The shot: A study in yellow and green at the Tour de France

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VeloNews and Peloton Contributor James Startt, the winner of the 2021 World Sports Photography Awards, reports on his 32nd Tour de France. At this year’s Tour de France he will regularly explain how he takes his favorite shots of the day and what equipment he uses.


At the last time trial of this year’s Tour de France in Saint-Emilion, one thing was certain: wineries were the stage for today’s photo.

Leaving the start in Libourne vineyards were seemingly everywhere. Some residents here even had grapevines in the back yard. And when we left town, the vineyards were just endless. But so were the masses.

Shortly after leaving the world famous village of Pomerol, we entered some of the most legendary vineyards in the world. I learned that Château Petrus and Château Cheval Blanc were virtual neighbors. Unfortunately both were closed – although news like this was undoubtedly a great relief for my wallet!

When I parked in front of the Château Petrus, I understood that I had found my place, as the narrow road through the adjacent vineyards provided the perfect setting.

As one driver after the other sped by, I shot away. Sometimes I would take a bigger picture where you could see Pomerol in the distance.

But when the favorites arrived I approached and often framed them tighter against the backdrop of the green.

As the yellow jersey approached, I admit to be nervous. After all, when the Frenchman Guillaume Martin came by a few minutes earlier, my camera was somehow unable to focus! But while it was easy to blame my camera and not my eyes, it would be a disaster if the same situation happened with the yellow jersey.

When the television helicopter approached overhead, I was able to map the approach of Tadej Pogačar. And I got ready like I had done for most of the day. I sped by, waved it, and fired several shots. When I looked at my camera screen, I was relieved to find that most of the images were clean.

There was one with the church tower in the background that I liked, but in the end it was this close-up that I found the best. I managed to capture it here in a slight opening in the tendrils. And the tendrils behind him have a hint of yellow that literally merged Pogacar’s jersey with them.

There were shots of other drivers that I really liked too, and my shots of Kasper Asgreen and Wout van Aert were both satisfactory. But at the end of the day, the yellow jersey trumps everyone.

Wout van Aert during the time trial of the 20th stage of the Tour de France 2021. Photo: James Launches
Kasper Asgreen during the time trial of stage 20 of the Tour de France 2021.
Kasper Asgreen during the time trial of stage 20 of the Tour de France 2021.

Call it a study of yellow and green.



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