Sunday, July 8, 2018

Tour de France 2018 Stage 2: Mouilleron-Saint-Germain to La Roche-sur-Yon

Where are we?
Mouilleron-Saint-Germain: LeTour tells me that: A century after the end of World War I, the peloton of the Tour visits the land of “Father Victory”, Georges Clemenceau, born in Mouilleron-en-Pareds, the village that merged with the neighboring common of Saint-Germain-l’Aiguiller. Mouilleron was also the birthplace a prestigious military, Maréchal de Lattre de Tassigny, one of the chiefs of the French liberation army during the second World War.
LeTour specialities: mogettes (white beans), préfou (garlic bread). La Musse beer brewed in Bazoges-en-Pareds. La Barbinière wines (red and white) in Saint-Philbert-du–Pont-Charrault (10 km). 

La Roche-sur-Yon: The local tourist site tells me that:  In the middle ages, La Roche-sur-Yon was the capital of a principality. The town grew up around the castle and the Vieille Horloge (Old Clock) quarter. The Renaissance House, dating from 1566, witnessed changes in the town during the early years.
However, an edict issued by Napoleon on 25 May 1804 created a modern city and gave the old town a new aspect. It was laid out in pentagonal shape, like a Chinese Checkers board, with buildings in neoclassical style. This functional urban design was centred on several squares, the best-known of which honours the founder: Place Napoléon.
Something to visit: "Les Animaux de la Place" (mentioned in the Michelin guide). Napoleon took dozens of scholars with him and the story goes that they carefully conserved the mechanical menagerie which had been used to study the local fauna in Egypt. According to the legend, the animals brought back from the expedition to Egypt disappeared - and were rediscovered when the Place Napoléon was being renovated. Now they have taken up permanent abode there: a crocodile, an ibis, a hippopotamus, a dromedary and pink flamingoes are among many beasts which now inhabit the square.
LeTour specialties: mojettes (beans), Vendee buns, chocolate (La Napoline)


The stage: Chavanel in the break!  This is his 18th Tour start and several years ago, I was really excited that they had painted his bike to match c=his car.

With 140km to go the breakhas split after the Côte de Pouzauges with Chavanel solo 2:45 ahead of the peloton.


Meanwhile, in food news:


One of the big questions of the day: will Lawson Craddock be able to make it through the stage? After his crash yesterday, the medical report confirmed a possible hairline fracture to his shoulder blade and a heavy cut to his brow that required stitches. Almost everytime the peloton accelerates, he drops off, but so far, has been hanging on. His tweet from last night:


Chava is having some fun:


A surprising first abandonment of the Tour: Tsgabu Grmay, apparently suffering from stomach issues. Dramatic tumble for Rudy Molard, but he would be back up riding quickly.
Seventy kilometers to go and the gap was under three minutes, with the anticipated sprint looking likely.
Field art, I love you.


Spintermediate news: Sagan looks determined. Not long afterwards, a hard fall for Luis Leon Sanchez. He would try to remount, but instead would climb into the medical car. That is a big loss for the team, epsecially for the upcoming team time trial.
With about 35 kilometers to go, the gap to Chavanel is around two minutes.
Crash, Adam Yates, but he would get a new bike and head back out. Another crash, Dillier. He looked hurt, but would remount. Lots of small crashes today.
Twenty five kilometers to go and the gap was just over one minute. Mechanical for Demare. Would he miss the sprint again today?
Thirteen kilometers to go and Chavanel would be caught. 


One the run in, mechanical for Kittel. One sprinter down. Another crash, Durbridge. It was getting very fast and very nervous.
Big crash on the run in. Gaviria down, among many others. Inside three kilometers though, so times would not be an issue. At the line, from a very reduced group: Sagan.




