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D4 – The weather challenge!

16.04.2024 - The Sun Trip
The Sun Trip The Sun Trip

DAY 5 <-> DAY 3

(Made with automatic translation)

Happiness!” April 15 began like that, early in the morning, with the reception of this photo sent by Jean-Marc Dubouloz, as he completed the ascent of the Col de la Pierre Saint Martin. The sun was pointing ahead, towards Spain. It was leaving behind the clouds, which were soon to turn to rain, drastically slowing down all participants as they approached the Pyrenees on the French side.

Shortly afterwards, a message sent by Vincent Lauge (LPO), near Carcassonne, set the tone for life in the peloton: “I’m draining my batteries by exhausting myself in the wind, sometimes at less than 10km/h, it’s a real nightmare! Géry Gevers added, on the participants’ chat group: “We’re at 6km/h!10 minutes of sunshine only today“, for Jean-Louis Mérelle, and Bertrant Goudenhooft’s spectacular decision to adapt to the conditions: “I left my trailer at a farmer’s, too much wind, too much weight“!

In the group approaching the border, only Patrice Plozner had any sun, as he’s taking a gamble by skirting the Pyrenees from the south, which is longer but a priori sunnier. For the moment, he’s still a long way from checkpoint 1, but time will tell if his strategy paid off.

At the head of the race, the two leaders no longer have the Pyrenees in their rear-view mirrors! They are already immersed in the deserted atmosphere of Spain, buoyed by a beautiful sunshine, only hampered at times by a very strong side wind. It’s fair to say that they’ve pulled off the feat of crossing the Pyrenees in 2.5 days from Lyon (850km), avoiding the clouds and leaving the competition far behind. That’s the beauty of the Sun Trip: like a boat race on the high seas, the weather can be decisive, and in this game it’s often the fastest who come out on top! The others know this, and on the evening of this 4th leg, a large part of the group believes it will be impossible to catch the 2 leaders. “It’s impossible”, says Luciano Trumpler, “they’ve managed to get the right weather on the other side“, “by plane I should be able to catch them“, laughs Richard Defay, “it’ll only be possible if they’re unlucky“, concludes Herman Segers.

Analyse de la carte et de la météo, en milieu de journée du 15 avril

Speaking of bad luck, Herman has had his share! He’s been stuck in Bézier since Saturday, because since that day he’s been having problems with his new battery. The problem was that he’d left his old battery at the hotel he’d stayed at the day before, 200 km further north. On Sunday, he took a train to pick it up, but on the way back he fell asleep, missed the Bézier stop and ended up forgetting the battery he’d picked up on the train! So on Monday he had to make a 2nd train journey to buy a battery at Declic-eco near Istres! He should be back on the road on Tuesday, but the race for the podium is already over for him.

At the head of the group, the race for victory is raging between Jack Butler and Jean-Marc Dubouloz. Yesterday, the gap fluctuated between 80 km and 40 km, with areas of side wind not to the advantage of the velomobile and also with the hazards associated with the numerous presence of the road police in Spain… In the end, Jean-Marc clocked up 340km for the day, Jack 282km. By the evening of stage 4, the gap between the two was just 25 km! Ahead of them, the road looks clear to continue their rally, with sunshine forecast until Checkpoint 2, below Lisbon, and the wind set to gradually return to 100%. In other words, there’s no risk of slowing down just yet!

Race positions on April 15 – 8.30pm

1. Jack Butler (with 1156 km)
2. Jean-Marc Dubouloz
3. Kilian & Jonas (checkpoint 1 crossed at 5.15pm)
4. Vivien Dettwiller
5. Géry & Baudouin

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DAY 5 <-> DAY 3

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