Sunday 23 August 2009 at 23h13

Last week the Tour du Limousin took place around Limoges in France. During this 4 day stage race, in the 2.1 category in the UCI Europe Tour, we saw a line up of different leaders wearing the yellow jersey. Finally it's Mathieu Perget who takes the final win with a 3 seconds gap on his team mate David Arroyo.

This article proposes a short summary of this race ...


Before the start

The day the organisor of the race announced the race's schedule and route I already presented you the Tour du Limousin 2009 route on Google Maps / Google Earth.

For me it all started on Saturday 15 August when I took the train to Limoges: on my way to this city in the center of France to follow the Tour du Limousin in order to fill the official website of the race,, together with Mathieu. Also the occasion to see my parents who were on their way to the north from their house in the south of France!
The next day, on Sunday, I seized the occasion of being in the Limousin to get on my bike and do a part of the first stage and a few kilometers to connect to the other bit of my trip which was the final part of the fourth stage, including the final circuit around Limoges. In this final circuit, Mathieu filmed me so we could present this circuit with ... Arnaud Coyot as a guest star !

The next day we first picked up our accreditation and the radio we needed to listen in to Radio Tour. Once we got this, we went to the Bar des Pompiers (what's in a name!) to prepare a short item on the exhibition about the Tour du Limousin and the Tour de France.

Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team's mobile homeBack at the Permanence we interviewed several directeurs sportifs. Yvon Ledanois (Caisse d'Epargne) explained what Arnaud Coyot did on the final circuit of the 4th stage ...

That night we went to see Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil), Road champion for Ouzbekistan, at his hotel for a short interview.

For the 4 stages, you'll find below a short summary of each of the stages and under the title What about us? a short summary of what we did as the "web team" of the official website for the Tour du Limousin!

First stage: Limoges > Ussel

In contrast to last year the weather was very good in this year's Tour du Limousin. Starting from the first day the sun was showing its best side and when you talk about the sun there's only a small step to Vacansoleil, so it was actually quite logic that a Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team rider won this stage!

Two big escapes
Dimitri ChampionDimitri Champion (Bretagne-Schuller), who honours his name this year since he's become the French Road champion in June, was the first to attack just after the start of this stage. About twenty riders came back on him to form one of the escapes of this stage: among them there were Lars Boom (Rabobank), David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) and the local rider Maxime Méderel (Auber 93). They tried to increase the gap with the peloton little by little.

They managed to do so quite well until they got caught back by the peloton. When the pack was all back together, several riders tried to escape but they were all taken back.

Nicolas Vogondy & Mathieu PergetAll but one: just before the Côte de Lestards (1st category) the former French champion, Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel), attacked. Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne) managed to get back on him and together they seemed to form the perfect duo to fight for the final victory.
Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) tried to get back on them but he finally was caught back by the peloton at about 35 kilometers from the finish.

At the first crossing of the finish line, Vogondy and Perget were still ahead with a gap of about 3'30" on the peloton, but 3 Bbox Bouygues Telecom riders (Thomas Voeckler, Pierre Rolland and Cyril Gautier) tried to attack when they crossed the line to get back on the two leading riders. Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)The peloton accelerates and gets back not only on the the three riders in their blue jersey but also on Nicolas Vogondy and Mathieu Perget.

In Ussel, under a clear blue sky and with a brightly shining sun, the stage win was decided in a sprint. This sprint was won by the Slovenian rider Borut Bozic of the Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team who already won the first stage of the Tour de Pologne before.
Kai Reus (Rabobank)
The Dutch rider Kai Reus (Rabobank) arrived 23 minutes and 19 seconds after the stage winner, past the time limit so he was not allowed to take the start of the second stage between Eymoutiers and Felletin the next day.

What about us?
Before the start, we went to the team presentations.

Since this stage followed a rather straight route east from Limoges to Ussel, we couldn't use connecting roads to cut between several parts of the stage in order to be able to see the riders several times.

Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)Therefore, we decided to interview some people standing along the road before continuing towards the finish to see the riders at the first crossing of the finish line.
For me it was a bit weird to drive on roads I used on my bike ride only two days earlier!

At the finish we posted close to the finish line to make a video of the first crossing and to take pictures of it and we of course did the same for the finish of the stage which Borut Bozic won after a sprint.

Second stage: Eymoutiers > Felletin

Again a day with very high temperatures: in the shadow they regularly went above 36°C!

Several escapes of which one ... finally didn't last till the end either
Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) is the first rider to attack, just before Lacelle, at 180 kilometers from the finish. Pierre Rolland (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Jonathan Thiré (Auber 93), Anthony Charteau (Caisse d'Epargne), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team) and Anthony Ravard (Auber 93) also escape from the peloton to continue together with him.

A few kilometers further, these 6 riders are taken back and a new group of 20 riders is formed by riders such as Stéphane Goubert (AG2R La Mondiale), Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) and Jonathan Thiré (Auber 93).

Jonathan Thiré (Auber 93) & Anthony Charteau (Caisse d'Epargne)This group is also taken back and the peloton is than completely back together. At 158 kilometers from the finish, just before Saint-Merd-les-Oussines, there seemed to be an escape which could last till the end: Anthony Charteau and Jonathan Thiré quickly create a one minute gap on the peloton and extend it little by little up to 4'20".

Anthony Charteau attacks on the top of the Côte de Chaveroche at 10 kilometers from the finish, but the peloton decided to accellerate at the end of the stage and manages to get back on him at 800 meters from the finish line. Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) wins the stage after a sprintThe stage victory is thus again decided in a sprint and this time it's the small Cofidis rider, Samuel Dumoulin, who wins the stage before Romain Feillu (Agritubel) and Sébastien Chavanel (Française des Jeux). Dumoulin also takes the yellow leader's jersey of this 42nd Tour du Limousin : 5th in the GC at 9" from Bozic before the stage, he takes the first place thanks to the bonus seconds for the stage winner (10").

On the podium he thanked his team mates for the great work they did for him and dedicated this victory to Magalie Dumoulin (the daughter of Vincent Lavenu of the AG2R La Mondiale team) who's expecting a baby.

What about us?
Julien SimonIn the morning we did several interviews, including those with Julien Simon (Besson Chaussures - Sojasun) who took the white jersey of best young rider after the first stage, Brice Feillu (Agritubel), the winner of the Barcelona > Andorra Arcalis stage in the Tour de France 2009, Laurent Devoyon with Raymond Poulidor at the tente casquéeLaurent Devoyon of the Je Porte 1 Casque association ( and Eric Caritoux.

Before these four interviews we started with an interview with Frédéric Delcambre, directeur sportif of Roubaix Lille Métropole who didn't really knew how to handle the question why he came to the Tour du Limousin with only 6 riders (instead of the usual 8).

Just before the start of the riders we followed this stage's route till the top of the first climb of the day, the Côte de Font Goux where we took pictures and a short movie of the riders getting to the top and especially Jonathan Thiré and Anthony Charteau who created a 4'30" gap on the peloton there.
Once the riders and the following cars passed we went back to take another road to the finish. At the finish we turned around a bit to find the right way to our "organisation" parking spot ...

Again, we took pictures and made a short movie of the first crossing of the finish line and of course of the stage finish.

Third stage: Saint-Martin-de-Jussac > Saint-Junien

The first riders at the Domaine de BallerandThis stage was the longest stage of the 42nd Tour du Limousin with 189,6 km while the stage start and finish were only 5 kilometers away from each other!

It was only at this third stage that the escape of the day finally went to the finish line: Mathieu Perget and David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne) managed to do so and thus created a double success ... the stage win for David Arroyo who was completely exhausted and the yellow jersey fro Mathieu Perget (and the white jersey for best young rider, the green jersey for best sprinter and the combination jersey).

