Stage 7 – Starting to Head Up

Stage 7 – 191km from Saint-Pourcain-Sur-Sioule to Lyon (2013, Stage 14)

tour Tracker stage 7

Todays stage has been a medium mountain stage and I’ve started the gradual ascent to the alps with a few decent sized climbs. For logistical reasons, I decided to shorten todays stage by about 10km, as I had a 148km transfer to Albertville after the stage and riding another 10km through Lyon (Frances second largest city) would have probably taken an hour given the
volume of traffic and number of traffic lights. In any road, I’m already well over my supposed distance to date, so it’s a decision I’m comfortable with.

The stage started in the very quiet Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule and ended up in France’s second largest city Lyon, so the contrast between the start and end of the stage has been huge. I really liked Saint-Pourcain-sur-Sioule, it’s a nice town and you can see how much being a start town meant to the place, on each of the town roundabouts there are sculptures commemorating the Tour, here’s a picture of my personal favourite.

saint pourcain bike

Saint-Pourcain Sculpture


Cycling from Urbise

Cycling from Urbise

Todays stage has been the first one with some serious hills (700 metre plus) and I’m glad to say I passed with flying colours, it was a fantastic stage to ride as the roads were quiet – with exception to the first 20km, where every other vehicle was a lorry. I particularly enjoyed the long descent from the Col du Pilon with it’s long sweeping bends, all in all it’s a good warm up for the alps which start tomorrow – here’s a view from part way up:

View from col du Pilon part way up

View from Col du Pilon Climb

As a Brit abroad I can’t helping looking for those things we associate as being stereotypically French, one of which is dog poo on the pavement. I can understand that the rich and famous down on the med – Nice, Monaco etc. are entitled not to pick up their dog mess as it is so below them and they probably wouldn’t know how to do it anyway, but what about Joe Public? Well today, whilst waiting at traffic lights in Lyon, I chanced upon my first owner with their dog downloading, so I watched and observed attentively only to be honked at by the car behind me as the lights changed, but I pulled over and am glad to say the owner walked off with said log still on the pavement – so it’s true!

Although to balance things out a bit, I’ve got to look at the British stereotype and you probably can’t go far wrong with the British characters in the classic eighties comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo! My favourite character was Officer Crabtree, the British Agent working undercover as a French Gendarme, who speaks really bad French – ‘good moaning'; ‘I was just pissing by’ etc. Well hopefully Andy and I using our pigeon French haven’t dropped to many ‘Clangers’
(Michael Palin doing the narration – Yay!) Although I can now comfortably ask in French if I’m allowed to take my bikes to the hotel room.

But don’t be too down heartened fellow Brits, the vast majority of French don’t speak a word of English either – so on that logic if you pick up your dog poo at home we win!

Here’s todays stats:

  • Distance: 179.5 km
  • Time: 6 hours 45 minutes
  • Average Moving Speed: 27.3 kmph
  • Total Ascent: 2,250 metres
Stage 7 Map

Stage 7 Map

Good night all time to go take some pictures around the alps before bed!



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