Stage 10: Tarbes > La Pierre-Saint-Martin

Are we all feeling rested? The energy of the first week sputtered out towards the end but I am feeling excited about the racing to come. We start the second third of the race in the Haute-Pyrénées and finish 167km later at the top of our first HC climb for the Tour at La Pierre-Saint-Martin in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques. It’s not just the first HC climb this Tour; it’s the first time this climb has been in the race. Before the riders get there, they will warm up on three Cat 4 climbs. It’s Bastille Day, so expect crazy attacks by the French riders.

If we’re in the Pyrénées, we’ll be looking for the Gascon cow.


Image: Groupe Gascon

Look out for medium-sized, grey cows. They produce red calves, which turn grey at around four months. The bulls are grey, with black bellies. This breed also produces fans who are happy to wear fancy purple and grey gowns in support of their bovine friends.

The Brotherhood of Gascon Beef

The Brotherhood of Gascon Beef

Image: Groupe Gascon

The Brotherhood of Gascon Beef was created in 1991 to promote the breed. They

swear to defend and promote in all places and in all circumstances the Gascon Beef, pure breed, pure taste, and red label to remain in friendship with all members of the brotherhood.

One of the select few charged with defending and promoting Gascon beef is Miguel Indurain, so I think this cow has earned the attention of Team Vaches.

The Tour website lists Aramits cheeses for this stage. The fromagerie website is in French, but it lists two vache cheeses, although it seems that the brebis is more well-known. The tasting notes for the cows milk cheeses are rather vague – the same for both cheeses. Guess what? The cheese has a buttery, milky flavour. Aramits has an annual sheep festival, which is beautifully documented here. Feel free to support the moutons tonight with some Ossau Iraty, perhaps.

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