Monday, 11 July 2011

Rodez Cathedral, France

The 15th day of the Tour de France 2010 saw the cyclists ride in the 13th Stage of the race from Rodez to Revel, a relatively flat stage of 196 km or 122 miles. The stage was won by Alexander Vinokourov. Alessandro Petacchi wrested the green jersey for the sprints classification from Thor Hushovd. There were no changes in the overall classification (yellow jersey), the mountain classification (polka jersey) and the best young rider classification (white jersey). The yellow and white jerseys stayed with Andy Schleck, while Anthony Charteau contined to wear the polka jersey.

As I write this the 2011 Tour de France is in progress and yesterday was a day of carnage. Sadly Vinokourov, who had planned to retire after this Tour, suffered a horrible crash and had to be rushed to the hospital. It is feared that he suffered several fractures including a broken pelvis and a fractured elbow.

Rodez, the starting point of last year's 13th Stage is known to have existed from at least the 5th century B.C. It was founded by the Celts and was later part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire Rodez was captured by the Visigoths, the Franks, the Arabs, and then the English during the 100 years war.

During medieval times there was very strong rivaly between the counts and bishops of Rodez who exercised strong control over different parts of the city. This resulted in Rodez being divided by a wall cutting across the city.

There is mention of Rodez Cathedral in 6th Century A.D. itself. But very little of it remained some centuries later. It was rebuilt in the 11th century but once again very little of it remained by the early 13th century. The reconstruction of the Cathedral began yet again in the 13th century and was completed in the 16th century.

My sketch shows the western face of the church and is based on a photograph by Jean Paul Cronimus. This face of the church is very solid looking, with relatively few openings, since it was part of the city's defence wall. The sketch is 9.5cm x 12cm (3.75" x 4.75").


  1. Nice sketch. Real pity about Vinokourov!

  2. There was also a nasty incident closer to the finish when two of the three cyclists leading the stage at that point were knocked down by a tv car.