Thursday, 21 July 2011

Church of St. Mary, Oloron, France

The 19th day of the 2010 Tour de France was a rest day. On the 20th day Pau was the starting point and the destination was Col du Tourmalet featuring one of the toughest climbing sections of the race.

Oloron Sante-Marie is located close to Pau on this route . The original town was destroyed in the 9th century, and re-built across the River Aspe in the 11th century. Later in the same century a new town was built over the ruins of the earlier town and thus there were two rival towns on either side of the river until they were ordered to merge in the 19th century.

My sketch shows the Oloron Cathedral which was built between the 12th and 14th centuries and is a world heritage site. It was the seat of the Bishopric of Oloron until 1801. Now no longer a cathedral, it is instead called the Church of St. Mary, Oloron.

My sketch is approximately 12 cm x 9.5 cm (4.75" x 3.75").

In cycling the term "queen stage" is used to describe the toughest stage of a multi-day road stage, and Stage 17 of the 2010 Tour de France from Pau to Col du Tourmalet was considered the Queen Stage of the year's Tour. This stage covered a distance of 174 km (108 miles) and had two Category 1, and one Category H climb.

The stage turned into a battle between the top two riders of the tour. Schleck and Contador left the rest of the field behind on the day's final climb to the Col du Tourmalet but, despite attacking Contador several times, Schleck could not distance himself from Contador. Ultimately Schleck won the stage but Contador kept the overall lead and the yellow jersey. With only two flat stages and an individual time trial to follow Schleck was running out of time in his bid to wrest the title from Contador.

There was no change in the other classifications with Thor Hushovd leading in the sprints classification (green jersey), Anthony Charteau in the king of the mountains classification (polka jersey) and Andy Schleck in the best young rider classification (white jersey).


  1. interesting background info and sketch to accompany it. I visited Kalpana's blog. Hope to see more of your sketches, perhaps larger?

  2. Thank you Benny. All my 2010 Tour de France sketches have been done on the back of leftover cards from Kalpana's wedding. Hence the small size. Most of my Kerala Holiday sketches posted in 2009 are larger (A4).

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