Well, I think it is safe to say that I have never shot so many finish line shots on a Tour in my life. I generally avoid them to be honest, as they rarely are anything but average. This year, however, either I have found an interesting perspective, or the finish line itself offered a dramatic background.
That was the case at La Planche des Belles Filles, and it was again the case today at the aerodrome just above Megève. I have been here many times, especially in the Critérium du Dauphiné, and when I looked at the stage today, I knew I had to be at the finish.
The stage itself was short and offered few postcard shots. And while I knew the climb out of Saint-Gervais in the final 20 kilometres offered some spectacular views of Mont Blanc, I was less convinced by the frame when the race approached.
Instead I focused on the finish. I told Bruno, my motorcycle driver, to leave the front of the race with five kilometres to go. At this point, there were still plenty of attacks and counter attacks. The winning move was far from decided. But I knew that I had to position myself at the line if I wanted to get the right perspective.
Arriving, there was little space left, but I managed to squeeze in just underneath the France Télévision camera. First I focused on the sprint between Magnus Cort and Nick Schultz as their heads came over the horizon line in a gruelling drag race to the line.
I really didn’t know what to expect from the peloton, as it appeared that Tadej Pogačar had accepted giving up his yellow jersey to Lennard Kämna, if even for a day.
But instead, the first colour I saw coming into focus was the yellow helmet and jersey of Pogačar, sprinting madly to the line. For me, this is the real shot of the day, as Pogačar powers over the final rise, clearly not willing to give anything away.
But then with Pogačar, would we expect anything else ?
Camera : Nikon D5
Lens : Nikon 70mm-200mm (set at 200mm)
Shutter speed : 1/1600th
Aperture : F 5