You may think we’ve already hit the wall with this year’s Tour, but we haven’t. The riders enter the Pyrenees in this 192km stage and will face The Wall today in the form of a brutal new Cat 1 climb, the Mur de Péguère, which starts at around the 143km mark. This 9.4km climb is described by the Cycling Weekly guide as a “killer”. The last 4km, with an average of 11% and sections kicking up to 18%, are “an absolute leg-breaker”. Prior to the wall is the Cat 2 Col du Portel at 30km and then the Cat 1 Port de Lers at 126.5km. The 38km into Foix which follows the summit of The Wall might soften the impact of the killer climb at the finish line. Cycling Weekly predicts that Wiggins could struggle with the ascent against Cowdell. Let’s hope that this is true and that the longer descent – chosen over the more direct 26km option for safety reasons – doesn’t allow him to get back into it!
You’d think with a name like Limoooo we should be in luck for cow sightings tonight. There is no breed that calls this exact area home, but the eastern Pyrenees on both the French and Spanish sides host the Massanaise/Alberes “feral” cattle. We met them in the Stage 14 preview last year and, despite not catching sight of any of that breed during the coverage, the stage brought us some excellent sightings and a little cattle knowledge from a certain Paul Sherwen. Not wanting to leave anything to chance, I tried trawling the route on Google Maps. The first three quarters offered some spectacular scenery but not much in the way of bovine delights. I was set to suggest that, despite all the omens suggesting otherwise, this would be an unofficial LVDT rest day. Then I spotted this lovely photo, taken near the last climb of the day:
My hopes for a stage filled with cowportunities are restored.
We are taking a (cows milk) cheese break chez vaches, tucking into a Sevre & Belle mini-chevre along with some home-made salami to go with today’s DiscoverVin Tour wine, the Chateau Bouissel Classic AOC Fronton Rouge. We will, however, be paying homage to the cow in the form of a succulent rib-eye which we hope will provide us with the stamina to get us over the Pyrenees and on the road to Paris.
In Fantasy League news, Moooooving Right Along was sad to lose Tom Veelers and continues to weigh down the bottom of the table, despite some rather creative cowifying enabling the transfer in of Fränk Schleck. We are now pinning our hopes for a comeback on Haimar Moobeldia as we enter the Pyrenees. Make Some Noise is at the top of the table with a 50 point lead over Ozone. The Inglorious Buzzards continue their solid performance and will definitely be hoping for a podium finish, although Fat Ginny and the Roobaix Wreckers are closing in.
If you’ve been meaning to order your Team Vaches jersey, we’re on the final countdown – orders will close at midnight tonight, so don’t miss out!