General Classification after Stage 2
SVK  1  SAGAN, Peter (BORA - HANSGROHE)                  8:29:53
COL  2  GAVIRIA RENDON, Fernando (QUICK - STEP FLOORS)      +  6
ITA  3  COLBRELLI, Sonny (BAHRAIN - MERIDA)                 + 10
GER  4  KITTEL, Marcel (KATUSHA ALPECIN)                    + 12
FRA  5  CHAVANEL, Sylvain (DIRECT ENERGIE)                  + 13
BEL  6  GILBERT, Philippe (QUICK - STEP FLOORS)             + 14
GBR  7  THOMAS, Geraint (SKY)                               + 15
BEL  8  NAESEN, Oliver (AG2R LA MONDIALE)                
NOR  9  KRISTOFF, Alexander (UAE TEAM EMIRATES)             + 16
GER  10 DEGENKOLB, John (TREK - SEGAFREDO)               

The wine: Domaine de l'ecu Pinot Noir Ange
from Dig 
Sticking with the red from a white region theme, we have a Loire pinot. Mainly because Wayne at Dig told me it was pretty great a while back. 

From the importerMany feel that Domaine de l'Ecu (along with a very small group of other domaines, of course) is to thank for what Muscadet is today. 
there are a series of non-negotiable "house rules" that apply to all the wines at Domaine de L'Ecu: working the soils, harvesting by hand, fermenting with indigenous yeast, avoiding pumping or racking of the must (only gravity), and minimal use of sulfur. All in all, it is a philosophy of "no make-up"; just true wines without adulteration or artifice.
In recent years, the domaine has seen a change of hands since celebrated owner and natural viticulturist Guy Bossard had no heirs interested in taking over the property. The estate is now run by a passionate, wine-loving gentleman named Frederik (Fred) Niger. Fred is a very “hands-on” owner and is dedicated to maintaining the greatness of the estate. To that end, he has retained Bossard as an ongoing consultant to ensure a smooth transition. 
Like Bossard, Fred is a fanatic in the vineyards, crops extremely low, and makes Muscadets that have remarkable depth, precision and ageability. His passion and connection to the natural world guide his every move in the vineyard and cellar. He is present, observant and mindful, always with the goal of working in tandem with the forces of nature and never against them. In recent years, Fred has embarked on a compelling endeavor to craft a collection of Vin De France varietal wines fermented and aged in a combination of amphora and barrel, and sometimes amphora alone. He is particularly interested in the energy exchange between vessel and wine, and ultimately in how this energy is transmitted to those of us who have the pleasure of experiencing these vibrant, lively, pure expressions of soil and grape.

The food:  Beurre blanc is a classic sauce that many believe originated in the Pays de Loire. Why not try this recipe from the Art of Eating cookbook? Also, subscribe.
Pike, Pike-Perch, or Salmon with Beurre Blanc
By Edward Behr  
Beurre blanc, the famous Loire Valley sauce typically served with poached fish, especially brochet (pike), sandre (pike-perch), and salmon, is made all along the middle and lower part of the river. The sauce, which soon became widespread in home cooking, was invented in about 1890 by Clémence Lefeuvre at her then-modest restaurant outside the city of Nantes, on the bank of the river in the hamlet of La Chebuette. Beurre blanc, which made her reputation, is one of the region’s many dishes suited to a glass of dry Chenin Blanc or, the Nantais would say, a Muscadet from a rich vintage. Despite all the butter, the taste of the sauce should be delicate, not heavy. The tactic of first cooking the shallots to a purée, for a richer base, was that of the chef Charles Barrier of Tours.
1 pike or European pike-perch, cleaned, or a salmon filet, weighing about 2 pounds (1 kilo)
2 shallots (about 50 gr)
½ cup (100 ml) white-wine or cider vinegar
1 cup (200 ml) white wine
¾ cup (175 gr) unsalted butter, in small cubes
salt and white pepper

Chop the shallots extremely fine, almost to a paste, and cook them slowly in the vinegar and white wine to the consistency of thin applesauce, 15 or more minutes. Take them from the heat. Poach or grill the fish, just until the thickest part, investigated with the point of a knife, is no longer translucent, about 10 minutes if the fish is an inch (2.5 cm) thick. Take care not to overcook it, or it will taste dry.
Meanwhile, over very low heat, or on and off the heat — don’t let the butter melt into oil — little by little whisk the pieces of butter into the shallots to form a light cream. Season with salt and white pepper. Temperature is key: serve the sauce, without too much waiting, from a slightly warm vessel together with the fish. Serves 4. 

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