Stage 7: Montpellier > Albi

This 205km stage is regarded as a “transitional” stage, this time moving across towards the Pyrenees in south-west France. There are four climbs in the stage with the intermediate sprint points coming after the second – and highest, classified at Cat 2 – climb. It’s hard to predict who will dominate in this stage. Will Cowvendish translate his *ahem* disappointment with yesterday’s finish into a stage win here? Or will a gutsy breakaway clear the peloton?

Also difficult to predict, as always, are the vaches. Yesterday we had a fabulous sighting of some cattle I’m prepared to call Camargue. Today starts with the peloton heading south-west before turning up into Tarn. Our ride earlier in the week took us through Pézanas and it’s in this area that we spotted the cattle in the stage 6 preview. Indeed, we were first alerted to the fact that we’d entered Camargue country by this:


Image: M Vache

Béziers, which is just to the south of this course, is apparently known for two things, wine and bullfighting. The breakfast room of the hotel we stayed in was decorated with posters celebrating each year of the bullfights at the feria. Not something to whet your appetite. Perhaps the Camargue isn’t, either; the steak I ordered in Argens was actually Gasconne. It was tasty and simply cooked over coals, so I’d recommend doing the same tonight. If you’ve got a bottle of Languedoc red, all the better.




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