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This year's festival runs from 16-23 Dec. Click on the photo for more

Monday, 23 July 2012

AU REVOIR: Les Chasseurs Alpins leave Bourg St Maurice


Earlier this month the 7e Chasseurs Alpins left Bourg St Maurice.


This marks the end of an era for the town.  For some background click here.

Soldiers leaving for a tour of duty in Afghanistan

Their new base will be in Varces, near Grenoble.  Here are two videos covering their departure:




Saturday, 14 July 2012

LE TOUR A TIGNES

Tignes isn't really steeped in Tour history.  It's only been there once in fact, but the 2007 tour did stay on for a rest day when it did come to town.  The stage was won by the dastardly Rasmussen, who was later removed from the Tour by his Rabobank team - Wikipedia summary, including the Tour in London, can be found here.


Here's the Stage from another angle - a nice behind-the-scenes video, including the ridiculous-ness that is the publicity caravan, about 3 minutes in.

Tignes is a frequent base for altitude training of French sports teams.  Stade Francais are regular visitors, for example.  However the most notable recent guests were perhaps the French football team, who spent some "quality time" together in May 2010, before their disastrous South African adventure.  Look out for Franck Ribery, who looks particularly reluctant as the happy campers take to the chairlift with their snowshoeing kit in tow.


More on the skiing in Tignes here.


Monday, 9 July 2012

LE TOUR A VAL D'ISERE

Given its fame, it's perhaps surprising that the Manchester United of skiing has only hosted two Tour arrivals, in 1963 (below) and in 1996, the day after Indurain's nightmare on the way to Les Arcs.



Here's some (silent) video of the 1963 stage, including the Col de l'Iseran at 5'40".  The stage was won by Spaniard Fernando Mazaneque.

1996 saw a relatively unusual mountain time trial stage, on what is (by Alpine standards) the pretty dull road between Bourg St Maurice and Val d'Isere.

The next day brought snow, which meant the planned epic stage over the Iseran and Galibier to Sestriere had to be shortened.  Riis won and went on to win the Tour - overview here.   Details of Riis's later confession to having taken drugs here.

Val d'Isere has also been a ville départ, in 1963 (to Chamonix) and in 2007 (to Briancon).


Sunday, 1 July 2012

LE TOUR ET LA PLAGNE

The famous La Plagne logo. More on the history of the resort (and the evolution of the logo) here.


La Plagne has a more illustrious Tour de France history than Les Arcs.  It's been a stage finish four times, and at least two of those finishes are among the recent classics. More here.

Here's Laurent Fignon, winning in yellow, and on the way to victory in 1984.



"It's Stephen Roche"!  The famous comeback in 1987 (at 2 minutes in), followed by his collapse just after the finish line.



Alex Zulle wins in 1995 on the way to 2nd place.  This stage was one of  7 back-to-back mountain stages....


And Michael Boogerd was allowed the freedom to escape and win in 2002.  This stage finished 100m lower than the previous three:


According to www.salite.ch, the 21.4km climb from Aime, at 6.6.% gradient, with 1400m of climbing, has a difficulty rating of "130" which puts it in the same category as Alpe d'Huez....