From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view
A bit more rolling: "This is the third of the so-called "transition" stages, even though the route for this one is a bit more rolling: we are approaching the Pyrenees, the major objective at the end of the week. In theory, there is an opportunity here for the sprinters in a Tour that quite frankly doesn't do them a lot of favours? In fact, it is quite possible the battle for the green jersey might already have been decided. Imagine, for example, Sagan has taken two victories in Corsica, leaving him well ahead of Kittel, Cavendish, Goss, Greipel? How will his rivals catch up with him? Once again, this underlines the importance of the initial days of the race. Any time or points dropped there could be regretted to the very end!"
This is an interesting stage. Can the sprinters hold on? Will a break stay away? After missing out on yesterday's win, will Cav be so angry that he makes it to the finish?
A nice story from yesterday, from Cycling News: "It was actually Simon's idea," White instantly said when asked about the change in race lead.
"For him [Gerrans] it's two days or three days in the yellow jersey but for Daryl Impey it's going to change his life."
"It was Simon's idea," he repeated. "They're good mates and that's the sort of team we are. Simon just asked me if it was okay to give the jersey to Daryl tomorrow, and I said it was no problem at all," he added, surely aware of the added publicity a change in leadership will bring for the team and the race as a whole."
Meanwhile, away from the race, Frank Schleck has been dumped by Radio Shack. It will be interesting to see how this news affects his brother Andy here at the race.
My Podium Cafe Stage Predictor stage picks of the day: Cav, Sagan, Gilbert and Boasson-Hagen.
Off we go. First up, the news that Christian VandeVelde has abandoned the race after a another pre-video crash. Also out after his crash yesterday: Janez Brajkovic. The break of the morning: the ever popular Jens! Voigt and Blel Kadri. With 148km remaining from 205.5km, they had a five minute plus gap.
Cavendish has been dropped by the front of the peloton as Cannondale press the pace up front. He is in a 15-man group with three Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates. With 113 kilometers remaining, The Cannondale surge has also slashed Voigt and Kadri's lead to 2:30.
Wine: Laurent Cazottes Wild Cherry
From Frankly Wines
A write-up from K&L, where one can also buy the wines : Laurent Cazottes is considered the king of artisan distillation in France when it comes to eau de vie and liqueurs. Every part of the production process is focused on quality. His fruits are grown biodynamically, they're all hand-picked, they only use the finest parts of the fruit, and their products maintain more freshness and purity than perhaps any other producer in the business. For this reason they are not inexpensive. They are proudly displayed on the menus of the finest restaurants in France and have become almost mythical in their status. When our pal Nicolas Palazzi decided to be the American importer for Cazottes, he was in a bit of a pickle. On one hand he had the chance to represent one of his true heroes for artisan spirits. On the other hand, the Cazottes products are nearly triple the price of their American counterparts. Always up for a challenge, Nicolas decided to make it his duty to spread the word. We tasted with him. We instantly became believers along side him. The Wild Cherry is without a doubt the best cherry liqueur I have ever tasted. It transcends what we think cherry liqueur can be and makes any competitor look foolish for even trying. The tangy vibrancy of the fruit is front and center, with a sweetness that pops with each sip. Whether that's worth the price of admission will eventually be up to the consumer, but there's no arguing that these spirits are in a class to themselves.
I say: Wow does this smell lovely. Cherries and spice. Visiting friend call it "delicious." Smells like concentrated, dried cherries. Very smooth. I was expecting something more like grappa, but instead this is lighter, more like a true cherry dessert wine. I'd love to try their other products. More here.