Stage 9: Gérardmer > Mulhouse

Today’s 170km stage offers up six categorised climbs and the peloton will start ascending right from the word go, with the summit of the cat 2 Col de la Schlucht at  the 11.5km mark. The fifth climb, Le Markstein, is the first cat 1 climb of this year’s Tour and starts shortly after the stage’s sprint point (Linthal, at 105km). After the final climb (the cat 3 Grand Ballon) it looks to be pretty much downhill towards the finish, with a flattish final 20km which might give any stragglers over the climbs a chance to make up some ground. As always, I’ll be hoping for a good showing from the Cow that Won’t Quit, but perhaps Vosges local Arthur Vache-ot will have a pre-Bastille Day tilt at victory.

There are more opportunities to spot those pretty Vosges cows today and eat more Munster. We’re jumping the gun a bit with a Raclette chez Vaches as the Milawa Cheese Shop had been stripped of stinky cheeses by this afternoon. We were told that last week was ridiculously busy – naturally, I blame people who are cheese matching le Tour and who are more organised than I am.

M Gaté is serving up an Alsatian ham knuckle dish with no butter tonight. Sherliggett will no doubt be wishing they’d saved their Rin Tin Tin anecdotes to match. Who am I kidding? They’ll repeat themselves, surely…

Keep on with the excellent cow spotting, Team Vaches. Bonus points for Vosges, naturally, but even random cows upstaging ponies are alright by me.

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Image: will_cyclist

Just a note on future posts – holidays are over, so I’m going to have to fit around work. Round-ups will probably appear early evening; stage previews will follow an hour or two later. And I’ll try not to nod off during the race…

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