These two riders escaped from the peloton in the climb of the Côte du Grand Puyconnieux at about 120 kilometers from the finish.

Mathieu Perget & David Arroyo (Caisse d'Epargne)The Cofidis team, of the yellow jersey owner Samuel Dumoulin, controls the race in the first 70 kilometers and no single rider gets a gap over 100 meters. In the first climb of the day Mathieu Perget attacks when the peloton gets completely back together. Only his team mate David Arroyo is able to follow him. The Cofidis team controls the tempo of the peloton in order to limit the gap to 2 to 3 minutes, hoping to get some support of the other teams to get back on the two riders of the Spanish team. David Arroyo makes sure Mathieu Perget gets first on the top of all climbs and at the bonification sprints.

Cofidis doesn't get any help in the peloton to reduce the gap. At 40 km from the finish, the gap with the two leaders has gone up to 4'15". Several riders try to attack but no one really manages to get away.

Arroyo thinks about giving up their escape but Perget really wants it to go to the finish. On the finish line he decides to lose some bonification seconds which could have become quite important (6 for the second place instead of 10 for the winner) to thank the Spanish rider for his important contribution to this common victory. Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne)David Arroyo crosses the finish line first and stops on the right side of the road completely exhausted (for those who've seen the images: no, he didn't know those people standing there!!). He really gave everything he had to get his French team mate to a potential final win the next day in Limoges.

On the podium Mathieu Perget explained with his wonderful accent (he's from Montauban) that they really wondered what on earth they were doing before starting to believe in a potential stage win and giving everything to make it happen (including convincing his team mate to continue)!

What about us?
Before the start we went to Saint-Martin-de-Jussac gereden where I dropped the people who were traveling with us before getting fuel for our car. When we came back in Saint-Martin-de-Jussac one of the volunteers refused to let me park at the avant parking ... a bit strange since I really had to leave before the riders. Once I accepted that he made it impossible to make a U-turn, so we had to follow a 10 kilometer long route to get to another parking which was ... only 200 meters behind from where I was before! Fortunately I'm not very good in recognising faces, so I didn't see this guy any more ...

We than took some pictures of the advertising caravan before we decided to post at the Cofidis team mobile home to celebrate Samuel Dumoulin (wearing the yellow jersey) and Julien Fouchard's birthday with an interview: just like Dan Martin (Garmin Slipstream) they celebrated their birthday that day.

Au Domaine de BallerandAfter that interview we had to hurry because the start was in only 15 minutes and we had to follow the stage's route to go to the kilomètre gourmand (a place chosen by the organisor to receive its VIP visitors to get something to eat and drink). The spot was perfectly chosen that day at the Domaine de Ballerand with its castle and lake. It was also a perfect spot to take some nice pictures, sitting on the ground I had a perfect view on the riders getting down a tortuous road. If you add some plants and flowers to that (on the foreground) you get to the pictures which you'll soon find on this site!
Christophe Riblon in the zone de ravitaillement
Once the riders passed we took the stage's route in the opposite direction in order to get to some extremely small roads where I had to drive at about 130 km/h to get back on the stage's route a bit further just before the riders arrived there. We managed to do so and decided to find a spot in the zone de ravitaillement (feeding zone), first of all for an interview with Emmanuel Seloi of the AG2R La Mondiale team about his work in the zone de ravitaillement and than to take some pictures and a short movie of the riders in the zone de ravitaillement.

After the zone de ravitaillement we followed the riders for a few kilometers before we decided to get straight to the finish to get there before them, so we could make yet another movie of the first crossing of the finish line and to take pictures there. Of course we did the same for the stage finish.


