Where are we? Germany! Düsseldorf, to be specific.
LeTour tells me that the symbol of the city is the radschläger (cartwheel) - children have traditionally done cartwheels as a sign of happiness since Düsseldorf acquired its status as a city in in 1288. Also, that it is the German capital of fashion, which explains its nickname of “the little Paris”.
From LeTour: Specialities: Sauerbraten (beef marinated in vinegar with laurel leaves), speckpfannkuchen (bacon crepe), erbsensuppe (pea soup served with sausages and pork knuckles)
The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment: Of the 13 kilometres of the inaugural time-trial course, close to 10 will be set on the banks of the Rhine river or the bridges above it… and bends can be counted on the fingers of both hands! There will be no or almost no mystery: the “rouleurs” will have their word to say. In this speciality where a new generation is showing up, a multiple world-champion boosted by the support of his fans could well be the fastest man.
Live: And here we are, as the 2017 race starts with a long prologue/short time-trial. The favorite of the day, Tony Martin. Apparently, LeTour agrees as they had him film a video introducing the stage. I'm also pretty excited to see Taylor Phinney, and not just because he is on my fantasy team, riding in his first Tour de France.
The weather? Wet and as always changes in the conditions may be a theme throughout the day, as the riders will go out over several hours.
When you head out first, you generally finish first:
1er temps de référence pour Elie Gesbert / Elie Gesbert sets the 1st best time #TDF2017 pic.twitter.com/1MBmIeIz2M— Le Tour de France (@LeTour) July 1, 2017
His time would not last long, but a nice moment for a young rider.
Thirty riders in and Grivko had the best time of the day at 16:20. Sagan giving it a go, coming at at third. Right after him, Trentin with a new best time of 16:14. Next in the hot seat and not a surprise at all Kryienka at 16:11. He is a former world time trial champion after all. Kwiatkowski with a greta looking ride, but he would slow at the end, keeping his teammate in the lead.
Our new leader, Geraint Thomas at 16:04.
Sylvain Chavanel away--this is his seventeenth Tour.
Yikes, crash for Valverde and he stayed down. That looked quite bad. He would be taken away in an ambulance.
Tony Martin on the course. I literally have my fingers crossed for him, given the pressure he must be under. Nice ride for Taylor Phinney, coming in at 16:21. Martin in at third at 16:12. Sigh.
Still in that hot seat: Geraint Thomas:
And he would hang on. Becoming the first welshman even to wear yellow in the Tour. Other big takeways on the day: Froome in at sixth gaining valuable time and the abandonment of Alejandro Valderde.
Wine: 2007 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Schlossberg Riesling Spätlese
I admit it. This bottle is from almost 200 kilometers away. But, for the opening stage, I wanted a German wine that I loved and Düsseldorf is not a place known for wine production. And, well, I love this grape and producer. If you ever get a chance--visit!
From the importer: Johannes Selbach and his wife Barbara, with the increasing help of son Sebastian, manage their vineyards and winery with passion and respect for the estate’s long held traditions. 50% of their 21 hectares of vines are on their original rootstocks, in Zeltinger Himmelreich, Schlossberg, and Sonnenuhr; Wehlener Sonnenuhr; and, Graacher Himmelreich and Domprobst. These vineyards of weathered Devonian slate are on a steep, contiguous slope facing south-south west and represent some of the most prestigious sites in all of the Middle Mosel. The Selbach family’s heritage in the wine business dates to 1660: Selbach’s ancestors shipped wines down the Mosel in their own ships, the wine carried in oak barrels made by cooper Matthias Oster, the great-grandfather on the paternal side of the family. Thus, the winery developed as both a top estate producing some of the region’s best wine, and also as a négociant and brokerage firm, consolidating the production of smaller growers.
Food: Speckpfannkuchen Bacon pancakes? Sure. A recipe? Sure.