Paris-Nice 2012: Stage 7

Last weekend it was my birthday and it so happened that this year it happily landed on the weekend that the Paris-Nice pro race ended. The sun was out and it wasn’t overly cold, so Shoko and I hopped on the motorcycle for a spin to Nice. This year was a doubly good reason to see this race in Nice because the penultimate stage (today’s post) ended on the Promenade des Anglais, then the last decisive stage finished on the top of Col d’Eze with an Individual Time Trial starting at sea level in the city (patience. it’s coming tomorrow!).

One of the first things I noticed along the Promenade was a snazzy new bike-rental system called Vélo Bleu. The whole length of the La Prom of course has a cycling lane and I saw that most, if not all, bus lanes in town also allow two wheels, which is a good start for infrastructure, I’d say.

Not everyone rides a rental…

After a long walk we got to a decent spot, about 100 meters from the final where I was convinced we’d see the madness of a bunch sprint before our very eyes. This traveler apparently had the same idea. I wonder what he was so sad about though…

It was not to be, though, since the loud speakers told us that Thomas De Gendt (riding a Bianchi, I’ll have you know) was out in front with an 11 minute lead and that the peloton had given up the ghost long ago. No sprint for the win. But there was a very satisfied Belgian to watch. There must be no better way to win a stage than to have a long, beautiful stretch of road all to yourself, with plenty of time to zip up your jersey, clean your face, figure out which victory sign you’ll be giving this time, then sit up and cross the line in tranquility. He seemed satisfied with it, anyway.

There was a sprint, however, for 3rd place, and here it is. From front to back are: Greg Henderson, Thor Hushovd, and Jose Jauquin Rojas, completely missing the guy who actually won the sprint, I think – Degenkolb.

Excitement over, we made the long trek back to our hotel, enjoying the relative quiet of a March day on the Côte d’Azur (it ain’t like this in summer, trust me).

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14 thoughts on “Paris-Nice 2012: Stage 7

  1. What’s this? Sunshine, seaside, palm trees, bikes to rent – I’m not sure we live in the same country!
    Belated happy birthday, Gerry. Great Paris-Nice photos, thanks! I’ve been very impatient waiting for these since I knew they’d be good.
    What motorbike do you have, by the way? Chris has a 1993 Yamaha Virago but he’s hardly ridden it since we got here sadly.

    • Thanks, Steph. Shoko borrowed a good camera from art school, so that’s why some of them are acceptable. Man, you have to be quick to get these guys in frame properly. I have a new respect for sports photographers. Bike, Honda TransAlp 650. Don’t ride it much either, but we’ve done a few overnight trips here and there. France is good for ‘deux roues’!

  2. Ah, such great memories from last August. Nicole and I had such a great time to finally meet you in person. A highlight of our trip. The morning of the day we met, I had a pleasant ride from Nice to Cannes and back (the roads were a little more congested). On the way to Cannes, I caught and past this guy at least six times, because I kept taking wrong turns and had to chase him back down, until I finally said to hell with it and just rode with him. I also found the one Frenchman who’s English was worse than my French. Four words….Rosetta Stone for me.

    By the way, Happy Birthday. A weekend in Nice, watching any professional bike race is a nice way to celebrate another “check-mark” in the calendar.

    • Well, after Ventoux, Alpe d’Huez, Galibier and others, I’m honored to know I was one of the highlights! I haven’t ridden that way on the coast road, but went the other way to Italy a couple years back. It actually wasn’t too bad for traffic and that was summer. Have to hit the timing right, I think. Thanks for the happy birthday. I think I’m going full-on Jehovah’s Witness from now on, so I don’t have anymore of them!

  3. Highly recommend a Canon 60D (or 7D if you can pop for it)
    More than enough fps for this type of stuff. Even a second hand 5D or even a 40D!

    Great post.

    • We love the Canon XTi and remain loyal to the Canon Brand. I agree with 60d, but sport shooting ( photography ) practise is a necessity, open it up and let’r rip when shooting races, can’t count the number of times we have gone around on the counter ( it’s been a few that’s for sure…) Nice story about the race, and your weekend, oh yes and about your birthday too Gerry !! did you follow training guidelines or where you
      a BADDDDDD BOYYYYY

      • OK, XTi is on the list now, too! Gary, I wasn’t definitely ‘bad’ because I went out and abused a whole lot of very nice Belgian beer on Friday, then proceeded to have one of my famous two-day hangovers. Back to training today!

  4. Speaking of chilly hands at Nice :
    Palm :poliamide 56%, polyurethane 34%, polyester 4%, chloroprene rubber 4%, spandex 2%
    Back of hand : polyamide 47%, polyester 33%, polyurethane 4%, chloroprene rubber 3%.
    With our chilly weather; just tried out my new PEARL iZUMi cycling gloves. Warm, excellent fit and gear friendly. Highly recommended. Tested them out yesterday on a 35 k warmup spin at 7 deg, 20k/h SW wind, under a blue, blue sky. What a way to start the first ride of the season.in southern Ontario.

  5. Happy Birthday! I guess you’re not one of those people who rides their age on their birthday. It would be kinda silly in your case, what with you only being 25. And you’d probably measure the distance in kilometers to boot. No, all things considered, a day in Nice sounds nicer!

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