Stage 8: Belfort > Porrentruy

We are really in the mountains now. Given the length of the stages we’ve seen so far, you might look at this 157.5km stage and think “well, at least I’ll get some more sleep before the week starts”. Not so fast. There are seven climbs packed into today’s route. The first is a Cat 4 at 20km, and they get progressively steeper (a 3, three 2s and then a 1) as the day progresses. We’ll see some pretty unlikely “sprinters” collecting points today, with the intermediate sprint coming after the day’s fifth climb.

The finish today is in Switzerland, so we should expect a lot of auditory false alarms as fans ring their cowbells. Hopefully it will give our own Cowbell Evans a boost. If we do see any cows, they might be the local Braunvieh (Brown Swiss) or Simmental.

Please don’t draw any SherLiggetism conclusions from the posture of these cows.

Image: Wikimedia (Creative Commons)

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Tour de Suisse

When you think of Switzerland what springs to mind?  Chocolate,  fondue,  cow bells,  yodelling,  alpen horns,  Heidi…

Okay,  so forget Heidi –  she was,  after all,  a goat girl –  but Switzerland is all about the cows. Oh,  and the watches.  And heavily armed neutrality.   In fact,  the cows probably only wear bells to warn people they’re packing heat.

The Tour of Switzerland starts tonight and whilst some people use it to check the alpine form of riders slated for Le Tour there will be ample opportunities to spot ruminants. Watch out for the original “how now brown cow”:  the literally-named Brown Swiss. You might also spot some Simmental. Perhaps they might be herded by the Swiss cattle dog,  the Sennenhund.

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