Day Four – Guillaumes to Valdeblore
With just eight stages to go things are getting very close. Jerome Clementz and Nicolas Lau are now only 22 seconds apart after 16 special stages and nearly two hours of racing!
It’s great to see a few amateur riders amongst the top 20 too, Chris Ball is in 9th, Oliver Munnik is currently 14th and Stu Thompson is 18th. The Trans-Provence attracts a wide range of riders each year with the majority more focused on the experience rather than the racing/timed aspect, it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular – it provides the best of everything, competition, spectacular riding and one hell of an adventure!
Today riders were taken to the start of a stage via cable car rather than by van. Which is a whole new aspect for the event, the Trans-Provence is truly coming into it’s own:
Today was everything that we’ve known to come and love about Mavic® Trans-Provence. With perhaps one of the longest, most technical, all natural, on sight trails that we’ve had since the inaugural event in 2009
Unfortunately, but it is to be expected within the sport, injuries have occurred:
Mavic® Trans-Provence wish Vadim Savelyev a speedy recovery, who did a great job of landing on his head today during one of the bike park Special Stages and was more than a little concussed, and to Fay Cunningham who’s broken her hand and is out for the rest of the race.
Special mention must also go to Mark Weir, who has also broken his hand, but has decided to carry because “it only really hurts on the downhill”
The first half of the day utilised two of last years special stages, one as a timed stage and the second stage ran along a ravine ending on a balcony trail high above the medieval town of Roubion.
From Roubion, riders made their way to the ski lifts, and two special stages within the Roubion bike park. The stages took riders on the more natural feeling trails, with only the bottom section of the trail including the addition of some of the bike parks step-downs and other features.
After that section riders rode across high valley mountain passes, including an incredibly fast ‘pick it and stick it’ multi-option sheep track with a few short technical climbs before reaching the final stage of the day.
The final section proved somewhat tricky for most, the trail lost almost 1000m vertically and threw riders onto a fast trail. For the final stage riders needed to be able to interpret the trail quickly, making instant decisions on where they thought the trail would turn and what was coming up next, sometimes easier said than done when riding at speed!
Many of the riders ended up catapulting over ancient walls from unused olive terraces and were sent over the bars when encountering bushes on the trail. The next section proved tricky again, taking riders down a steep trail with tight switchbacks which was followed by exposed single track and very steep climbs in short bursts before finally finishing on a trail high above a river.
Day five involves two new stages, with only 20 seconds between the top two riders on the fifth day, it’s going to be a close one!