Gallery: Pristine beauty and high drama on the roads of the Tour de France

Today the Tour went over one of my absolute favorite climbs — le Cormet de Roselend.

There are certain days you look more forward to than others when it comes to the Tour de France. And today was one of those days I’d been anticipating for quite some time.

Why? Well, because today the Tour went over one of my absolute favorite climbs — le Cormet de Roselend — as well as one of the climbs I have most wanted to discover — le Plateau de Glières.

Every photographer has certain images they have taken before and will take again. And one of mine comes on the Cormet, as the road winds around the mountain lake past a small stone chapel. When it comes to bike racing postcards, I know of few better, and I had my moto drive well ahead of the race so that I could get into place. And I couldn’t have been happier as this year there were no campers or cars parked on the turn. Once again it was a perfect stage for the actors of this year’s Tour de France.

And then of course there was the Plateau de Glières. I missed it when the Tour came here two years ago, but I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. Again I went out ahead of the race. The crowds along the road that curves around the summit were an additional surprise, and I opted to shoot the day’s race leaders — Michał Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz — from above this turn.

And then I moved down to the distinctive gravel road that skirts across the plateau. Primož Roglič was easy to pick out in his distinctive yellow jersey. And in the front of his pack, he didn’t even appear to get it dirty on these dusty roads.

The road is impressive as it sneaks across the plateau. And it is even more impressive when the riders and team cars kick up a mountain of dust. But it wasn’t fun for all of the riders, as some struggled over the uncharacteristic conditions or suffered mechanicals. But in the end, it all adds up to one pretty great day on the Tour!