From Basecamp in Rochebrune this morning to Clamensane and camp two for the night, today riders embarked on the first day of this incredible seven day adventure across Provence, starting the three hundred kilometre journey that will finally see them finish in Monaco seven days from now.
Three timed stages made up today's racing. After a big climb to start the day, Special Stage 1 started the race proper. In terms of fitness it's probably one of the hardest of the week it being more cross-country in nature and with a nasty vertical kick in the middle - but still interspered with the steep and technical downs that Trans- Provence has become famed for!
A short liaison stage led to Special Stage 2. After the up and down nature of stage one, stage two was down and more down! Starting in woods and exploding in to a section of open scrubland with rock steps around every corner,finally finishing with ever tightening switchbacks interspersed with perfect eight inch singletrack to the valley floor.
One more big pull from the valley floor to the last top of the day found racers at the start of Special Stage 3. Big sweeping switchbacks and perfect loam made for slip and drift corner to corner riding, a natural earth luge from top to bottom finished a great start of the great week to come.
Results for all three stages in total today.
Nico Vouilloz 28:19
Mark Weir 28:48
Jerome Clementz 28:57
Matt Ryan 29:09
Ben Cruz 30:02
Marc Beaumont 30:15
Fabien Barel 30:34
Andreas Hestler 31:29
Steve Jones (!) 31:44
Rowan Sorrell 32:22