Stage 6: Aix-en-Provence > Montpellier

If stage 5 was most probably one for the sprinters, and – as it happened – it was, then stage 6 is most definitely one for them. It’s a relatively flat 176km westerly route across the top of the Camargue which then heads towards a coastal finish in Montpellier. The profile looks a little lumpy towards the start, albeit mostly downwards, before the only categorised climb (a Cat 4) at Col de la Vayède. The summit is 179m at the 68km mark, after which the points contenders can take it easy, if such a thing is possible. Can Cowvendish make it two in a row? Will Sagan get a stage victory in his green jersey?

You may have recognised that the region that the peloton is skirting shares its name with a breed of cattle. We first met this feisty breed in 2011 and last year were lucky to get a fabulous sighting of a large group during stage 13. Will we see any today? The Tour de Canal du Midi des Vaches also skirted the marshes of the Camargue yesterday – albeit the western end, which is more in the region of tomorrow’s stage – and signs are good! This week of riding has been lovely but we were verging on vines-and-no-vache fatigue… until this morning.

Stage 6 2

Stage 6Image: M Vache

I have to admit to being as excited upon spotting them as I’ve ever felt on any grand safari in Africa. Phil Liggett might have been able to tell us more about the bird of prey hovering menacingly overhead (not pictured), but I was confident to call this a live Camargue sighting.

That’s all very well, I hear you say, but what am I to eat? Whatever you like, is my answer to that. As we’ve learned over the past couple of years, the folk in these parts are not as committed to the cow thing as we are. Ratatouille, on the other hand… well, knock yourselves out. Maybe grate some parmesan on the top and call it a day. Now I think about it, though, in this general region last year we discussed a farmer who’d been feeding his cattle wine. A couple of days ago, I spotted a t-shirt in the Languedoc that read: I’ll start drinking milk as soon as cows start drinking wine. I’m guessing that vigneron is now a committed milk-drinker.

In “world’s collide” news today, I learned that cycling writer, podcaster and all-round tweeter of note Neil Browne did some very important work for the Tour de France in 2010.

Yep, I checked. It was charolais and the Sherwen commentary that kicked this whole thing off… so chapeau, Neil Browne!

Oh, and did I mention that we will be in Montpellier? We seem to have this whole wifi thing sorted, so I am aiming to be at the finish, tweeting frantically as I am bombarded with swag from the caravan. If you don’t hear from me again, I’ve been trampled in a stampede for free saucisson.

 

2 thoughts on “Stage 6: Aix-en-Provence > Montpellier

  1. Pingback: Tour de France 2013 – Stage 06 | Visible Procrastinations

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