Getting the Shot: Eye in the Sky at the Tour de France Tour de France Stage 19

The Tour de France is also a tour of France, renowned as a wonderful summertime road trip around the country. And this year’s Tour was no exception as we started in Brittany, looped down to the Alps, across the French Midi and into the Pyrénées.

And the trek continued today as we raced through Les Landes—a region known for its miles of dense Pine forests—before moving into the Bordeaux wine region.

While Bordeaux is world famous, Les Landes is far less so, but its endless Pine plantations dating back to the 19th century are impressive.

Racing out of Mourenx on the outskirts of Pau, we entered the forests just outside of Mont-de-Marsan.

Pine is not as common in France as in the US and by Tour de France standards it is rather unique.

I started looking for a place that was open enough to capture the scene as the riders raced past.

Stopping at one opening, I walked into a field and found my spot. The repetition of trees stood out and I had a clear shot of the road.

This would be another one for the slow shutter speed as I imagined the blur of the peloton against the tree line—1/100th of a second was my speed of choice.

Soon enough the peloton neared and I kept an eye out for the yellow jersey, something that would make the shot even more distinctive. Eyeing Tadej Pogačar near the front I started shooting.

It was only after I got back to the press room in Libourne that I noticed a television helicopter peering in from the opposite side of he forest. Apparently French TV had a similar image in mind.

The shot of the day. Note the television helicopter in the background with a similar idea. Image: James Startt.

Later in the day I also managed to get several shots of Pogačar’s countryman Matej Mohorič as his soloed towards victory through the wine vineyards that were simply ubiquitous in the final kilometers of the race. But while I liked several of the shots, I preferred this one in Les Landes.

Matej Mohorič en route to a stage 19 victory at the Tour de France. Image: James Startt.

After all, there will be plenty of opportunities to get cyclists racing past wine vineyards tomorrow at the final time trial around Saint Emilion!

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