Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tour de France Stage 8

Aigurande > Super-Besse Sancy 190km

At last, hills! The first mountain stage of the Tour was also the first when a rider in the break held on until the finish. Rui Costa, who had joined eight others on the attack after only 8km of racing and hung to win by just 12 seconds ahead of Philippe Gilbert. Despite a notable attack from Alexandre Vinokourov (Vino Alttacks!) and a great ride from the young American  Tejay Van Garderen, the best performance of the day was by Thor Hushovd, who on a day that almost everyone assumed he would lose yellow, managed to stay with the favorites group and retain the jersey. As quoted in Cycling News: "Today I surprised myself again, although I did not have a good day," Hushovd confessed. "But I just hung on, hung on, hung on, and it's just incredible that I'm still here in yellow. Cadel was the only rider I was looking for today, but I couldn't follow his move with 1k to go. I just did my tempo and managed to close a little gap at the end with a little sprint to get into his group. Tomorrow is another hard day and I'll just have to see what happens. Of course I would love to have yellow tomorrow night as well, but it's going to be really hard to control the race tomorrow." 
Tomorrow, btw features eight categorized climbs as the race continues through the Massif Centrale: Issoire to Saint-Flour. with a 208 kilometer stage from

Stage: Rui Costa
Yellow: Thor Hushovd

Wine: Thanks to  @greg_borden at Cheese Plus I ended up with the somewhat regionally appropriate Cuvée Lairis from Jean-Luc Martha 

Made from 100% Mansois it is fermented in stainless steel for 10-12 days and sees no oak.  From the label: Matha is a man in his mid-forties, with a thick moustache, laughing eyes and, more often than not, a cigarette in hand. He once studied to be a priest and a clown, before giving up both professions and returning to the earth.
From the importer: Cuvée Lairis: Deep ruby. Intriguing aromas include cassis, white pepper, and paprika. Medium to full-body. Supple, suave texture. Like a hypothetical blend of Cabernet Franc from the Loire, Gamay from Beaujolais and Grenache from the Rhône. Highly fruity mouth with well-integrated tannin on the finish.

To me: Would have guessed Cab Franc had I not researched, especially on the nose.  Reminds me of my somewhat bizarre recent like for green bell peppers on pizza. Lots of pepper as well. But nice fruit in the mouth. Easy-drinking.

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