GUEST BLOG, PAUL CALVER: BOOKENDING THE ETAPE

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Paul is a British professional photographer with a portfolio of work ranging from commercial work, beautifully intimate portraits, to cycling. He’s a mad keen roadie and a lovely chap to boot.
Here he talks little, but shows us lots of quiet, thoughtful images around (but not in) a huge event…The ill-fated Massif Central Etape Du Tour.

Paul is a British professional photographer with a portfolio of work ranging from commercial work, beautifully intimate portraits, to cycling. He’s a mad keen roadie and a lovely chap to boot.

Here he talks little, but shows us lots of quiet, thoughtful images around (but not in) a huge event…The ill-fated Massif Central Etape Du Tour. Take the longest stage of Le Tour, add constant climbing or descending and mix a heavy dose of freezing rain (in July!!) equals an epic (in the truest sense) event.

This was the stage that saw the Vinokourov’s career end, Flecha thrown into Johnny Hoogerland by a passing TV car, leaving the Dutch rider tied up in barbed wire, and of course Voeckler taking the Maillot Jaune.

Check out Paul’s work here: Calver Photo and he’s on Twitter: @calverphoto

In June, myself and a few friends decided to take on the challenge on the Etape Du Tour, a stage of the Tour De France open for non professionals. It was stage 9 this year, 208km from Issoire – St Flour through the Massif Central region.

The event enticed 6000 entrants from across the globe. On the day, 2000 entrants failed to show up, put off by the adverse weather and a further 2000 riders didn’t make the finish line. Miraculously I managed to finish all 208km in a time just over 10 hours, which is a mere 4 and 1/2 hours slower than Luis Leon Sanchez-Gil completed it a week earlier with the pros…

Although I was sans camera for the actual event, below are a few shots of our adventures both pre and post etape…

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Mike Kangelos, mechanic at Push Cycles.

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The start of the descent of the Col Du Peyrol, a just reward after the epic climb to 1589m.

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Our wet shoes drying

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Massif Central Cows

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Mike climbing the Col De Peyrol the day after. It took quite some time, as we’d lost control of our legs.

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