Trans-Provence Day 6 Update

With only one day remaining Vouilloz retakes the lead.

Today was a dangerous day, get off line and as Rowan Sorrell says “…it would put you in a coffin..”!

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Trans Provence Day 6

ALL TO PLAY FOR AS BATTLE DROPS INTO MONACO

Dirt Magazine’s Steve Jones gives us the low down:

The symphony of snoring had been going on all night, but it was a pretty big hooter of a fart from my neighbour Rowan Sorrell that silenced the blue swarm of Quechua tents at about 3.30am. I know as I checked my phone.

It was an early start, an 800m climb into what had been described as some of the rockiest most exposed sections of the week. I spent the morning trickling uphill with ten-time World Champion Nico Vouilloz who, after a day of sketchy mechanicals on day 5 had him behind Jerome Clementz on time. “I smell technical singletrack” said Nico clearly smarting from his misfortune the previous day.

But then it’s been tales of woe all around really. Ben Cruz, Andreas Hestler, Cesar Rojo, Marc Beaumont, Rowan Sorrell had all been victims of some form of mechanical. Running third into yesterdays stages Mark Weir cruelly flatted yesterday afternoon which put him back a fair bit and allowed double World Champ Fabien Barel into third as the race entered his, and Vouilloz’s home territory today.

Sven Martin smashed a derailleur before he even got to the first stage, as some of the top runners opted for downhill casings on the day’s sharp, relentless rock sections. Following Nico through the transfer section to stage 20 was pretty awesome, as he picked up, lined up and carried his speed seemingly without trying as I bashed through seemingly going backwards. Its easy to forget the vintage on display here – this field really is packed full of some of the best mountain bikers on the planet.

The first stage of the day was high-speed stuff, I set off in a vain pursuit of Nico to try and get some idea of the speed. No chance, instead I accelerated into what I thought was a reasonable tempo only for Cesar Rojo to come past me like a demented runaway as if I was standing still. I tucked in behind the Spaniard soon to realize I was considerably out of my depth.

Nico took a tumble on 21 just before what is becoming an eagerly awaited lunch stop. But not quite to the extent of my riding partner Mick Kirkman who switched himself off in a technical rock section at mach 4. End of race for Mick as Doc told him to take his riding boots off.

With only a day to go I look back on an eventful week, its not since last Monday that I’ve had a solid clean run as a mix of mechanicals, wrong turns, and a tweaked shoulder have lost me considerable time. For the past few days I’ve had to sleep on my back and it takes until about lunch time to get the shoulder warmed for the unremitting pounding of boulder and rock. Still I managed to get going a bit better today (I hope, not seen results yet) and with a day to go simply cannot afford to make any mistakes.

And they offer themselves up many, many times a day. It might be a touch dramatising it to say today was dangerous but as me and Rowan reflected on the days stages the consequences of getting one or two race lines wrong would as Rowan pointed out “chuck you in a coffin.” It was a day for heads up riding today.

Eight hour riding days are now taking their toll on most of us. I’m sat here again with Andreas Hestler at half five at night unwashed, sore, hungry and exhausted and still under pressure to perform. The army of workers busy themselves preparing food, setting up camp, transferring kit as we are out there on the hill “enjoying ourselves.” This is a battle, physically and technically and we are all noting short of totally dependant on them. If anyone has delivered this week then it is them.

Also the manner in which Nico has commanded the week has been utterly impressive. Ok there’s one day to go and the race is still open but given the challenges form skilled climbers its been stunning stuff. On the climbs he manages the red line superbly and on the descents he shows totally and completely why he is the rider he is. Everyone around the campsite comments that “he rides so different to everyone else.” Control, timing, focus. Clementz is up against it but he is such a wily character with skill and race craft of the highest order too. It’s only a few miles from Nico’s house, he knows this country well and then again not. The trip has highlighted the true vastness of France in this small corner, yet everyone, including the locals from fifteen valley’s away know there’s a battle heading for Monaco.

Racers, tourists, Trans Provence is a rich and unique mix of the various facets of mountainbiking. It’s certainly on a scale much bigger than I imagined, the fatigue is bigger than I imagined and the race tempo is also much quicker than I had envisaged. The scenery has opened my eyes to terrain that is unimaginably complex in places, I really didn’t think landscapes like this existed in France.

Plac Dos Surname First Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Total Time
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1 35 VOUILLOZ Nicolas 00:28: 00:30: 00:27: 00:39: 00:23: 00:35: 03:04:
2 12 CLEMENTZ JÈrÙme 00:28: 00:30: 00:27: 00:38: 00:24: 00:36: 03:05:

3 6 BAREL Fabien 00:30: 00:30: 00:28: 00:38: 00:24: 00:35: 03:07:
4 25 WEIR Mark 00:28: 00:30: 00:26: 00:39: 00:30: 00:37: 03:13:
5 36 RYAN Matt 00:29: 00:32: 00:27: 00:41: 00:26: 00:39: 03:15:
6 27 BEAUMONT Marc 00:30: 00:33: 00:32: 00:41: 00:25: 00:38: 03:21:

7 30 SORRELL Rowan 00:32: 00:31: 00:30: 00:43: 00:27: 00:39: 03:24:
8 20 RICHARDS James 00:33: 00:34: 00:30: 00:44: 00:28: 00:42: 03:34:
9 32 JONES Steve 00:31: 00:34: 00:32: 00:46: 00:29: 00:42: 03:37:

10 24 MARTIN Sven 00:37: 00:33: 00:33: 00:45: 00:27: 00:40: 03:38:
11 1 KIENAST Pascal 00:37: 00:35: 00:31: 00:45: 00:29: 00:43: 03:42:
12 56 MATHEWS Iain 00:35: 00:39: 00:31: 00:44: 00:29: 00:44: 03:44:
13 38 GRAVERSE Tim 00:34: 00:37: 00:32: 00:48: 00:29: 00:46: 03:49:

14 18 MCLEAN Neil 00:35: 00:38: 00:33: 00:47: 00:30: 00:45: 03:50:
15 19 MOSELEY Tracy 00:38: 00:36: 00:34: 00:49: 00:29: 00:44: 03:51:
16 41 HARPER Kevin 00:37: 00:36: 00:34: 00:45: 00:33: 00:44: 03:52:
17 34 HESTLER Andreas 00:31: 00:43: 00:30: 00:43: 00:42: 00:45: 03:56:

18 42 BROOKES Rob 00:35: 00:35: 00:32: 00:51: 00:29: 01:02: 04:08:
19 23 MARTIN Anka 00:39: 00:41: 00:35: 00:51: 00:32: 00:48: 04:09:
20 31 PORTER Chris 00:36: 00:36: 00:36: 00:50: 00:42: 00:49: 04:10:
21 54 ALDER Matt 00:40: 00:41: 00:35: 00:55: 00:33: 00:54: 04:20:

22 57 GROGNUX Johann 00:42: 00:44: 00:38: 00:54: 00:33: 00:50: 04:23:
23 2 SEVERINO Alessandro 00:39: 00:42: 00:42: 00:56: 00:33: 00:52: 04:27:
24 10 ZIMMERMANN Joris 00:39: 00:42: 00:34: 00:56: 00:33: 01:03: 04:30:
25 3 HOHERMUT Ingrid 00:39: 00:44: 00:37: 00:56: 00:33: 01:00: 04:32:

26 14 WARRICK Ben 00:45: 01:07: 00:31: 00:48: 00:38: 00:43: 04:36:
27 16 THOMAS Alun 00:46: 00:41: 00:37: 00:58: 00:33: 01:00: 04:38:
28 52 VELISS Lee 00:41: 00:40: 00:39: 00:54: 00:46: 00:54: 04:38:
29 11 DE RUYVER Arno 01:02: 00:37: 00:37: 01:05: 00:31: 00:49: 04:45:

30 17 SHINGLER Guy 00:41: 00:43: 00:35: 01:03: 00:35: 01:13: 04:52:
31 4 HYDE Jasper 00:40: 00:44: 00:36: 01:06: 00:37: 01:15: 04:59:
32 58 FULFORD Giles 00:47: 00:55: 00:39: 01:02: 00:37: 01:00: 05:03:
33 8 COULING John 00:45: 00:48: 00:42: 01:04: 00:51: 01:02: 05:14:

34 37 BOELEMA Kara 00:46: 00:49: 00:45: 01:02: 00:39: 01:14: 05:17:
35 55 BƒCK Daniel 00:46: 00:52: 00:39: 01:06: 00:44: 01:11: 05:21:
36 9 THOMAS Jason 00:49: 00:52: 01:01: 01:04: 00:38: 00:58: 05:25:
37 28 MAURISSEN Mark 00:39: 01:09: 00:45: 01:07: 00:45: 00:58: 05:25:

38 39 VAN Joost 01:07: 00:54: 00:43: 01:03: 00:39: 01:11: 05:40:
39 50 ALLEN Dan 00:47: 00:50: 00:50: 01:11: 00:38: 01:26: 05:44:
40 7 THOMSON Fiona 00:57: 00:57: 00:50: 01:13: 00:45: 01:13: 05:58:
41 5 HYDE John 00:46: 00:54: 01:12: 01:08: 00:40: 01:18: 05:59:

42 43 VAN DURME Dietbrand 01:01: 00:59: 00:46: 01:12: 00:47: 01:16: 06:02:
43 29 ROJO Cesar 00:32: 00:37: 00:38: 03:08: 00:29: 00:39: 06:05:
44 45 VERKEST Peter 01:01: 01:14: 00:51: 01:18: 00:43: 01:24: 06:33:
45 40 CRCEK Ales 01:00: 01:23: 00:48: 01:28: 00:43: 01:12: 06:36:

46 44 VAN DURME Matthias 01:07: 01:06: 00:47: 01:15: 00:44: 01:43: 06:46:
47 49 GUARITA Bernardo 00:53: 01:01: 01:18: 01:35: 00:47: 01:26: 07:02:
48 46 DARKE Andy 01:14: 01:29: 01:08: 00:00: 00:59: 02:11: 07:03:
49 47 PATTERSO Robert 01:04: 01:17: 00:58: 01:38: 01:00: 01:36: 07:36:

50 13 RUSBATCH Cherie 01:02: 01:39: 00:58: 01:44: 01:02: 01:41: 08:07:
51 33 KIRKMAN Mick 00:34: 00:34: 00:32: 00:47: 00:27: 05:26: 08:23:

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  1. bacon

    Sounds like a truly epic riding experience! Great to have such a well written report after 6 days of riding. Great stuff Jonesy, kept up the good work (& come on Nico)!

  2. cam

    Come on steve jones more like! Your doing mint mate keep up the good work

  3. Eddie

    Good reporting.
    Looked forward to, and enjoyed reading a competitors viewpoint and doing so well in such a class field!
    Well done. Done yourself and Dirt proud.

  4. tenyearsafter

    Sounds like a rotten shame for Kirkman. However, Moseley & Martin both in the top 19 overall? Hows that for giving plenty of blokes a good kick in the nuts!

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Trans-Provence Day 5 Update