Fourth stage: Châlus > Limoges

Het vertrek in ChâlusThis fourth and last stage ended as usual in the Tour du Limousin: several escapes seemed to manage to get to the finish, but the final rounds on the local circuit around Limoges made all riders get back together so the stage ended in a sprint. The former yellow jersey of the Tour de France 2008, Romain Feillu (Agritubel) won the sprint before Pierrick Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Paul Martens (Rabobank).
The French rider Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne) wins the Tour du Limousin with a 3 seconds gap on his team mate David Arroyo, and thus takes his first victory as a professional rider.

At the start the temperatures were down a little bit for the first time in this Tour du Limousin. There were 116 riders left for the start in Châlus : two riders didn't start, Dan Martin (Garmin-Slipstream) and René Mandri (AG2R La Mondiale).

The group of 5 riders - Mathieu Ladagnous, Julien Simon, Niels Brouzes, Sébastien Duret and Stéphane AugéA group of 5 riders got away from the peloton at the start of the stage at about 168 kilometers from the finish. In this group we saw Mathieu Ladagnous (Française des Jeux), Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Julien Simon (Besson Chaussures - Sojasun), Niels Brouzes (Auber 93) and Sébastien Duret (Bretagne Schuller). 2 other riders manage to get away from the peloton a bit later to join this group: Yury Trofimov (Bbox Bouygues Télécom) and Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil).

18 kilometers further these riders have a gap of over 2 minuts on the peloton which is lead by a Caisse d'Epargne train, the team of the owner of the yellow jersey, Mathieu Perget.
The Caisse d'Epargne train
On the final circuit Brice Feillu (Agritubel) attacks in the first round and Samuel Dumoulin, winner of the 2nd stage in Felletin, joins him, as well as Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team). At a little bit less than 30 kilometers from the finish they are 55" behind the group of 7 riders. Dumoulin and Trofimov get back at this group and Brice Feillu has to try to bridge the gap alone. Since the start of the stage the temperature went up steadily and the gap of the 10 riders melts as snow in the sun. The group breaks up in two: Augé, Feillu, Brouzes and Ladagnous are the victims of this break-up and only Hoogerland, Dumoulin and Trofimov continue ahead of the peloton.

Brice Feillu gets back on them but cannot keep up the pace of Dumoulin. At less than 10 kilometers from the finish the trio's gap is down to about 10 seconds. They keep ahead until 4 kilometers before the finish and are taken back by the peloton there. Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) tries, just like in 2007 during Paris-Nice, to continue alone to a stage victory on the Boulevard de Beaublanc in Limoges. But just like in 2007, the rider in blue is taken back at 700 meters from the finish. Romain Feillu wins the final stage
A mass sprint closes the book of the Tour du Limousin 2009 and Romain Feillu (Agritubel) takes the stage win in this sprint. Fédrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), two times Tour du Limousin winner, finishes second.

Mathieu Perget takes his first professional victory at 24 year old: in addition to the GC he also takes the combination jersey, the best young rider's jersey and the jersey for the ranking by points.

What about us?
Nicolas Vogondy, Dimitri Champion & Cyril Gautier at the startThe stages in races I've worked on for which I was able to see the start of the riders are quite rare. For this stage it was possible to be at the start, so we saw the start in Châlus to take a lot of pictures (a bigger version will be on this site soon) before taking the N21 to get to the place where the stage crossed that road just before the riders (it was only a few kilometers away and the riders arrived there after about 20 kilometers).

Laying on the ground I managed to take some nice pictures there before getting up and back in the car to continue on the N21. On a route nationale a cycling race of course gives huge traffic jams on both sides so I was a bit afraid it would be difficult to get back on the road. However, when I opened my window to ask the Gendarme if he could let me get on the road I heard him say to his colleague: can you stop them, we can get him through first! What else could you wish for? ;-)

We planned to follow the N21 for quite a long time but there was too much traffic, especially also because there were road works on the section we wanted to take. As a lasdt minute action I asked Mathieu whether I could take a small road I saw on my right hand side ... he said that should work!
By following this road we arrived in Les Cars where we got back on the stage's route (at the same place as where I joined the fourth stage's route when I did it by bike after having done a part of the first stage the Sunday before the Tour du Limousin). From there we continued on the stage's track past the sprint in Flavignac (we didn't stop there but I think the riders got past it rather quickly since when I was there I was already at 38/39 km/h while I was filming and not at all concentrating on a possible sprint!) and than to the zone de ravitaillement in Saint-Martin-le-Vieux.

