The first rest day is over, and so far there have been no reports of riders being sent home in disgrace which is A Good Thing. We did see the UCI president Pat McQuaid getting narky with journalists who dared raise the question of dopage as, in his view, doping is “a generation past, now”. Well, that settles it then.
The riders will have been enjoying the air in Saint-Nazaire, but it’s back to work today with a 197km stage that looks set to be a sprinters’ showdown. There are a couple of reasonable looking bumps early on coming out of Guer and going into Paimpont, but the only climbing points on offer are for the Cat 4 Côte de Dinan at 142km. Will we be tweeting about Sagan’s facial hair again, or will Cav’s blast at the Omooga Farmers have paid off?
To the cows, and I am pretty excited about this stage. One of my favourite stories from our first Tour was that of the Breton Pie Noir, a breed that was being revived after nearly dying out. Back then, it was difficult to find a lot of information about the cattle, so I was excited to see that the Association has put together an informative website (in French, but that’s what Google Translate is for) that has breed information, pictures, events and a map to help you trouver the beasts and their produits. I really recommend clicking on the images on the left hand side to see a slideshow of the cattle.
Image: Animaux de Terroir
To add to my enthusiasm over the stage being in Pie Noir country, M Vache and I spent the past three days in Brittany pootling about in a Oooropcar and – quite by accident – managed to traverse almost the entire course. And we saw vaches! Many vaches! And we ate many delicious vachey things!
We saw many more – charolais featured, as well as some pretty red and white cattle – so I’m prepared to predict a vachetastic stage.
What to eat? Well, Brittany seems to love its butter. There was butter galore – in a local caramel, in the local pastries, on steak, with seafood… but this was my absolute favourite thing: the Kouign Amann. I have no idea how to say it, but managed to get my hands on them easily enough. The fabulous David Lebovitz has a recipe here so you can try this at home. I’d highly recommend you do.