2012 Le Tour – Stage 15

Samatan / Pau (98.5 miles)

Le.  Tour.  De.  France.

Perhaps you have wondered what would happen if you ran out into the middle of the course and dumped a box of tacks.

Well now you know.

Everyone stops as soon as they can’t pretend not to have heard about it anymore and waits around until they fix all the flats and clean up the tacks.

Sportsmanship of the misplaced sort you get in contests where you’re packing your bag for the quick get away.

The breakway was 18 minutes ahead and made no difference in the standings.

Today is short and bumpy with the possibility of a Sprint finish.  Two category 3s and a category 4 stand between the Award point and the finish which could screw that up.

Robert Kiserlovski was forced to withdraw yesterday.  Luis León Sánchez won the stage.

General Classification

Place Rider Team Time/Delta
1 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING 64h 41:16
2 FROOME Christopher SKY PROCYCLING +02:05
10 PINOT Thibaut FDJ-BIGMAT +08:51

Coverage is customarily on Vs. (NBC Sports) starting at 8 am with repeats at noon, 2:30 pm, 8 pm, midnight, 8 am, 11:30 am, and 3 pm.  There will be some streaming evidently, but not all of it is free.

Tomorrow is a rest day in Pau which accounts for the extended repeats.  My Rest Day 2 piece will be up some time before the Rest Day Recap on Vs. (NBC Sports) at 8 pm.

Getting right to those tables, ayup.

Sites of Interest-

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    • on 07/16/2012 at 13:24
    • on 07/16/2012 at 14:03
    • on 07/16/2012 at 14:15

    Chavonelle withdraws.

    • on 07/16/2012 at 14:23

    Samatan / Pau 158.5 km

    The view of Jean-François Pescheux

    A strategic place

    “A tip of the hat to provincial France, the France of the Tour. Our caravan will set off from Samatan, a large town with 2,200 inhabitants which is the main town of the Gers canton. It will probably be a calm start, as the stage is not particularly tough. A sprint finish would be the logical outcome, and I actually hope it happens, because pure sprinters will not get many chances to shine in this Tour. The finish in Pau will be beautiful, like always. This is the 64th time that the Tour visits this city, which is almost a record. Let us pay homage to this city, which we see as a stronghold and a strategic place.”

    Map Stage 15 Samatan / Pau

    Map Stage 15 Le Tour

    Profile Samatan / Pau

    Profile Stage 15

    Mountain passes & hills

       Km 107.0 – Côte de Lahitte-Toupière 2.1 kilometre-long climb at 5.3% – category 4

       Km 123.5 – Côte de Simacourbe 1.9 kilometre-long climb at 6.3% – category 3

       Km 129.0 – Côte de Monassut-Audiracq 1.5 kilometre-long climb at 5.4% – category 4

    Intermediate sprint

    Km 101.5 – Maubourguet

    • on 07/16/2012 at 14:35
    • on 07/16/2012 at 14:37

    Phil has to walk back his ‘Let’s shoot ’em’ comment.


    • on 07/16/2012 at 14:55

    Stage 15 Towns: Samatan / Pau


    Samatan is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. This is the first time Samatan has been a stage town for Le Tour.

    Samatn, Fr From its many hills, Samatan, at the gates of Gascony and Toulouse, offers a great view on the Pyrenees with the pikes of Arbizon and Midi de Bigorre in the background. Its harmonious landscape, green and relaxed, is scattered with small woods and isolated farms in the huge check-board of the fields. This is why Samatan logically turned to green tourism with an emphasis on gastronomy and trekking.

    The town has been equipped since the 1980’s by a holiday village on the banks of a now renowned lake. It comprises a hotel nd adining rooms with a panoramic view over the lake. 2012 is an important year for the holiday centre as the lodgings will be entirely refurbished while the outside greens have been renovated in the respect of environment. Among the novelties, a spa has been added to the many activities on offer while access for the disabled has been improved.


