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D7 – Snow, sunshine & smiles

19.04.2024 - The Sun Trip
The Sun Trip The Sun Trip

DAY 8 <-> DAY 6

On the evening of the 7th day of adventure (6.5 days in reality), 5 participants were still in France, 11 in Spain and 2 in Portugal. The sun is due to return to the Pyrenees in the next few hours, so everyone should soon be finished with this first leg and leaving the snow behind the Sun Trip 2024 roads!

Speaking of snow, we must salute the heroic passage of Vincent Lauga (LPO), who was one of those who faced the worst conditions on the Col de la Pierre Saint Martin. “I spent 22 hours in front of a stove to recover“, he said afterwards… “but I’m happy because I only used 285 Wh on the climb!

As we left the Pyrenees checkpoint, we paid tribute to the woman who had given us the idea of the Col de la Pierre Saint Martin as a crossing point: Madame Béatrice Cazanave. Taken aback by the distress of participants caught in bad weather, she set off to bring them comfort. Here on video with Czech Michael Polak. It’s magnificent. When the sun doesn’t shine, there’s always that human touch that makes the Sun Trip so special.

At the same time as the last ones enter Spain, the first one or two will be in Morocco! Leaving Lyon on Friday April 12, they will be in Tangier on Friday April 19, having made a detour to the south of Lisbon! Since the Cabo Espichel checkpoint, the gap between Jean-Marc Dubouloz and Jack Butler is between 100 and 120 km, depending on the moment. The former was lucky to take the ferry between Setubal and Troia with perfect timing, while the latter had to make the detour inland because the waiting time was too long. This is a first adventure fact on the ferry issue, and a waste of time for Jack Butler. Perhaps he’ll be luckier on the ferry episode between Spain and Morocco. A priori, there’s a ferry every two hours between Tarifa and Tangier, so on paper a participant can lose or gain two hours depending on when he arrives in port. The organizers have decided to leave it to chance for the outward passenger, and then for the return journey. Barring any unforeseen events that flagrantly distort the regularity of the race, it’s all about adventure, and the leaders will have to rely on a bit of luck.

It’s also worth noting that for the leaders, paradoxically, the arrival in Morocco will mean less favorable weather than up to now! They’ll already have a strong headwind to reach the Strait of Gibraltar, then clouds are forecast on the Moroccan side for Friday evening and Saturday.

The races within the race: People often talk about a duel for the win, but behind the scenes other stakes are looming.

It’s likely that there will already be a race for the podium / top 5 between the Germans “Kilian & Jonas”, the Belgians “Géry & Baudouin” and the Swiss Vivien Dettwiler. Right now, there’s a big battle for 4th and 5th place, with the Belgians and the Swiss neck and neck. And all it would take is one day’s downtime for the Germans to be back on the podium!

A little further back, it’s hard to say what the order will be from 6th to the famous 10th place. Richard Defay and Bertrand Goudenhooft have a slight advantage. But Vincent Lauga and Luciano Trumpler are not far behind. Vincent Lauga (LPO), currently in 10th place, may well have to keep an eye on his rear-view mirror, as Herman Segers and Patrice Plozner, both of whom have already been ranked in two Sun Trips, are likely to make dazzling comebacks towards the front. Patrice Plozner should finish his detour south of the mountains today, “it didn’t really work out as I’d hoped, but I tried and I had fun. Now I’m going to try the remontada!” he said as he pitched his tent.

Finally, there’s the unknown of the pace of Jean-Louis Mérelle, the Czechs Michael and Jiri and the young Belgian Miguel Letor. All of them, on paper, can claim a place in the top 10 (if they feel like it).

Race positions D7

1. Jean-Marc Dubouloz
2. Jack Butler
3. Kilian & Jonas
4. Géry & Baudouin
5. Vivien Dettwiller

Carte en direct :

Anecdotes of the day

Michael Polak: “Beatrice Cazanave came to my tent when it was raining, windy and cloudy and brought me coffee and a croissant”.

Vivien Dettwiler: “Today I achieved 885 Watt peak (see photo) with my 800 Wp panels. A combination of the strong, cold wind (good cooling) and the high altitude (1050m).

Vincent Lauga: “Incredible the snow and cold at the pass, after 3 hours of rain on the climb, I was frozen… fortunately the ski resorts are open on the Spanish side: 2 hours in front of the stove before continuing to chill fans on the descent!”

Luciano Trumpler: “Today the morning was very demotivating, it was raining and I had a flat battery, but I started riding anyway, it turned out to be the best day, the sun shone and I did a lot of Km. With a light wind! Just perfect!”

Shots of the day

DAY 8 <-> DAY 6

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