Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France Stage 17: Clos St Jospeh Villars-sur-Var 2011 White & Froome
32km Embrun to Chorges

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view

No miracle comebacks: "The riders will have the blue waters of Lake Serre-Ponçon as a backdrop. It is a picture postcard setting. But don't imagine this is going to be a bucolic day? Indeed, this stage could turn out to be one of the turning points of the Tour. It has been conceived with the idea of spicing up the duel between the rouleurs who can climb well such as Froome and Contador, although on paper the likes of Wiggins and Quintana should not be excluded from consideration. I think that Belgian King of the Mountains Lucien Van Impe would have loved this course? One thing is sure: those riders who don't perform well on this stage will have some real problems on the next one to Alpe-d'Huez. There won't be any miracle comebacks."

Short with climbing is the simple description of today's route. On a flat course, Tony Martin would be the clear favorite for almost any time trial. However, with his TT performance last week and his climbing ability, Chris Froome is the clear favorite for this stage. Though, weather may be a spoiler:
Heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast for the later starters in tomorrow's TT at Tour and the course has 2 long, nasty descents.
Drove TT course; climbs are steeper than road book suggests; first descent is crazy technical, lumpy road, off-camber cornering

As you may remember, in time trials, racers start based on the reverse of their gc standings. So the favorites group may be riding in bad weather. My Podium Cafe Stage Predictor picks: Froome, Chavanel, Porte and Kwiatkowski. 

On the road: A few pre-video early finishers with very good times. The top 5 are: Westra in 54:02, De Gendt, De Marchi, Tony Martin and Moser. Taaramae finishes and he is now in second place, 12 seconds behind Westra. Some riders are changing their bikes mid-way through the course, to compensate for the ups and downs on the course. News that Peraud, 9th on GC crashed during his course reconnaissance and will ride today with an injured collarbone in an effort to stay in the race. 
Weather update: okay so far. Plus, a new leader: Izaguirre with a time of 53:58. Tejay Van Garderen on course looking very good. He has had a very disappointing race so far and it would be great to see a good result here. While he rides, I learn a new French phrase: orage menace = storm threatens.
Tejay does it! First and the rain has started. Roads will be slippery when wet. Here's hoping that everyone makes it through the course upright.
EuroHoody 6:21am via TweetDeck
Van Garderen in with fastest time; and likely winner - heavy rain now at the line - no way will late-starters take risks on these descent
Massive clap of thunder over finish line. Raining hard up on the climb
Bonnie_D_Ford 6:42am via Twitter for iPad
Have driven roads of today's #tdf ITT & they're sketchy enough in a car, even dry. Also hard not crashing craning neck at view of that lake.

Indeed, lots of images of riders riding through very wet roads. Chavanel may not take the win today, but I must admit that I have grown to really like his orange bike. That bike, by the way, was painted to match his Camaro.
More bad news for the riders:
inrng 6:46am via Web

Rain and hailstones out on the TT course now

Peraud is now out on course. The best-placed Frenchman in the race, he crashed this morning during his course reconnaissance and was rumored to be out of the race. But, instead, he starts with what is reported to be a clavicle injury.
Apparently the course is drying out a bit now, so perhaps the late starters can get good times after all.

Valverde on course and he has the the best time at the first time check. Word from Twitter is that Contador is warming up to music from Rocky. I'm hoping it is Eye of the Tiger.

Having abandoned their usual viewing spot of on top of the race, the cats are not very impressed with today's stage. 

Checkpoint two and Valverde is almost a minute ahead of Tejay's time! 
At the line, Andy Schleck in 3rd. That is truly shocking. Montfort comes in fats to take second. Everyone is out on the course now and the times are fast as the roads really do appear to have dried in most spots. At the first time check, Contador has the best time by 18 seconds. 
Ahead, Valverde is in with the new best time: 52:03. Wow!
Froome second at that first check, 2 seconds behind Contador.
Talansky in at second. Nice day today for the young Americans. Cadel Evans, by the way, finished even behind Cavendish. Not a good day for him.
Kwiatkowski in at second now. 

Those done early in the day are watching: 
Like to watch the race I am taking part in. Recovery and watching riders this fair???
51:43 for Joaquim "Purito" Rodriguez with the new best time. Sad news that Peraud crashed again on course and did not finish. 
Contador in at first by one second: 51:42. Rain again with Froome still on course. Mollema hits the barriers on a corner, but does not fall. Still, he is losing time to his gc rivals. 
Only Froome left on course. 51:33! Best time of the day.

Tomorrow they climb.

Stage: Chris Froome
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:09  
3 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:00:10  
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:23  
5 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:30  
6 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:01:11  
7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:32  
8 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:34  
9 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:01:41  
10 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:51  

Yellow: Chris Froome
2    Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    66:11:43
3    Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    66:12:00
4    Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    66:13:32
5    Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team    66:14:07
6    Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha    66:14:30
7    Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    66:15:32
8    Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    66:16:05
9    Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step    66:18:19
10    Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp    66:19:59

Wine:  Clos St Jospeh Villars-sur-Var 2011 White 

From Franklywines $35.99 

From the importer, Blue Coast Wines: Although not contiguous with the rest of Cotes de Provence, Clos Saint Joseph is considered to be a part of that appellation. The Sassi family has been making wine here for four generations and the winemaking effort is led today by Roch Sassi. The vineyard consists of approximately 4 hectares of vines dedicated primarily to the production of red and white wine, with a tiny amount dedicated to rose. The farming is organic. The white wine of Clos Saint Joseph is extraordinary. A pale golden color. A citrus nose with notes of honey and tea, this wine is round and full with an excellent balance of fruit and acidity. Lots of minerality and a touch of oak. Very Chablis in style, in the very best sense.  Blend of Rolle, Semillon, Ugni-Blanc, and Clairette.

Online profile:

I say:  Wines like this are why I value Christy at FranklyWines recommendations. She looked at my maps and spreadsheet and suggested this, a wine that I had never heard of. To quote: "Closest wine region looks like the little outpost of Villars-sur-Var, near the town of Sisteron. I know a producer there that I've carried - they do a gorgeous white, sort of Simone-like but a little less expensive. I will bring in with the Bellet - even if you don't want it, I do!!!"

Pale golden with honey, peach and almond with chalk and acidity on the finish. Round and full, but not heavy. Good when first tasted, even better on day two. 

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