Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wine & Food of the Tour de France 2016: Stage 12: Chaos, DeGendt, Ventoux Rose & Olives

Where are we? For Bastille Day, we are heading to Provence, riding 185 kilometers from  Montpellier to Mont Ventoux.

Mont Ventoux A nine time stage site. From Michelin: A UNESCO-listed "biosphere reserve", the so-called "Giant of Provence" (1 909m) dominates the Rhône part of the region. At its summit is an air force radar station and a TV tower. From the platform in the south there is a vast panorama, reaching from the Pelvoux mountains, beyond the Luberon, Mt Sainte Victoire, the Estaque mountains, Marseille and the Étang de Berre, the Alpilles and the Rhône Valley as far as the Cévennes - and even, on a clear day, Canigou. Also to be seen at night. 
LeTour Specialities: Ventoux pork, Sault lamb, olive oil, einkorn wheat, cherries, figs, olives, strawberries from Carpentras, muscat grapes, wine (Côtes du Rhône and Côtes du Ventoux)

From LeTour: Christian Prudhomme's comment
The Mont Chauve (bald mount) doesn't carry its name that well when the Tour comes to visit with its hundreds of thousands of spectators coming along. The French National Day will really be a moment of truth for the candidats to Yellow Jersey glory, whether they're French or not. To reach the Observatoire as a winner is the best possible preparation before the remaining part of the event.

The stage: Shortened due to wind. Really. Two spectators were apparently treated for hypothermia on Ventoux last night. Even AP has the story:

A big break group today including Chavanel, Coquard, Greipel and Vanmarcke. Their gap would get over 18 minutes, as winds created more gaps in the peloton behind. 

Fifty kilometers to go and the gap was just under 10 minutes. 34 kilometers and it was under eight minutes. Crash! Gerrans went down taking several Sky riders down with him and slowing the main bunch. Froome did not go down. The slow down did allow many of the dropped riders to make it back to the group. Ahead, footage of Aru changing his bike for the third time. 

Ahead, Griepel attacks his breakmates. I'm pretty delighted. Fun stage for an attack by a sprinter.

Sadly, he would be caught. Lots of riders would be dropped from that front group as behind, the yellow jersey bunch was also shrinking. Pauwels and Navarro were ahead together. It was still seven minutes back to Froome's group. Hey, Valverde! Time to put some pressure on Sky. Finally, Quintana. He would not get much of a gap, but it did shrink the group. Great work by the Sky domestiques.

Behind, most of the favorites were riding together, minus Dan Martin. Froome with Porte right on his wheel. Quintana dropped?
Ahead, Thomas DeGendt with the stage win, Pauwels second and Navarro third.
Froome, Porte and Mollema were gaining time on everyone else. And then, well, chaos. Something happened and Froome was off the bike and running! On replay it looked like Porte rode into a motorbike. No eary sense of what happened to Froome's bike. 

DeGendt with the clear stage win, everything else, tbd.

Eventually LeTour released a new, revised gc:


Wine: Domaine de Fenouillet Ventoux Rose
From the importer: The brothers Soard, Patrick and Vincent, own and operate this impeccable domaine the cellars of which are situated in the village of Beaumes de Venise, in the shadows of Mont Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. They trace their lineage as vignerons back to their great-grandfather, Casimir Soard, whose wines were winning medals as early as 1902.
This Rosé is vinified partially by direct press and partially by “saignée”, the juice is naturally clarified after a cold “débourbage” of 24 hours, the wine ferments at temperature that never exceeds 16 degrees Celsius and then it is aged on the fine lees for four to six months before bottling. It is a blend of 50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache and 10% Syrah, all of which is planted to soils of clay, limestone and silex. Production is limited: we import approximately 6000 bottles per annum for the US market.

Food: Provencal olives. 
Another Tour specialty. 
Provence Web tells me that: "The olive tree is considered to be sacred throughout Provence.
It has been immortalised by Cezanne and Van Gogh, praised and celebrated by Mistral and Giono and is one of the most typical elements of the Provençal landscape and culture.
Patience is required to cultivate this symbol of peace, wisdom and perseverance (it can withstand anything or almost anything, it can grow in arid soil, and is vulnerable only to extreme freezing conditions).
It is also one of the most powerful symbols of the South and of Provencal gastronomy."

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