The dash through Daglan — the sticking point

The main thoroughfare of Daglan does not have, to put it politely, generous proportions — an Avenue des Champs-Elysées it is not. So when my wife Jan and I were waiting for the bike riders in this year’s Tour de Dordogne to race through our village yesterday, we had some concerns. As it turned out, the riders themselves were fine. But for some of the early support vehicles, things got sticky.

First, let me quickly describe the Tour de Dordogne. Put simply, the Tour is a junior version of the Tour de France, which is taking place now and which is big news for virtually the whole month of July. The Dordogne version, by contrast, lasts just five days — but that’s still some serious bike racing.

Over the five days, the riders will travel around the entire département of the Dordogne (where the Greater Daglan Area is located), and these are the distances they will do each day: Stage 1: 155 kilometres; Stage 2: 160 kilometres; Stage 3: 103; Stage 4: just 12 kilometres (individual time trials); and Stage 5: 164. Grand total: 594 kilometres, or about 369 miles.

Jan and I have witnessed, up close and personal, two stages of the Tour de France, last year and the year before. (For a detailed view of what goes on, see “Fun and games at the Tour de France,” which I posted on July 28, 2012.) So we were keen to see what happens as the Tour de Dordogne dashes through Daglan in Stage 2 of this year’s race.

Around 2:30 yesterday afternoon, we walked up to the main square, got ourselves positioned for a good look, and waited. After 10 or 15 minutes, the advance vehicles starting pouring into the village — vans and trucks and cars, some painted with team colours, others sporting the logos and names of advertisers, and so on. For example:

One of the early advance vehicles to arrive in the square.

One of the early advance vehicles to arrive in the square.

And here’s another one:

Close-up of another advance vehicle.

Close-up of another advance vehicle.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. As you’ll see, this Vital Concept Hydrachim van is moving forward, but is approaching an area where the road becomes the most narrow, with a nice bend in it that makes driving even trickier. Ahead of it is a blue van that is bound and determined to squeeze through the narrow gap between buildings. Unfortunately, a huge SICTOM garbage truck is coming from the other direction:

We are approaching the crunch.

We are approaching the crunch.

So now we are really stuck — blue van headed north from the village, huge garbage truck trying to come into the village:

Now we are well and truly into a face-to-face stand-off.

Now we are well and truly into a face-to-face stand-off.

At this point, normal etiquette would be for the smaller vehicles (the vans) to back up, and let the larger vehicle (garbage truck) move forward and pass. But the drivers of these vans must feel that they are very special, because they’re in advance of the Tour de Dordogne, so they are committed to squeezing through. And so here is the blue van pulling sharply to the right and trying to go around the garbage truck — whose driver is looking increasingly frustrated and bewildered:

The blue van is committed to squeezing through, no matter what.

The blue van is committed to squeezing through, no matter what.

Now you might think that would be the end of it. But no — look ahead. There is the trusty Vital Concept van trying to get through the narrowest section, but coming head-to-head with yet another large van coming into the village:

A new crunch has appeared up ahead.

A new crunch has appeared up ahead.

So now the Vital Concept van is forced into the embarrassing position of having to try backing up, yet again, to let the other vehicle through:

Once again, Mr. Vital Concept is forced to back up.

Once again, Mr. Vital Concept is forced to back up.

And now, at last, the van coming into the village can proceed, and the Vital Concept vehicle can also move forward. For your interest, the “Colnago” on the front roofline of the white vehicle refers to an Italian company that makes high-end road racing bikes, while the Vendée Conseil Général on the nose of the van refers to the administration of the Vendée département on the Atlantic coast of France, a fair bit north of the GDA:

DSCF8803And so, with the impasse finally cleared, all the vehicles were able to start moving freely.

Good thing, because a huge rush of vans, cars and (somewhat later) racing bike riders were to roar through the village. Here’s one of the first cars in the lead:

An official car of the Tour de Dordogne moves through the village.

An official car of the Tour de Dordogne moves through the village.

As for the race itself, I’ll save that for tomorrow’s posting.

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This entry was posted in Bicycling in the Dordogne, Exercise and fitness, Holidays in France, Life in southwest France, Sports, Sports in the Dordogne, Weather in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The dash through Daglan — the sticking point

  1. Paul says:

    A great example of the trials and tribulations of village life.

    This is one of the things I so love about France, if the same had happened here in the UK the chances are that at least one driver would be somewhat more than “frustrated and bewildered”. I am sure that road rage must happen in France from time to time but I have never seen more than a sharp honk on a horn and a shake of the head.

  2. Arthur greenwood says:

    We’re is the picture of me and your self Loren cheers Arthur

    • loren24250 says:

      Hi Arthur, Well the photo of you (with me) is quite good. The one of me (I think) is terrible. So I’m really not sure I want to post it (on the blog). I will email it to you tomorrow. Jan thinks the one of me is okay, but then she took the photo…Maybe I will get up the nerve (or stomach) to post it.

  3. loren24250 says:

    In general I agree, Paul. However, Jan and I did once see a male driver actually slap a woman driver in the face, after she had the audacity to honk at him for cutting in. (This was in Sarlat, at a very busy roundabout.) This is never something you want to see. So “being polite” is definitely the way to go.

  4. Lesley says:

    Once again I have failed miserably to find any publicity about this event and more especially where it would be passing closest to our neck of the woods. Last year we were most suprised that it came through our village, there was TdD or something painted on the road as a clue but no date of course!

  5. loren24250 says:

    Hi Lesley, Yes, lack of proper publicity around these parts is sometimes amazing. We too saw the TD painted on roads, and kept meaning to Google the Tour de Dordogne to discover some facts. But by chance, Jan saw a timetable for Stage 2 (the day the Tour went through Daglan) taped to the wall in the Fabrice le Chef boutique here. It was a standard A4 sheet of paper — so not exactly a great banner to promote the event. By contrast, there are some very nice (large) banners for the night markets in St. Cybranet and St. Pompon (which I’ve shown on my blog), and tons of bright posters all around the GDA for the Bodega taking place in Daglan on July 13. Other organizations need to catch on!

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