     Pua is a commune on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département in France. The site was fortified in the 11th century to control the ford across the Gave de Pau. It was built on the north bank, equidistant from Lescar, seat of the bishops, and from Morlaàs, and became the seat of the viscounts of Béarn. Pau was made capital of Béarn in 1464. During the early 16th century, the Château de Pau was made more habitable by Gaston III, count of Foix and became the residence of the kings of Navarre, who were also viscounts of Béarn.

    In 1188, Gaston VI assembled his cour majour there, predecessor of the conseil souverain and roughly equivalent to the House of Lords (but predating it). Gaston VII added a third tower in the 13th century. Gaston Fébus (Gaston III of Foix and Gaston X of Béarn) added a brick donjon (keep).

    Pau was birthplace of Henry IV of France. His mother, Jeanne d’Albret, crossed into France to ensure her son would be born there. The baby’s lips were moistened with the local Jurançon wine and rubbed with garlic shortly after birth. When Henry IV left Pau to become King of France, he remarked to local notables that he was not giving Béarn to France, but giving France to Béarn.

    Napoleon III refurbished the château and Pau adding streets of Belle Époque architecture, before the fashion transferred to Biarritz. Pau is still a centre for winter sports and equestrian events, with a steeplechase. King Charles XIV of Sweden, the first royal Bernadotte, was also born in Pau.

    Following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln stayed in Pau in the late 1870s, toward the end of her life.

    Pau Porte des Pyrénées is a territory of 250,000 men and women with a strong sense of common identity based on peace, sharing and passion. It is a natural outdoors sports destination with the Eaux-Vives Stadium, a golf course, trails for walking and rambling… Nature is everywhere in the town, in its numerous parks and gardens or its plots of land maintained by the sheep. It is also a cultural destination with the Chateau de Pau, its light show and outdoor nightime spectacles in its gardens.  Royal land, the city was the birthplace of Henri IV and Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte who became King of Sweden. It is also the land of good cheer with many homegrown produce: the Jurancon wines, la poule au pot, foie gras, sheeps’ milk cheese. Finally Pau makes the most of an innovative global economy: geosciences, food processing, aeronautics, horse breeding and Pau Broadband Country, the first high speed network in France. Pau has everything on offer to tempt you to stay either for a day, a weekend or your whole life so you can adopt brand Pau Porte des Pyrénées!  

    • on 07/16/2012 at 15:04

    Jerome Vincent, Team Europcar, has dropped out

    • on 07/16/2012 at 15:09

    Boulaur St Mary abbey

    The abbey was founded in 1142 by Petronille de Chemille, the abbess of Fontevraud, the bishop of Auch and Sancho I, count of Astarac. It depended from the Fontevraud abbey and the first abbess was the widow of the count of Astarac. The convent draws its name from the Latin Bonus Locus, meaning “good place”.

    The church base is Romanesque with three layers of Gothic vaults and two Renaissance spans. Frescos from the 14th century cover the ceiling of the choir. Inside the 17th century cloister stands a 13th century Madonna statue known as “the fair lady of Boulaur”. Driven out of the monastery by the revolution, the nuns returned shortly afterwards and rebuilt the church. They were again expelled in the early 20th century.

    In 1949, the buildings were restored by Cistercian nuns, who now sell the products of their garden.

    • on 07/16/2012 at 15:21
    • on 07/16/2012 at 15:27

    for all the equipment broken yesterday.

    • on 07/16/2012 at 23:10

    … but the Alps take a lot out of the legs of the big diesels, and with just two Sprinters teams in a position to take over the pace making from Sky ~ Greenedge and Lotto ~ it came down to the weather. Surprise! Its hot in southern France in late July.

    So much for the chance for the sprinters teams to decide to chase down a break for a bunch sprint. The elected to save their energy for stages 18 and then the big worldwide picture on the front page of the sports section bunch sprint on the Champs Elysee.

    It was a great stage to watch ~ as long as you faster forwarded to the last 15km. Which is what I did (in effect ~ my brother watched the whole stage and told me they were getting close). Given that, wonderful bike racing tactics and a lesson in how a sprinter needs at least one team-mate with them in order to win on a stage when the breakaway fights hard to form and fights hard to get away and the peleton just gives up on hauling them back.

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