With the sea visible for the first time yesterday, riders must be able to smell the sea breeze as the opening shuttle took them from camp in Breil-Sur-Roya to the summit of Col de Tende.
The opening liaison would follow the former World War One front line and a series of massive mountain fortresses that guarded the French-Italian frontier over a century ago.
A full dose of the Roya from the very top France’s most Southeastern Valley, 100% new for Trans-Provence. Insane, wild, big mountain trails, tamed just enough by TP’s indefatigable trail teams to be rendered raceable.
Stage 17 took in some classic Trans-Provence high alpine, warp speed singletrack dropping the back into Tende for the liaison to Stage 18.
Both (wo)man and machine would be thankful for a shorter day after yesterday’s monster 61km, two-valley traverse.
Day 5 leant heavily towards the descent, with over four and a half kilometres of descending to test how well the riders are pacing themselves through the week.
Tracy Moseley revelled in the old school conditions, as did Steve Peat, both extending their leads to over seven minutes in the women’s and M40 category respectively.
Romain Paulhan’s battle with Marco Osbourne heated up with the American taking back the lead now with only a single day and four stages remaining before we slip into the Mediterranean.