In the zone de ravitaillementThat's where we stopped to upload the pictures of the start and to make a movie and some pictures of the riders in the zone de ravitaillement (and if you realise your memory card is full at the time you take a picture, you can be sure not to have any pictures of the leading group ...).

Once the riders past I took the car and picked up my two passengers to make sure we followed immediately after the race in order to get back to the finish in Limoges. We stopped there without doing the final circuit (I knew it already anyway!). There was quite a lot of people around the finish so it was quite funny to get through the streets of Limoges while making some noise with the car!

Brice Feillu (Agritubel)At the finish we took pictures and a movie of some of the crossings of the finish line (movie of the 4th crossing, 5th crossing and the finish of the stage).

Next year in hors catégorie?

The organisor of the Tour du Limousin filed a request to get the race upgraded from the 2.1 category to hors catégorie. When we asked Brice Feillu what he thought about that he said: That would be cool, the race is well organised: I would like to see this race in hors catégorie just like the 4 Jours de Dunkerque since there are not many races in hors caté in France, so it would be good news.

Now we just have to hope that the UCI's commission route takes into account the same aspects as Agritubel's master climber!

door Thomas Vergouwen
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5 comments | 20446 views

this publication is published in: Tour du Limousin | Cycling general (except Tour de France)


There are 5 comments!
  1. Salut Thomas ! 4 très belles journées de course et un excellent travail effectué pour

    Rendez-vous est déjà pris pour l'édition 2010... j'espère en catégorie 2.HC !!!

    | Vincent | tuesday 25 August 2009 om 12h38

  2. bon Thomas j aime mieux ton blog ci , j ai plus l habitude , et au moins si tu met des videos je peux les regardés , j ai téléchargé des pluggins et ca ne fonctionne toujours pas ..pffffff la poisse est avec moi ...!!

    | nath51300 | tuesday 25 August 2009 om 14h48

  3. Salut,

    Je pense que c\'est toi et ton collègue qui nous ont filmé avec ma \"collègue\" du FOP, je voulais vous demander quand est ce qu\'on pourrais voir la vidéo??!!

    Merci d\'avance :)

    | Jenny | tuesday 25 August 2009 om 18h23

  4. Vincent, avec plaisir bien sûr pour retrouver cette superbe course, si possible en HC, en 2010 !!

    Jenny, c'était effectivement nous qui vous avons interviewé ! On avait tellement de choses à publier qu'effectivement on n'a pas encore tout finalisé ! Par contre, je viens tout juste de monter la vidéo du FOP, donc là ça y est, tu peux regarder l'interview avec vous sur !

    Bientôt encore plein d'autres exclusivités sur !

    Nathalie, sur le site du Tour du Limousin les vidéos fonctionnent quand même je pense ? C'est juste la vidéo de LTV que tu n'arrives pas à voir, non ?

    | Thomas Vergouwen | Wednesday 26 August 2009 om 00h54

  5. Hoi Thomas,

    Een goed verslag van deze 4-daagse wedstrijd. Mooie foto's en filmpjes (op het blog van de TdL)
    Ook leuk dat de door jou geïnterviewde Brice Feillu en z'n broer volgend jaar voor de Nederlandse Vacance Soleil-ploeg rijden.
    Weer meer kans voor deze vrij jonge nieuwe equipe om een uitnodiging voor de Tour de France te krijgen. Benieuwd ook wat deze ploeg in de Vuelta van dit jaar laat zien. Ze hebben een goede "warming up" gehad in de TdL

    | Tonn Vergouwen | Wednesday 26 August 2009 om 21h49

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