What a scorcher to start the week! Day 1 saw a complete contrast to last year's opening four Special Stages at the Mavic Trans-Provence 2017.
If yesterday was a day for spinning out the legs or chilling out, today threw everyone in at the high end. Col des Orres saw wheels turning over the highest point of the week at a cool (but still actually pretty flippin' warm) 2613m. Gone was the snow of 2016, replaced by temperatures marching past the thirty degree mark in the glacier-carved Ubaye Valley.
Day 1 would end with cloud building over Les Thuile, threatening rain that never came. The 44 kilometres to Villars-Colmars would be done under clear skies once the cloud had been burned away at the top of Col d'Allos.
Despite hints of the South in the terrain, there is still a very Alpine feeling to proceedings. While the Verdon might be well known for its precipitous limestone gorges, there's plenty more on offer in the higher reaches of the valley.