Tour de France 2020

Getting the shot: Julian Alaphilippe and Primož Roglič during stage 4 of the Tour de France

James Startt scouts the best spot to shoot the maillot jaune on the historic Tour de France climb to Orcières Merlette.

Ever since the 2020 Tour de France presentation last year, I have been looking forward to stage four of this year’s race which climbed to Orcières-Merlette.

No it is not an epic climb, but it was home to one of the Tour’s epic stages when Luis Ocaña soloed to a historic victory eight minutes in front of a certain Eddy Merckx back 1971. In some ways the climb itself was anticlimactic. After all, there were only a sprinkling of fans and the roads were lined with visually unappealing barriers for the last two kilometers.

But just before the three-kilometer mark, I looked down on a large sweeping turn. “Drop me off here Andy!” I told my traveling companion, Andrew Hood.

As I approached the turn itself, I struggled to find a convincing angle. But I was attracted to the rock face on the adjacent mountain. That was going to be my shot. The stage was set. And all I had to do was wait for the Tour’s main actors to arrive. And man were they going fast!