Tour de France 2012 - Stage 9

This was the individual time trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besançon, and what a big day out it was for us!

Everyone had said that the climb would be the place to see riders at their best, and having done a recon the day before was inclined to agree. That said, this is a time trial and riders would be zipping over the course all day so figured there was a chance to see a bit of everything. The night before I prepared a list of GC riders, calculated their start times and made a plan which worked out pretty well.

It was a very early start to the day from our hotel 30 minutes drive or so from the Départ, but this was rewarded with an easy park around 8am only a few minutes walk from all the action - something that came in handy when we returned to the car to move on another position on course.

We were also very fortunate to score some tickets to a VIP area on the final corner (actually part of why we needed to be here early - to collect these) so that would be our last stop of the day, after the start and that hill.

It has to be said, whilst it was great to see the start and then the finale of main GC riders coming in from a VIP area (think air-con and complimentary drinks and ice creams on a hot day) at the finish, the highlight had to be sitting on the major climb on this course.

To be honest I was absolutely amazed that after spending a good deal of the time watching riders start that we were able to drive to basically the centre of Quingey and once again park just a few minutes walk from where we wanted to be - the 14% section of that climb. Here we sat on the verge of the road - for over an hour - while every two minutes or so another competitor surged, or sometimes grimaced, or in the case of Henderson, grinned their way up the road. To be so close (literally 1m or so away) to such stars travelling at (for them) such relatively slow speed was fantastic. The noise of carbon disc wheels whooshing by again and again a real enduring memory.


Stage 9 Départ: TT Bling! And some more standard stuff - what is that doing here? Well - it is a bike show, right?


Stage 9 Départ: Other random stuff. Note the trend in team busses, everything including... wink


Stage 9 Départ: Have to include a few of the caravan, but think was more impressed with the Italians at the Giro.


Stage 9 Départ: Farrar, Timmer, Lemoine, Renshaw, LL Sanchez, Hutarovich, Lloyd


Stage 9 Départ: Cavendish, Gretsch, Van Hummel, Ladagnous, Oss, Pineau, Eisel, Westra


On the climb: Other things snapped in the 2 minute time gaps between riders. And yes - this climb was steep!


On the climb: Quinziato, Ruijgh, Lund, Kadri, Pineau, Grabsch, Cummings


On the climb: Martin, world TT champ looks like he knows how to suffer, but even he though is on the inner ring here!


On the climb: Roelandts, Petacchi, Zingle, Impey, Kiryienka, Perez Moreno, Bak, Roy


On the climb: As you'd expect from a legend like Johnny Hoogerland... he was up here like a rocket!


On the climb: Levarlet, De Kort, Knees, Trofimov, Morkov, Devenyns, Boeckmans, Popovych, Kern, Marzano


On the climb: Henderson, who joked via Twitter about not trying too hard was certainly the one smiling most here!


On the climb: Velits, Fofonov (with no back-up & next rider in his team due almost 20 minutes later!), Minard


On the climb: Legend Jens Voigt doesn't seem to understand it's a TT & there's no-one behind to put the pain on! wink


Stage 9 Arrivée: Other sights from on and around the time trial finishing straight.


Stage 9 Arrivée: O'Grady, Hincapie, Kessiakoff, Vichot, Kiserlovski (being overhauled by), Peraud, Szmyd, Casar


Stage 9 Arrivée: Sagan, Kashechkin, Cancellara, Sörensen, Velits, Rogers, Izaguirre Insausti, Coppel, Leipheimer


Stage 9 Arrivée: Van Garderen, Brajkovic, Schleck, Gallopin, Roche, Van Den Broeck


Stage 9 Arrivé, the pointy end: Monfort, Froome, Menchov, Nibali, Evans, Wiggins