The Tour de France is an event that has something for everyone. There are chateaux, vertigo inducing mountain passes, tifosi in strange costumes, delectable French dishes, wines, and – of course – cycling.

Paul Sherwen’s enthusiasm for cow-spotting during the 2010 race inspired Les Vaches du Tour, a stage-by-stage guide to the cattle of France, complete with some history, recipes and cheeses.

The 2017 race is the 7th edition of LVDT. Doesn’t time fly? Stay tuned for daily stage previews with tips on cows to look out for, cheeses to snack on and beef- and dairy-heavy recipes to try. Stage round-ups gather some of the best witty twitter commentary as a snapshot of the race that unfolded. Along the way, you can follow the tweets and instagrams. Happy cow spotting!

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Injera developed an interest in cows when she started work at Stock and Land,  many years ago. The paper might have been based in city-slicker North Melbourne,  but her first days of work were spent at Farmworld in Warragul’s Lardner Park, wearing a work-supplied “Sam the Ram”  t-shirt that was on the revealing side of a little too small. Many years and jobs have passed since then, but her admiration for cows abides. She finds it difficult to pick a favourite breed, but does love the Nguni cattle of South Africa. It’s not all about the aesthetics, of course;  her life would be incomplete without cheese and everything from sweetbreads to sticky ribs.

Injera’s interest in cycling is more hands-on. The only thing she dislikes about working close to home is that it’s not far enough to make a decent bike ride out of getting there. She has ridden in organized rides, such as the Great Victorian Bike Ride and Around the Bay in a Day, and enjoyed pottering down the Canal du Midi on a rented bike more than scouting the Chateaux of the Loire on a rather more cumbersome rental. Injera has taken her own bike overseas to ride from Kyoto to Kanazawa and from Osaka to Hiroshima. She can dismantle and reassemble her bike fairly efficiently now to meet the rather bizarre requirement that bikes be bagged on Japanese public transport and has learned that crashing doesn’t hurt as much as you’d think, but recovery can be painful. She loves watching the professionals ride.

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Essjaymoo comes from a long line of cattle grazers and has a soft spot for farm animals, cultivated by her days working with a large regional bank. Being able to value property in terms of heads of cattle or kilos of super fine merino wool became a passion that led to many career opportunities, and visits to beloved farm field days.

She took up an interest in road cycling in an attempt to woo a young man, but even when this failed, she remained glued to the SBS broadcasts of the Le Tour for the chess-like tactics, the chateaux, and the excuse to stay up really really late at night and watch telly in bed. She bonded with Injera late at night over cycling tweets and the abject beauty of the countryside – and the French cows.

Her favourite cows are Belted Galloways – which aren’t even French, but taste bloody good.

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