Today’s stage offers 237.5 undulating kilometres that should see the sprinters vying for honours again. Let’s hope they are not still conserving energy for the hills – another stage like yesterday’s would be tough, especially as this is the longest stage of the Tour.
Cav starts today in green, and not the cast-off Sagan green he wore yesterday thanks to his stage victory. Sagan is still in yellow, and Stuyven will no doubt have the Côte de la Maison Neuve in his sights to keep hold of the polka dots. I wonder if Fonseca will be fired up, having had the combativity prize snatched from him by the great gurning Voeckler?
On to today, and we are entering Limousin territory!
The Limousin is a beef breed and while I was trying to find some new interesting facts about the breed, I came across this article: The Proud History of Butchery in Limoges. It’s well worth a read – the medieval history of butchers in the region is rather Game of Thrones-y – but I thought this was particularly fascinating:
François hand-selects the cattle for slaughter, picking beef that are at least eight years old for the best flavor and, ideally, ones that have benefitted from time with a tata—French for “auntie”—from the Normande breed. In industry parlance, a tata is a nursing cow; Normandy may not be quite as famous for its beef as other regions, but it’s renowned for the quality of its butter and cream, and the last 15 days of a four-month-old calf’s nursing can be spent with a Normande tata for the ideal proportion of marbling and fat.
“If there’s a Normande tata… well, that’s the bee’s knees,” François says with an omnipresent grin.
A nice link from the cattle of the previous stages! Speaking of links, when I was scratching around for a reason to write about the carrot festival in stage 2, I came across this:
Image: French News Online
As a result of a drought in 2011, farmers were short of winter fodder for their Limousin cattle. Fortunately there were some surplus carrots kicking around in the southern Gironde and Landes, and some bright spark thought to try the cows on a carrot diet.
The carrots from the Gironde and Landes, where 55% of national production is concentrated are those rejected by supermarkets because they don’t conform to EU regulations and standards.
Read more: French News Online
On the menu? Gabriel Gaté is giving us (I’m not even kidding) beef shin stewed with …. carrots! You’ll want to get this going early as it’s a long braise. Then again, our finish town is also tomorrow’s start town, so if it’s not ready in time for supper you can warm it up tomorrow.
The Drinks List has chosen a dry chenin blanc from the Loire for this stage. Matt Skinner suggests a terrine with some mustard fruits, some smoked fish – salmon or trout – or chèvre.