Saturday, July 6, 2013

Wines of the Tour de France Stage 8: Clos Centeilles C de Centeilles & Froome
194km Castres to Ax 3 Domaines

From LeTour: Jean François Pescheux's view The first key test:  "After eight days of racing, we reach the Pyrenees. The scene would be a familiar one if it wasn't for the start in Corsica and the consequences that is likely to have had. Where will the contenders be placed before taking on the very difficult Col de Pailhères, the first key test of this 100th Tour? No one can say for sure, even though it's a good bet there will already be some decent gaps between them going into this stage. My worry? That Wiggins, Froome and Porte finish one, two and three at the summit of Ax 3 Domaines, which wouldn't sit well with the glorious uncertainty of sport! But we will have to wait and see. In any case, the Spaniards will be ready. They are heading into their terrain..."

Up we go! Time for the first real climbing of the race. Today should start to give us some answers as to which riders are on form to win the Tour. I don't expect the Tour to be won today, but a pre-race favorite on a bad day could lose enough to be out of contention for the podium in Paris. 
 My Podium Cafe Stage Predictor picks of the day: Froome, Porte, Evans and Valverde. Clearly I am expecting the first shots in the GC battle.

Up before dawn again for this stage and the first thing I saw was a picture of Tony Martin's injuries. Yikes! Apparently it is also a very warm day:
cyclingfans 5:06am via web
Due to the heat, TDF motos reporting tar on road is melting in spots, as often happens in July.

No tv coverage of the early hours of the stage, so when they go live (on NBC rather than NBCSN today) 100 kilometers in, we have four riders: Johnny Hoogerland, Christophe Riblon, Jean-Marc Marino and Rudy Molard about 7:20 ahead of the peloton. None of the escapees are real podium threats, so they will most likely dangle for quite a while. Hoogerland, you may remember, was involved in an awful crash in 2011, involving a race car and a barbed wire fence. Also word of another abandonment: Matteo Bono. It has been rather flat so far, but there is a lot of climbing to come. 
mrconde 5:18am via Web
Live TV-images on now. GreenEdge and Sky setting the pace. Well, that is GreenEdge and Geraint Thomas setting the pace to be exact.. #G'dUp

Break of 4 w/5:50 on the peloton. They're clocking 43kph on a roadside speed trap heading into the intermediate sprint. 75.5km to go. #tdf

More nice scenery today as Cannondale revs up to help Sagan take the maximum remaining points at the intermediate sprint.
Greipel "wins" the intermediate sprint again. Sagan 2nd and Cavendish 3rd in the peloton. #tdf

#TDF: Today's big climbs include HC Col de Pailheres (15.3km, 8%) at km 166, and Ax 3 Domaines (7.8km, 8.2%) at km 194 of 195.

SkyOrla 5:54am via Web
Today's Hors Categorie climb is highest of the Tour. For those still learning about cycling, 'HC' means too steep to classify. Enough said.

opqscyclingteam 6:13am via TweetDeck #TDF: 19km until the first big climb. 47.9km to go, 2'02" gap. We hope you're watching video for beautiful views of the Pyrenees!

The gap is dropping very quickly  as Riblon attacks ahead. The grupetto growing:
#TDF: Cavendish, Kittel, Greipel, Sagan, Degenkolb, Dumoulin, just some big names listed in the grupetto.

joelindsey 6:27am via Web
TV will focus a lot on Riblon because A) he's leading, B) he's French and C) this isn't the final climb, but keep an eye on main pack 1/2

2/2 David Millar is currently setting tempo for Garmin, who's pledged some unconventional tactics. 4 protected riders=lots of cards to play.

 Gesink attacks from the peloton. Interesting. First move from one of the big names. Not surprisingly, Voeckler went next. Very impressive ride today by Daryl Impey in yellow to stay with the group thus far. 
Note about dropped riders: there's almost zero flat between today's climbs. You catch back on on the descent...or not at all.

