A guide to the Tour de France
Geraint Thomas at the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire, by Lucy Crocker
I watched the end of Stage 11 live. Some of the contenders were shelled out of the back of the elite group on the final climb, including Adam Yates. With a bit more than 5km to go, Kwiatkowski was running out of steam, and Egan Bernal didn't have it in him to take over - and that's not surprising as a young rider on his first Tour.
Sky didn't have any more lieutenants, and you wondered what they were going to do. Then, ping, off went Geraint Thomas to join up with Dumoulin up the road. Tactically, it was brilliant, and Froome could legitimately refuse to work - albeit, there was a suspicion that he might have been horrified as he watched G disappear into the distance. Luckily for Froome, Dan Martin came to the rescue, and the Kenyan-born Brit could follow the Brummie-born Irishman.
Thomas had been taking a rest (ish) on Tom D's wheel, so he could sprint off again just as Froome arrived, and nip past the unlucky Mikel Nieve before the line.
Luckily, Ned Boulting (short, as you may know, for Nedwin van Boultingstadt) didn't find Thomas to be 'twitchy' as he won the stage, and nobody knew of any link to 1938.
Today's stage lit up the Tour de France.
The most recent Avondetappe I watched - the rest day edition from the Château de Menthon-Saint-Bernard, I think - had the guests sitting with glasses of beer or wine on the table. That's always the case, but the difference this time was that they had clearly been drinking from those glasses, Thijs and Rob especially.
It's not something you'd see on a British sports programme, even an evening discussion show. I haven't decided how I feel about it yet, can I let you know?
In the first week, television sometimes showed a general classification, with riders who could not challenge for the overall stripped out, and only genuine contenders left in. Geraint Thomas fell into the chaff pile, not the wheat, leaving (from memory) Bob Jungels at the top. Since G is the 2018 Dauphiné champion, that seemed odd to me. Ok, he may not win the Tour from here, but he's in with a chance at least, and one victory is already assured: he has a place in the classification of genuine GC contenders.
I heard an 'iconic' on the ITV podcast from yesterday. It may well have been a correct use of the word, but the ticker must turn. A late-in-the-day super happy from Thomas, interviewed at the end of the stage, keeps the tallies peg and peg.
Correct predictions of stage winners on this website: 2 out of 11
Stage 12 of the Tour de France 2018 is 175km from Bourg Saint-Maurice to Alpe-d'Huez.
Read about Stage 12 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Albertville, by HedgehogCycling
Albertville is a town on the river Arly, near its confluence with the river Isère. It is surrounded by mountains - the Bauges to the west, the Beaufortain to the north, and the Chaine de la Lauzière to the south.
Albertville was on the Roman route from Milan to Vienna (which crossed the Alps via the Col du Petit St-Bernard). Because of the confluence of the Arly and the Isère, the Romans called the higher part of the town ad confluentes. (This part of Albertville is called Conflans today). There was a customs post lower down, referred to as ad publicanos.
At the end of the C12th, the Knights Hospitaller of St John of Jerusalem founded a hospital for travellers and pilgrims down near the river, and the village which developed around it was called l'Hopital.
Saracen Tower, Conflans, by HedgehogCycling
Modern Albertville was formed in 1836 by King Charles Albert of Sardinia (of the House of Savoie). He merged the medieval town of Conflans with the town of l'Hopital.
Albertville's economy is largely industrial, with hydroelectricity and paper mills. Kassbohrer, who make piste bashers, have premises here.
Albertville Olympic ice rink, by HedgehogCycling
Albertville hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics. Many of the events took place in nearby ski resorts, including Le Praz (ski jumping), Val d'Isère (men's giant slalom, Super G, downhill, and combined), Méribel (women's Alpine skiing events), and Les Menuires (men's slalom). The skating took place in Albertville: the ice rink (Halle de Glace Olympique) remains; the speed skating venue (l'anneau de vitesse) has been given over to athletics.
There's a cycle path most of the way from Albertville to Annecy.
Beaufort, or Beaufort-sur-Doron, is a village in the Beaufortain area of Savoie. It's close to the winter and summer resort of Arêches-Beaufort.
Other than tourism, the main occupation is agriculture. The village of Beaufort gives its name to Beaufort cheese (a firm, raw cow's milk cheese similar to gruyère.
Bourg-Saint-Maurice (public domain)
Bourg-Saint-Maurice is a town in the Tarentaise valley, on the river Isère.
It is surrounded by ski resorts, and there's a funicular railway link to Arc 1600, part of Les Arcs. Bourg-Saint-Maurice is also popular in the summer as a base for walking, mountain biking, and road cycling. There's a whitewater canoe and kayak slalom course on the Isère at Bourg, used for training and competitions.
La Rosière is a ski resort in the Savoie département of France. It is the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard which leads to Italy, and it is linked to the Italian resort of la Thuile. The whole ski area including the French and Italian resorts is called the Espace San Bernado.
Towards the top of the ski area is the Redoute Ruinée, a border fort originally built by the French in the 1890s, and which resisted Italian attacks for a time at the start of World War II. It was badly damaged when French forces tried to take it back towards the end of the war.
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