Where are we? The Pyrenees, riding 162 kilometers from L'Isle-Jourdain to Lac de Payolle.
L'Isle-Jourdain: Gascony! The regional tourism website tells me that we are in the Country of d’Artagnan and the musketeers. It offers rolling and luminous landscapes, flavours and tones of character, a philosophy of the time, a culture of delight to all the senses, leisure activities propitious for recharging one’s batteries and tourism to be discovered all year round from fortified towns to fortified towns.
As for the town itself, yet another regional website tells me that The “Jourdains”, first lords of the region, are famous for their involvement during the first crusade. One of them, Bertrand, was canonized and the village of Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges (Haute-Garonne) is named after him. A statue of the saint was erected at the town’s exit. Discover the bridge “Tourné” (13th century) and the bell-tower (14th century) as remains of the historical past.
Its economy was based on rural activities and the town hall which is sometimes described as the “Petit Capitole”, in reference to Toulouse’s town hall.
Factories such as furnitures making or shoemaking flourished in the 20th century…
Today, L’Isle-Jourdain is an important pole of economic development with several industrial areas. With its fast growing population it becomes a major city within the suburban areas of Toulouse. Thanks to its dynamism, L’Isle-Jourdain is today the second city of the Gers in terms of population.
LeTour Specialities: Cuisine based around duck (foie gras, confit, magret...), Gascon pastis (a flaky pie with an Armagnac base)
Lac de Payolle is an artificial lake situated at the bottom of the Col d'Aspin in the common of Campan in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Midi-Pyrénées.
LeTour Specialities: Campan lamb (from red label Tarasconnaise breed), garbure (meat and cabbage stew), ceps, Trebens onions, spit/tree cake, Asté tart (vanilla sponge cake), artisan liqueur and blueberry jam production
From LeTour: Christian Prudhomme's comment
As the Tour enters the Pyrenees, the pace should increase and the race enter a new dimension. The climb to the Col d'Aspin will be the only theater of battle on the day… in terms of climbing! But the descent, as splendid as it is technical, heading to the Lac de Payolle will also be a decisive exercise.
The Col d'Aspin - the first Cat 1 climb of #TDF2016 - has featured 72x in the @letour route since 1910. #TDFdata pic.twitter.com/n0OnDapaTa— letourdata (@letourdata) July 8, 2016
It took some time for the break to be established today, with many riders attempting to get away. But the peloton was not happy with the early groups and chased them down. Eventually, a group of 29 would get away, including the yellow jersey.
Déjà plus que 100km à parcourir ! 2'30" pour l'échappée / The break has 2'30" with 100km to go #TDF2016 pic.twitter.com/eHWcLdKvZB— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 8, 2016
And away they would stay for a long time. With 55 kilometers to go, the gap was around five minutes. 50 kilometers to go and it was down to 4:20.
Meanwhile, Le Monde apparently has some advice on when to nap during the Tour. Action in the breakaway as the group started to fall apart. Riding ahead: Breschel, Duchesne and Navarro, but others would chase.
That's either feet stomping on grapes or a diagram of people doing it. pic.twitter.com/2wOH0SD1FS— nyvelocity (@nyvelocity) July 8, 2016
Cummings would surge ahead, followed by a group that would include both Nibali and Van Avermaet. Behind, in the peloton, Barguil would attack. Nibali would eventually drop GVA, but Navarro and Impey remained with him. 15 kilometers to go and Cummings had 25 seconds over the trio. That gap would grow to 50 seconds, as they continued to climb.
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 8, 2016
Further behind, Pinot was dropped form the main group. Ahead, Navarro and Impey would drop Nibali, with Cummings still one minute ahead. Lots of movement now behind with riders jumping from the peloton. Cummings would stay away. Dimension Data is having an excellent Tour.
Oh, and this:
Flamme rouge punctures pic.twitter.com/ymG9jni6BL— the Inner Ring (@inrng) July 8, 2016
— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 8, 2016
Pas de changements au général / No changes in the overall classification #TDF2016 pic.twitter.com/JxOcmRgon8— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 8, 2016
Wine: Laballe Le Chardonnay des Landes 2014
Again, from Franklywines
Wine Enthusiast tells me that: This is billed as the only Chardonnay planted in the coastal Landes region (not a difficult claim). It is soft, ripe and easygoing in character with a hint of citrus and acidity. Drink now.
From a producer known for their Armagnac.
Food: Vallee d'Aspe Ossau-Iraty
One of only two sheep's milk cheeses granted AOC status in France. Made in the French Pyrénées, this cheese is mild, creamy and slightly salty. The local tourist website tells me that the flagship product of the local cuisine is cheese.