Most, of course, will not catch back on. An attack by Quintana. Will Sky chase? Behind, Impey is losing contact. No panic from Sky, but Quintana is moving very quickly up to Riblon at the front of the race. I did not pick him today as there were concerns about his knee, but he does not look at all injured right now. He passes Riblon and leads alone.
Quintana is the Colombian of this new generation who has the legs, head, and heart to win the Tour someday; making impressive entree today

An attack by Rolland now, as predicted. He really wants back into his all polka-dot outfit.  Igor Anton goes next. Quintana reaches the top alone, with about a minute over the shrinking peloton. Rolland is next, 30 seconds back. Will some of the dropped riders make it back on the descent? Maybe. As I said on twitter, this stage is a joy to watch.
Less than 30 riders left in the lead group. Others will take risks to bridge back on the descent. Super Pete still pushing on #TDF

Super Pete is Peter Kennaugh. He and Porte are still at the front with Froome. The gap is now 47 seconds, with Rolland somewhere in between. 
From Podium Cafe, the group remaining:
Kwiat, Fugly, Mollema, Ten Dam, Gadret, Peraud and a teammate, Evans, Rogers, Kreuz, and Contador, J rod and Moreno, Nieve, Anton, Valverde, Costa, Andy, Zubes, Kennaugh, Porte, Froome Serpa – not many more

Back comes Pinot. Nice riding from him to make it back to the group.
inrng 7:26am via Web
10km to go for Quintana as the Froome-Contador group led by Sky is closing in.
inrng 7:28am via Web
The riders cross the Ariège river and the final climb starts. An early hairpin bend and steep gradients await. Big queue on Froome's wheel

Time for Porte. 21 second gap.
inrng 7:33am via Web
Andy Schleck and Cadel Evans dropped

 Dan Martin and Andrew Talansky dropped as well. 
#TDF: 5.6km to go. Porte setting such a high pace the lead group is down to 5 .. Porte, Froome, Valverde, Contador, Kreuziger.

Froome attacks! He is quickly up the road alone, as Porte keeps pace with Quintana. 
Chris Froome ALONE in front with 4.8 km to go. Porte has caught Quintana. Legendary work from Team Sky today. Levels above last year.. #tdf

Porte drops Quintana! 
Froome is pushing onwards with 3km to go. He has 31" on @richie_porte who has 20" on next man Valverde. Contador +1min down #tdf

Yellow: Chris Froome
Stage: Chris Froome 


1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 32:15:55  
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:51  
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:25  
4 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:44  
5 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:50  
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:01:51  
7 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff    
8 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:02:02  
9 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:02:31  
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:02:40  

Wine:  Clos Centeilles C de Centeilles 2010 from Franklywines $26.99

From the producer: In 1990, Patricia Boyer-Domergue took over the operation Clos Centeilles and in 2002, she became President of the Appellation "Minervois La Livinière."Le Clos Centeilles is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon (production in the South of France). The wines are, for the most part, AOC Minervois. The area of ​​Clos Centeilles is 12 hectares, which gives a high-quality production of 60,000 bottles per year. The varieties of red wines are very different: Carignan, Mourvèdre, Piquepoul Black, Black Riveirenc, Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache and Pinot Black Black Fin. The average age of the vines is 40 years to 100 years for Carignan. No chemical fertilizers or fungicides are applied on the vines, which gives a very natural and authentic wine vinified for keeping wines (over 10 years).

There is a lot more information available on the producer website:

From the importer: C de Centeilles Blanc (Cotes du Brian) a white wine with energy and elegance to spare, from antique vines incuding Araignan blanc, Riveirenc blanc & gris, and Carignan gris... that transcends it's components while opening a new conversation - as a counterpoint to the traditionally great white wine regions of France.

From FranklyWines: Wacky old white grapes grown with love and care = a wild white with body and flavor and texture.

I say:  Speaking of weird whites, this wine includes several grapes that I have not heard of before. The blend, as mentioned above includes: Araignan white, gray Riveirenc, white Riveirenc, plus a touch of Grenache Gris.

Quince and herbs, with a touch of both honey lemon. Concentrated, yet very fresh. Different and intriguing.

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