Stage 1: Mont-Saint-Michel > Utah Beach

It’s back. Twenty-one stages of vache-spotting, DJ-trolling, butter overdosing… and cycling.

This year the race starts against the picturesque backdrop of Mont-Saint-Michel which has, in the past, featured painted sheep in the foreground. Are the moutons going to get off to a flying start this year? Not according to Brice Feillu:


Brice Feillu

I’ve learned over the years not to assume that this means guaranteed vache, however it is a promising sign, non? Especially since, according to the website of the Farm-Museum of Contentin,

Le Plain has long been associated with cattle-raising. Sainte-Mère-Église was well-known throughout the world for its cows, cream and butter long before the Normandy landings of June 1944!

The vache of the region are the lovely bespectacled Normande. M Gaté spent some time with them last year – I wonder if boeuf or beurre will feature in Taste le Tour tonight? The Drinks List recommends some stinky cheese to go with the stage’s cider, so a Livarot would be both regionally and stinkily appropriate.

As for the racing, the sprinters will be keen to start the Tour strongly and this relatively flat 188km stage will mean dreams of yellow jerseys amongst the fast guys. There are two category four climbs early on to get the kinks out, and the sprint points are at the 118 km mark. Hopefully Marcel Kittel hasn’t been too distracted by his lost luggage – if he’s on the podium with flat hair, we’ll know that he checks his hair products in.

Remember, team vaches, try to stay at the front of the peloton…



Stage 7: Livarot > Fougères

Stage seven gets the climbing points over early – the Cat 4 Côte de Canapville at 12.5km – and then undulates for another 178km towards a downhill finish at Fougères. Is this the last chance for the Etixx train to sort themselves out? The Griller will certainly be turning the heat up, as from here the fast guys will be turning their minds to calculating cut-off times.

If it undulates there’ll be ungulates… hopefully! Bienvenue to the home of the Normande!

Un jeune vache normande

Une jeune vache normande

Image: Eponimm

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