Stage 20 – 53.5km from Bonneval to Chartres Time Trial (2012, stage 19)
Today is the penultimate day of the challenge and I can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by. Traditionally the penultimate stage of a Tour de france is a time trial following which the winner is decided, as the final stage is set aside for the sprinters.
For logistical reasons, not only did I take on the time trial from Bonneval to Chartres, but I also took on the first part of the final stage. The reason being that in the Tour ,the riders circumnavigate the Champs Elysees 7 times (I’ll do most of one loop before heading off to the Eiffel tower), all fine and well with closed roads, but not when there’s loads of traffic on the roads and traffic lights are forever turning red on you. Instead I decided to ride from Chartres (the end point of the time trial) to the start point for the final stage (Rambouillet) as it just so happens to be the same distance as taking on the Champs Elysees 6 times.
Tonight’s the final stay over in a hotel and I’m really looking forward to getting back to my own bed tomorrow, I’ve spent the best part of 3 weeks on the top bunk and it’s a case of traversing the ladder in the early morning light to get my breakfast. At least I’ve had the chance to stay in the same room as 2 lovely ladies for the trip (not Brian and Andy), but my 2 bikes. It’s been absolutely no hassle with storing them there, cycling is so embedded in French culture and so important to the tourist industry that taking them to your room is the norm. Where we’ve not been able to do so, there’s always been a lockup shed or garage supplied.
The morning started with a case of out with the old and in with the older. As mentioned a few blogs back, the van supplied to us had knackered brakes in fact they were that bad all 4 were declared unfit for road use. Not good when you’re going into the mountains (and the supplier was well aware of the nature of the challenge.) Anyway I’ll be playing hell when I return to the UK.
So it’s been a 2 hour detour to pick up the original van, which has been sat in the city of Tours for 2 weeks waiting for us. Brian and I then had to transfer all our kit and finally return the Avis van supplied to us – thank you to the RAC and Avis for getting us out of a sticky situation.
After finally starting at around 2pm, it was a relatively easy ride into Chartres, with the majority of roads being quiet until I arrived on the outskirts of the city, it seems a really pretty place and the Cathedrale was certainly the standout building.
The ride into Rambouillet started within a km of the finishing point for the time trial, so after a quick coffee, I got on my way but got sent on a detour due to some road workings, it was a bit of shame as the d6 which had been riding on seemed to have some pretty villages.
So what originally was supposed to be a short day finishing at around 3pm, ended up with a 6pm finish due to the late start. It’s a bit of a shame as it would have been nice to go out for dinner this evening, instead it’s been a pretty uninspiring McDonalds takeaway.
Here’s todays stats for the time trial, I’ll add the stats for the ride to Rambouillet in tomorrows blog.
- Distance: 54 km
- Time: 1 hour 51 minutes
- Average Moving Speed: 29.4 kmph
- Total Ascent: 306 metres
One more sleep until Paris!