Sunday, May 11, 2014

Wines of the Giro Stage 3: Birthday Boy Kittel & Tyrconnell

Where are we: Heading South from Armagh to Dublin in a 187km cross border section that will leave Armagh and head south, crossing the border at Forkhill en route to Dublin, via Dundalk, Castlebellingham and Drogheda. Somewhere, probably my mother's basement, there are pictures of me in Drogheda, wearing a pink Esprit sweatshirt and the glasses that I thought were a good idea as a high school freshman. Yikes!

The route: 187 flat kilometers that are likely to end in a bunch sprint. But maybe a few crosswinds along the way to keep things interesting? Our favorite for the win, again, is Marcel Kittel.

The race: Happy birthday to Marcel Kittel and Adam Hansen! I've said it before, but Hansen is one of my favorite cyclists on Twitter. More on him here.
Neither of them are in our break of the day, instead: Yonder Godoy (Androni), Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin), Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol) and Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo). The break is not being given much of a chance today, with 100 kilometers to go, they had only a bit over three minutes. With ninety kilometers to go, the gap was already under two minutes. Great crowds again, despite the wet weather. 
Seventy five kilometers to go and the gap was out again to around four minutes. Also, more rain and very wet images of the finish in Dublin have been alternating with hints of blue sky. 

Drogheda! And a Bernie Eisel sighting. Giro thought: Sky's lack of a gc (general classification) contender means less Eisel at the front of the peloton. Caduta! (crash) Lots of bikes on the road, but everyone was soon back up and riding. 

Race update:

giroditalia 7:03am via web

55 km to go: @GiantShimano and @EquipeFDJ leading the bunch. 4'14'' for the break. #giro

I spent a summer at a school in Gormanston when I was in high school. Blink and you could miss it along today's route. Forty kilometers to go and the gap was just under three minutes. Ahead, there are repeated issues with the barriers in Dublin. Another crash on a roundabout and a few went down hard, though all got back on.

Thirty kilometers to go and the gap was about one and a half minutes. Here come the GC guys to the front to try to stay out of trouble. That trouble? Likely to be caused by the tight narrow roads, with lots of technical sections and speed bumps. Twenty kilometers to go and the gap was just under one minute.
Crosswinds and sure enough Cadel Evans and his BMC team to the front. Fourteen kilometers to go and the gap was down to ten seconds. Ever so slowly, they were caught with Cecchine briefly taking off in search of the day's combativity prize. Under seven kilometers to go and the bunch was all together. 
And, wow, from seemingly out of nowhere, it was the birthday boy, Kittel with the win. I thought for a moment or two there that Swift would take the stage. But, no, a very impressive win for Kittel.

Stage winner: Marcel Kittel
Pink: Michael Matthews

The wine: Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey: Named after a race horse. Seems like a perfect whiskey for a likely sprint stage. On the other hand, Guinness would have also been a fine choice.

From the producer: Tyrconnell Single Malt Irish Whiskey is an historic Irish whiskey brand from the 1900’s named after a horse that won a legendary race at odds of 100 to 1. Made from 100% malted barley in traditional copper pot stills Tyrconnell has a beautiful fresh, fruity bouquet with a smooth sweet taste and a delicate dry finish.

Colour: Golden Yellow
Nose: Full and fruity aroma with a citrus – spiciness taste
Taste: Well structured with honey notes hanging from the nose. A tang of oranges and lemons, a strong malt presence that balances well with the oily sweetness
Finish: A long finish with the malt becoming more dominant to the end without the soft fruits and honey, which helped make up the middle.
Alcohol content: 40%
Serving Suggestions: The Tyrconnell can be served neat in a tumbler, or with a little water to taste.  

I say: Neat in a tumbler indeed. Like the Bushmills, smooth and easy to drink. Honey and fruit dominate. My favorite of the three "Giro whiskeys."


  1. talking of whiskey. I just bought my solicitor a bottle of this (for his marvellous handling of an unnecessarily pestilent house buying exercise). I know it's scotch not irish, but he was really really keen on it. So it's on my list....

  2. I'll make a note of it. Thanks!

  3. I'm so happy that you are back for another year. For me, it's been Powers for all three stages. My Irish rels tell me it's the 'blue collar' whiskey of choice in the Emerald Isle.

    Your race descriptions are thrilling. Thank you for this effort.