The excitement in Team Vaches was undeniable: Mike Tomalaris was prepared to make an early call – this stage would be rich in terms of cow spotting. We were not disappointed, with a variety of cows spotted all the way along the route.
The agriculteurs capitalised on their most valuable resource – cows – when preparing their field art.
Paul Sherwen was happy to show that he was something of a cow-nnoisseur, managing to segue from talking about the Hundred Years’ War to the local Vosges cattle, apparently brought to France by Swedish infantrymen. These are not Vosges, which are another endangered breed and more commonly associated with Alsace, but maximum points for the cow chat.
Cow fever seemed to catch on, with Phil and Paul obsessing over the mooooooooves. Okay, so perhaps they were talking about Vino’s attack on the final climb, but we think that they have caught the Team Vaches bug.
The vaches perhaps had a word with this taureau:
Well, Chiara Passerini was willing to scratch the bull’s “attributes” and Cowbell finished the stage strongly, after BMC did a lot of work at the front of the chasing peloton during the stage. He crossed the line in third place, but takes the same time as the main group. They weren’t able to catch Movistar’s Rui Costa, who had ridden in the breakaway from early in the stage and was the only “breaky” to survive. The God of Thunder continues to defy expectations, hanging on to the yellow jersey by finishing with the group. Philippe Gilbert takes the green jersey back, Gesink stays in white, and the spots go to Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Highroad.
Thanks to all our twitter cow-respondents who kept us focussed during the night, tweeting details of cow colours and where they were spotted. Brilliant!