From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view
Testing terrain: "Never will a rest day have been as well deserved! After the Ventoux, the riders will be able to breathe a little easier for 24 hours in the Vaucluse. It is a short respite, as another series of difficulties await them. This stage, for example: it's only 168km, but this is testing terrain where the Tour has almost been lost in the past. You just have to look at the list of winners in Gap: Vinokourov, Fédrigo, Paulinho, Hushovd? I can also remember an attack made by Contador that messed up the strategy of the Schleck brothers? In short, this is a stage that will favour attacking riders. Some of them may get the opportunity to push themselves back into contention before the time trial..."
Is the race for yellow over? Froome looked very dominant after his win on Mont Ventoux. But behind, they are very closely bunched with less than 40 seconds from Bauke Mollema in second to Laurens Tens Dam in fourth with Alberto Cotador and Roman Kreuziger in between. Plus, the Alps are looming. I'm expecting a very exciting last week.
Short and lumpy after the rest day. My thoughts turn to the classics riders.The classics are the one day races that take place mainly in the spring and include some of my favorite races like Paris-Roubaix and The Tour of Flanders. These races often involve early wake-up times and online Eurosport streams, plus mud and cobbles and cold for the riders. If you have not read it yet, read this story on Taylor Phinney's ride during one of the pre-classics races. Really. Read it. It is one of the best things I have read on cycling or sports in general this year.
That said, Taylor is not here, as he rode the Giro again this year. I also wish Thor Hushovd or Tom Boonen were here at the Tour. But there are plenty of classics guys in the race and my Podium Cafe Stage Predictor picks of the day reflect that: Sagan, Gilbert, Valverde and Chavanel.
Pre-video, we have a very large break including of Sagan, Voigt, Hansen, Velits Navardauskas De Gendt and many more, joined later by Martin and Valverde. Most of that group was caught and with 144 kilometers remaining, Hansen and Kloeden attacked. This early in the stage, there is lots of fighting to get in the break that will stick.
After 38 km, we have 23 riders in the lead, with a 2:35 lead over the field. It looks like this is the break that will stick. They are: Hansen (LTB), Gilbert and Quinziato (BMC), Gallopin (RTL), Gautier and Voeckler (EUC), Kadri and Riblon (ALM), Roche (TST), Trofimov (KAT), Astarloza (EUS), Costa (MOV), Coppel and Navarro (COF), Mori (LAM), Velits (OPQ), Navardauskas (GRS), Albasini and Meyer (OGE), Dumoulin (ARG), De Gendt and Hoogerland (VCD) and Marino (SOJ).
opqscyclingteam 6:46am via TweetDeck
Attacks are also starting behind.
inrng 7:56am via Web
Stage: Rui Costa
|2||Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:42|
|3||Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr|
|4||Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits|
|5||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard|
|6||Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano||0:01:00|
|7||Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi||0:01:01|
|8||Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team||0:01:04|
|9||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge|
|10||Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp|
Yellow: Chris Froome
2 Mollema +4'14
3 Contador +4'25
4 Kreuziger +4'28
5 Quintana +5'47
6 Ten Dam +5'54
7 Rodriguez +7'11
8 Fuglsang +7'22
Wine: Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 1995
From the importer: Among the prominent people in the town of Courthezon during the sixteenth century was the Beaucastel family. In 1549, “Noble Pierre de Beaucastel” bought “a barn with its land holdings, containing 25 saumées at Coudoulet”. More than four centuries later, this remarkable domaine, known today at Château de Beaucastel, is producing what most people acknowledge to be the finest wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In 1903, a young chemical engineer and mathematics professor named Pierre Perrin, together with his father-in-law, began to restore the domaine following the ravages of phylloxera. His son, Jacques Perrin, took over the domaine in 1953 and introduced many innovations such as improved grape varietals, integrated pest control, and a flash-heat exchanger. Today, the third and fourth generations of Perrins, François and Jean-Pierre and Jean-Pierre’s sons Pierre, Marc and Thomas, continue in the tradition of their father and grandfather.
The vineyards of Beaucastel are treated as a garden: no chemical fertilizer, no chemical week killers or sprays are permitted. Organic fertilizer comes from compost and only a minimum of traditional sulphur-copper spray is used in the vineyards. The vineyard is planted in all the traditional grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape: Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Clairette, Picpoul, Picardin, Bourboulenc, and Roussanne.
From the producer:
Description : Château de Beaucastel has long been considered one of the great wines of France. It is unanimously renowned for its balance, elegance and ageing potential. Beaucastel has an extraordinary terroir at the Northern end of the appellation with heavy exposure to the Mistral. All 13 varieties of the appellation have been organically grown here since the sixties.
Situation : Châteauneuf du Pape, between Orange and Avignon, Château de Beaucastel red is a 70-hectare vineyard.
The vintage : An exceptional vintage. A very hot and dry summer, with good weather conditions until the end of the harvest
Terroir :Château de Beaucastel is 110 hectares, with one single plot at the north of the appellation. The terroir is archetypal of the best terroirs in Châteauneuf: rolled pebbles on the surface, sand, clay and limestone deeper down. The vines are old and have been organically grown for 50 years, which has allowed the roots to grow exceptionally deep.
Beaucastel grows all thirteen grape varieties authorised by the appellation.
Process :Each variety is harvested manually separately. Vinification is completed in truncated oak barrels for the reductive grapes (Mourvèdre and Syrah) and in traditional tiled cement tanks for the oxidative grapes (such as Grenache). After the malolactic fermentations, the Perrin family blends the different varieties and then the wine ages in oak Foudres for a year before being bottled.
Cépages :Cinsault : 5%, Counoise : 10%, Grenache noir : 30%, Mourvèdre : 30%, Syrah : 10%, Vaccarèse, Terret Noir, Muscardin, Clairette, Picpoul, Picardan, Bourboulenc, Roussanne : 15%
I say : Many years ago my then husband and I visited Beaucastel. We toured the vineyards and cellars and tasted wine. After the tour, we bought a case of the current release, the 1995 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I asked, "When should I drink this?" and was told, without any hesitation, "When you retire." So the case of wine has moved with me more than 5 times, hand carried each time. I've opened a few bottles over the years to check in and each time have thought that it was far too young. But why not try again for the Tour?
The verdict: Good friends to share with and a steak to pair. Smoother than I had expected. Herbal notes with balsamic cherry, olive and resolved tannins. Some nice acidity as well. Clearly this will go for a while longer, but it is in a very enjoyable spot right now. 13.5%.