enough gears. I could change my gearing from my usual setup but I don't use compact gearing. Many local riders are using low ratios but I would get kicked out of my cycling club for 34x32. 

3pm: I choose to ride back down and shoot the race on some switchbacks, overlooking the gravel section on the top which is captured wonderfully by many professional photographers here. I regret this decision but I've got one eye on getting back to the finish on time. The race is not too broken up with Van Avermaet in the front group and a comfortable looking Sagan not far behind. Sagan is kind enough to look directly down my lens before grab a nice wide shot of the peloton rounding a bend. 
Le Grand Bornand 5pm: I'm back at the finish in good time after climbing back up the gorge. The road is closed but the Gendarmes can't stop the horde of race fans desperate to get back to watch the end of the stage. Once a few riders pass the road-block everyone else joins in a critical mass and we ride as a group. I spot an amazing view of clouds billowing up behind the Aravis mountain range before Julian Alaphilippe to brings it home for his maiden Tour victory. A helpful VIP opens his car boot, blocking my view just at the last minute, forcing me to take the shot above my head.
6pm: I head back to the car on the other side of town via the team buses. As the riders make their way back I grab a few portraits, Laurens ten Dam is on good form outside the Sunweb bus. Andrè the Greipel and Mark Cavendish less so. Now I need to get to Beaufort before dark, find a campsite and maybe scope some options for shooting the next stage. 
Beaufort, Savoie 9pm: Both campsites in Beaufort are complet so I head up the Cormet de Roselend (1968m) to find a good spot. By the time I get over the Col du Prè (1748m) and the Barrage de Roseland it is almost dark and I'm stressing about where to camp while trying to work out logistics for the next day. I still manage to get a couple of long exposures of the dam and the road above. I should stay at the dam but decide to stop 1km from the top of the Roselend after seeing a good vantage point above the road. 
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