Stage 5: Lorient > Quimper
Stage 5: Lorient > Quimper
Wednesday, 11th July 2018
Wednesday, 11th July 2018

McBeardy Island

Stage 5 of the Tour de France kicked off in the seaport town of Lorient. It’s easy to see why it’s a Stage town for the 12th time, as the race course passes by postcard-perfect white sand beaches with a backdrop of the Celtic Sea.

After a couple of quick startline shots, we headed for a couple of beaches just after the neutralized section. Not too far from here, the Gulf of Morbihan is filled with private islands owned by movie stars and fashion designers. My mind drifted… ‘McBeardy Island’ has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Looking out for potential photo spots, I spotted a building with an open second storey window that offered the potential of a good vantage. I wasn’t having much luck getting the attention of the occupants, but on closer inspection, I noticed smoke plumes drifting out the window and a distinctive fragrance in the air. I think they had other activities underway, none of which involved watching le Tour!

I gave up and drove on, finding a handy cement fence post on the roadside instead. It was a good opportunity to practice my balancing act as we watched the breakaway establish itself.

Circling sharks

As we took the next exit from the race course, I could see a black press station wagon just up ahead. They made a left turn off my planned route, leaving me a little concerned. However, I decided to stick to my guns. Sure enough, they reappeared a little later, speeding past with another three press cars in tow.

Álvaro was getting twitchy feet on the accelerator wanting to chase after them, but I told him to take it easy, there was no reason to risk a fine on the highway (though truth be told I was starting to feel a little twitchy myself).

Our next photo spot was a seaside port. I could see a balcony above us which would be ideal, however, I wasn’t the only one to think so – there was already one photographer up there, and a couple more circling the building like sharks, looking for the intercom.

The others had a French photomoto driver with them who negotiated terms through the intercom, relaying the messages to us. “Only two photographers can come up” he said. I was third in line so I got cut, but then the moto driver went up too. What a stitch up!

More than a little annoyed, I tried to salvage the shot but ended up walking a long way from the car before I found one. By the time I made it back, all the other photographers’ cars had left. The way the Gendarme looked at her watch and grudgingly waved us past, telling us to hurry, the riders must have been very close.

Behold, Beardy’s bric-à-brac

We hurriedly pulled into the next town to set up. My frown was soon turned upside down when we scored our first piece of Tour De France bric-à-brac, a yellow arrow! I’ll be giving this, and a heap of other random Tour objets d'art, away soon to lucky Caravan readers. Stay tuned and get on board #beardysbricabrac - it’s a thing.

There was a beautiful shot down the main street with a church in the background, but weirdly, it was like a ghost town with almost no-one around. In fact, there were probably more photographers than spectators.

Follow the Léon

En route to our next location, we got caught up in a photography convoy. In the lead was a black ŠKODA (nice car mate!) that turned out belonged to Léon van Bon, ex pro cyclist turned cycling photographer (after he realised where the real glory was - or so I assume).

We all followed along behind Léon like ducklings in a row. He pulled into a side road which wasn’t part of my route, and everyone seemed to follow. Apparently there was an option to get another shot, as the riders had to make an 8km loop and we were planning to drive a straight line 3 km to the top of the climb.

Still playing it safe after yesterday’s fuel tank saga, I wasn’t too sure, but eventually gave into peer pressure. After getting a low angle shot of the riders from the roadside ditch, it was time to get moving. We all sped off in a paceline, hoping to make the top of the climb in time – and we did.

Ah, so this is where everyone was! The place was packed, with black and white Bretagne flags waving proudly. This was the first proper climb of the TDF, and the crowd was surging in to get a glimpse of the riders.

Passing the cup

We all ran back to our cars to find we were missing Léon. His car was in front and blocking the road so we had to reverse down the hill about 500m before it was wide enough to turn around. Still no sign of Léon.

On the way to the finish at Quimper, we caught up with some of the other photographers. They were all distracted taking photos of each other out their car windows when the exit came up. We made it, they didn't!

Turning into the finish line parking, Léon showed up in our rearview mirror. I thought Team McBeardy had the unofficial photographers classification wrapped up again today with 7 spots, but apparently, he had snuck one more in, scoring 8 in total!

I passed on the tinfoil cup with a nod of respect. Meanwhile Peter Sagan out-sprinted Sonny Colbrelli to take the Stage win, not a bad day in the office for him either.
Stage 5: Lorient > Quimper
Teams Presentation
Stage 1: Noirmoutier-en-l'Île > Fontenay-le-Comte
Stage 2: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain > La Roche-sur-Yon
Stage 3, Team Time Trial: Cholet > Cholet
Stage 4: La Baule > Sarzeau
Stage 6: Brest > Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan


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A Cycling Journal

Join Beardy McBeard and his caravan as he chases some of cycling’s biggest races around the world. Get a new perspective on this beautiful sport through Beardy's iconic photos and the stories behind them. You can also purchase the prints!

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