This is the stage the remaining sprinters have been waiting for: a relatively flat 217km ride down to the Mediterranean. French riders in the peloton will be looking for a piece of Bastille Day glory – look for early breakaways! – and all will be hoping that the potentially strong winds will help rather than hinder today.
We are back in the home of the Camargue cattle, profiled by Essjaymoo in detail for Stage 15 last year. Unlike the Herens, which we saw fighting each other, these ones have another enemy in mind. This might add a little to the urgency with which the peloton attacks the route today.
Leaving the Camargue behind, how’s this for convenience food? Don’t you just wish that sometimes the chore of food preparation could be reduced? I mean, it’s so boring having to remember to pour a bottle of wine over your beef the day before you want to cook, right? Well, Gabby from Gridlock Coffee put us on to this story. A farmer in Lunel-Viel, which we are very close to today, took a leaf from the animal-husbandry books of Japanese cattlemen and decided to see whether feeding his cattle wine would improve the flavour of the beef. Seems it does! Restaurants in Paris are apparently clamouring for the stuff, which is – unsurprisingly, given the diet – much pricier than the garden (veg) variety beef.
I guess all those TV chefs who tell us not to cook with a wine we wouldn’t drink will have to amend their advice. Don’t cook with wine your cow wouldn’t drink.