Day 6 then is the beginning of the end – it’s a big day still, but you can look back over the last five days and the country covered, and look forward to the final pull to the coast.
Don’t think though that you can relax though, far from it. No uplift this morning , instead a huge pedal and then carry, leads you on to a col and one of the most beautiful liaison stages of the event. Across high mountain tops looking down in to the valleys 2000 meters below, you can see autumns approach through the hills in yellows and browns in waves of colour through the trees, Mavic® Trans – Provence is a journey as well as a race.
The first Special Stages of the day are enormous! Physically demanding sections in big terrain, if you’re not used to real mountain racing the enormity of the country around you can be as intimidating as the trail in front of you.
The bottom of the second Special Stage of the day drops you into the small town of Lantosque, and the daily feed station and technical support vehicles from Fox and Mavic.
Mavic® Trans-Provence promises one thing – more descending than climbing and day six provides it in spades. With a height gain of 1430 meters but a height drop of 3358 meters today, from the bottom of the Second Special stage riders have a mid ride uplift to the Col de Turini at 1607 meters.
The third Special Stage of the day is flowing wooded singletrack with dropping leaves filling the trails and corners, today in a repeat of day 5, Mavic® Trans – Provence staff were watching for corner cutting in the woods and once again time penalties were given out for riders who broke the rules.
If the third Special Stage was about flow and wood and leaves – Special Stage 4 is all about rock, exposure, switchbacks with crenelated rock running in the wrong direction through the corners and all of this dumped on to an incredibly steep mountains side. Last year, Mark Weir reckoned it was “above my pay grade” so imagine how hard it is for mere mortals….
Tomorrow will see us hitting the coast via two new Special Stages and then the final trails looking down over Monaco.
Photography: Irmo Keizer
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