Thursday, July 5, 2012

TdF Stage 5: More Cider

An awe-inspiring course

"I have already cited Jacques Anquetil, and now it is time to mention Jean Robic, since the stage will start at the foot of the Côte de Bonsecours, right where a stele commemorates his historic exploit. And what an exploit it was, with a 130 km breakaway to defeat Brambilla and take the yellow jersey in the last stage of the 1947 Tour de France! Having said that, today's stage to Saint-Quentin should play into the sprinters' hands. We expect the bunch to ride fast on an awe-inspiring course which is usually home to the Tour of Picardy. May I say that I am personally quite fond of this region?"

Well now, this is flat. If Mark Cavendish is feeling okay after yesterday's ugly crash, he has to be the clear pre-stage favorite. I was not the only one to pick Cav on the Podium Cafe Stage Predictor Game.  Of course, as we saw yesterday and many other times, one touch of wheels or miscalculation can change everything. So. . .off they go. And, hey look, a breakaway. And there is this:
inrng 5:10am via web
Storm warning issued by French weather agency for the last 30km of today's stage #tdf12

Followed by this:
Cavendish gets a good lead-out at the intermediate sprint to edge out Goss (OGE) and Renshaw (RAB) and take the 11 points #TDF12

And, then, at least the scenery was nice again because the racing was rather dull for many kilometers. At the end, for the second consecutive day the finale was marred by a large crash less than 3km from the finish. Andre Greipel  sprinted to victory for his second consecutive stage win. He took advantage of a flat and fast run in and swooped very late to deny Cavendish and the other sprinters.

Stage: Andre Greipel

Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 24:45:30  
2 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:07  
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
4 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10  
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:11  
6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13  
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17  
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18  
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Sharp    
10 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan

Cider:  Julien Fremont Cidre Brut
From the importer:
Julien Frémont works in a breathtakingly beautiful farm in the Pays d’Auge, Calvados. This is Camembert and Livarot country, and of course cider and Calvados, a place where cows and apple trees have defined the landscape for more time than can be remembered. It is green, lush, softly hilly, the soil rich clay with silex, and the climate humid and mild.
Frémont says that he would gladly do without his cows, about 80 when you count the youngsters born each year, and just deal with apple trees and apples, and the cider he makes from them. But he knows that cows and trees take care of each another, that his trees would not grow and age the way they do, or his apples taste the same, without the cows.

The farm has 45HA of grazing fields, 12HA of which are planted with apple trees. The cows mow the grass, prune the trees in summer and eat the fallen apples, until it’s time for the harvest from late September until November. The apples are picked by hand in large baskets, then put into 50KG bags. The trees are a mix of old local varieties of acidic, late ripening apples.

The apples are washed and sorted, then pressed in the press Frémont ancestors built in 1765. Some juice is immediately bottled for apple juice, and the must for cider is put in large vats where fermentation starts. It is essential for fermentation to go slowly, mainly thanks to natural early winter cold, and racking. When the alcohol reaches about 4.5%, the must is bottled so that the secondary fermentation, creating the fizz, can start. This bottling is called Brut par nature.

A selection of apples comes from a particular orchard of old trees. Those are kept in the well-ventilated attic for several months, and passerillage occurs, where the apples dry out and the sugar levels concentrate. When these are pressed and fermented, they make a special bottling called Greniers (attics).

I say: Bone dry with sweet and bitter apples, unfiltered and cloudy. Earthy. A nice contrast to yesterday's Bordelet.

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