Friday, July 6, 2012

TdF Stage 6: Épernay to Metz

Something for everyone

"Yet another sprinters' stage. After all, Christian Prudhomme and I want to make sure there is something for everyone. But will the winner in Saint-Quentin be able to triumph in Metz too? One thing is for sure. This is another beautiful stage, with a start which celebrates the Coteaux Champenois, and a 207.5 km course devoid of tough climbs but full of nostalgia, since it comes near the Lac de Madine, where the Grand Prix des Nations used to be held. But once in Metz, all eyes will be set upon the famous "blue line" of the Vosges, where La Planche des Belles Filles awaits the peloton tomorrow..."

Another sprint stage indeed as they race 207.5 kilometers from Épernay to MetzÉpernay, of course, has me thinking about Champagne. Metz, according to LeTour has specialties of plum, quiche lorraine, potee lorraine (soup), piglet with jelly, Paris-Metz (cake), boulet de Metz (pastry). In other news, I'm hungry. Meanwhile, others are wondering if the Tour is boring this year.
Hopes that they may stay upright today are ended quickly by new of a pre-coverage crash. Andre Greipel, a double winner already, apparently has abrasions and a painful shoulder. Meanwhile, the daily doomed break formed and with 100km to go they had a lead of 5'30" down from  6'50" at around the 85km mark. In the break today, Dave Zabriskie, which means that his team manager suggests he hold out some hope:
Vaughters 6:16am via UberSocial for iPhone
While 90%of the time these breakaways get caught, @dzabriskie is smart when it comes to pacing and can surprise you in the final Kms.

And so it went for a little while. But then came another crash. And one big enough this time that when Mark Cavendish's girlfriend tweeted :
petatodd 8:19am via web
Would love to know if my boy is ok please...please.

You could image that many other cyclists families, friends and fans were feeling the same way . Peter Sagan won his third stage ahead of André Greipel and Matt Goss but it was the crash that people will be talking about after several abandons and significant delays. Early reports were that Ryder Hesjedal  finished some 13 minutes back. Also losing time were Robert Gesink, Alejandro Valverde, Frank Schleck  and Janez Brajkovic.

From twitter:
Oh sweet jesus that was scary. Approx 70km/h pile up, like a tidal wave of debris smashing towards us, could do nothing but brake and pray.

Stage: Peter Sagan

Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan 29:22:36  
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 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:13  
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:17  
7 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:18  
8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:19  
9 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan    
10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan


Wine:  Pierre Gimonnet 04 Fleuron, disgorged May 2010.

From the importer  If there’s a more interesting grower in this (or any) portfolio than Didier Gimonnet, I ain’t met him. Every visit I make here enriches me. His is a 25-hectare winery, therefore enough wine, which is good because it is VERY BEAUTIFUL WINE with great class and savor. And sensible prices! The wines are suave, creamy and refined, with a “soft” minerality dispersed through the fruit. Silky, stylish wines rather than vigorous, racy wines. These are very deliciously accommodating to the palate. I suspect some of it might be due to old vines, which impart a palpable creaminess. The majority of Gimonnet’s vineyards are more than 40 years old, the oldest parcel (in Cramant) is more than 80. The wines tolerate a very low dosage, 6-8 grams per liter for most Bruts. “For me, we must have concentration, but also balance, elegance and harmony,” says Didier.

Back in the 2010 catalog Terry said: "Pierre Gimonnet et Fils “Fleuron” Brut, 2004 +  Newly disgorged 1/10. If ‘04 has a case to make, it’s with wines like this. 39% Cramant,  41% Chouilly (more Grand Cru than usual for this wine) and 20% Cuis; this is how  Didier can mitigate some of the big-crop thinness of the vintage.  Hawthorne, sweet-  hay aromas; incipient nuttiness, with spices and apples; chalky brilliance aligned to
concentrated green-tea and spring onion

In the current catalog, he says about a different Gimonnet 04:
Pierre Gimonnet et Fils “Special Club” Brut 2004    ++ The best ‘04s get more and more amazing; the vintage will become a litmus test of how much one really loves Champagne-the-wine, because it isn’t “luxurious,” it is merely ravishing. All gauze and silk and cut and greenness and the unlikely length of the most brilliant “cool” vintage Blanc de Blancs. I’m not sure we have it to sell any more, but if you do, do yourself a favor and lay a few away just for yourself.

I say: This is a very sparkling Wines of the Tour de France for me, with many more to come. I'd find it hard to imagine that many, if any, of them will be more enjoyable than this one. Small bubbles. Creamy indeed.  Lots of bread and apple and some lemon on the finish.

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