Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wines of the Tour de France: Stage 14: Limoux to Foix

An appetiser: "We have reached the Pyrenees! But this is more of an appetiser than a mountain stage proper. Things will get going at kilometre 116 with the ascent to the Port de Lers, with 11.4 km at 7%. Then comes the Mur de Péguère, which is making its Tour debut and could deal some serious damage too: some sections are close to an 18% gradient, with 10.8% at the finish! Nevertheless, the distance to Foix will make great climbers hesitate. In my opinion, this is more of a stage for all-rounders such Voeckler and Chavanel. Or maybe a 50 man strong group with the freshest riders in it..."

Morning thought from the World Champon:

MarkCavendish 1:21am via Twitter for BlackBerry®

To all the cyclists who dream of one day riding #TourdeFrance, be warned. It hurts. A lot.

The remaining 163 riders will travel 191 kilometers today from Limoux to Foix. After some early back and forth and numerous attacks, the break of the day features :Philippe Gilbert, Cyril Gautier, Gorka Izaguirre, Peter Sagan, Sebastien Minard, Eduard Vorganov, Sandy Casar, Steven Kruiswijk, Luis Sanchez and Martin Velits. As none were seen as a threat to the GC, their lead went out quickly and they were 10 minutes ahead of the peloton at the 72km mark. With just about 75 km remaining, the 11 escapees have begun the second climb of the 14th stage with an advantage of 14'15" on the peloton. 

And so it continued, with not a lot of excitement coming from the peoloton so far. From twitter:

inrng 6:59am via web
Eisel & Cavendish lead bunch up the Port de Lers. If you were hoping for big attacks today... well nobody is softening up the race yet.

With a light rain starting to fall, it was time for rain jackets and long sleeve jerseys. I'm always impressed by how the riders change shirts, jackets and even shoes at times while riding.
Meanwhile at my house, Violet and Willow chose to watch the Tour from the exercise bike. Dull stage so far=cat pics:
Slow stage= cat pic?
 And, hey, Cavenidsh leading the peloton on the Port de Lers descent. Ahead, attacks came from the break. To no surprise it was Luis Leon Sanchez followed quickly by Phillippe Gilbert, Sandy Casar and Gorka Izaguirre. They clearly wanted to drop Peter Sagan before the end of the stage. But they failed, as he managed to get back on right near the summit of the climb. 
Sagan has bridged back to the front group on this climb - LL Sanchez not exactly delighted to see him range up alongside #TDF12

Behind, another attempted attack from Cadel Evans. You have to give him credit for trying, pretty much everyday. And, look, Basso! But, soon enough, it was Richie Porte working on the front of the peloton for Wiggins and Sky. Ahead, with 27 km to go, it was Sagan followed by Casar, followed by Izaguirre. From twitter:
Sagan leads. He's the beach bully who will kick Sandy Casar in the face of Izaguirre.

Behind in the bunch Wiggins gets on the race radio, presumably to order some Earl Grey and a scone before the descent.

And then it appears that dull was not going to be the word for the day. As Evans flatted and he ended up on the side of the road for a long time. Suddenly, flats everywhere.

Nice gesture by @TeamSky to wait up for Evans. Poor form by Rolland to attack. Memories are long in the peloton.

And Wiggins too punctured. I expect we will be hearing about these flats for a while now. Note, if it is not clear by now, this writing is done in real time. 

I am copywriting puncture-gate. by Willj

From twitter:
Still more punctures. Cofidis DS Stéphane Augé says the road has been covered with tacks and pins.
At the front, with 12km to go, there were five in the lead: Sagan, Izaguirre, Casar, Sanchez and Gilbert. Sanchez attacked and had a small gap. Would anyone work with Sagan to catch Sanchez? 

More on the punctures:
Tacks were thrown on the road, 28 of them found according to French radio.

Sanchez takes the stage! Behind, the peloton slowed and waited for BMC and Evans to catch up and all the favorites finished together. Again, there will be a lot more about the tacks after the stage. Tomorrow? Perhaps a sprint stage.

Stage: Luis Leon Sanchez
GC: unchanged
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 59:32:32  
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:02:05  
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:02:23  
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:03:19  
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:04:48  
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:06:15  
7 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:06:57  
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:07:30  
9 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:08:31  
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:08:51  


Wine: Gilles Louvet Bulles Blanquette de Limoux: from FranklyWines $19.99

From the  producer: Vignobles Gilles Louvet are an invitation to rediscover wine – wine as it originally used to be made, nourished by the winegrower’s passion for the land and the terroir. It is this little extra feeling, the hard labour amongst the vines and the ability to listen to the needs of nature that results in the unique character of our wines’, Gilles Louvet
Gilles Louvet first launched into the organic adventure in 1993, when he became aware of the harmful effects of chemicals on Man, nature and the terroir. He has remained loyal to his undertakings ever since, and offers organic wines produced in an environmentally-friendly manner.

We grow our vines and pick our grapes in accordance with the Organic Farming specifications (European regulation EEC 2092/91).

Compliance with these specifications is monitored by a certification body, Ecocert. Winegrowers are awarded organic certification after a 3-year period and are inspected each year. In France this gives them the right to print "vin issu de raisins de l'agriculture biologique" on their bottle labels.

Our work in harmony with the balance of nature has a real impact on the quality of our wines.

From Franklywines: Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Pyranees, Limoux is known for its strong winds- The dry, Atlantic gusts, and the warm breeze of the Mediterranean, which come together to create an environment that allows slow, even ripening of the grapes. Blanquette de Limoux is the first sparkling wine ever produced in France, long predating Champagne. The soil is rocky, with a combination of clay, sandstone, and limestone. Mauzac is the primary grape variety grown in Limoux, though this sparkler has some Chardonnay in it as well. Reminiscent of apple-peels and fresh cut grass, it is a great accompaniment to oysters or peachy desserts.

I say: Very pale, fresh with lots of flowers and hints of honey. Sadly, no oysters here tonight but it did pair nicely with a peach. 

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