Today’s 184km stage starts over an hour earlier than yesterday’s* as it will be a long day in the saddle for the riders. There are four climbs to tackle, starting with the HC Tourmelet, followed by the Cat 2 Hourquette d’Ancizan, the Cat 1 Col de Val Louron-Azet and then the Cat 1 Col de Peyresourde. What a night!
After yesterday’s exciting stage, won in style by Stephen Cummings, no jerseys changed hands. Greg van Avarmaet did the yellow jersey proud and even managed to increase his leading margin. Daryl Impey showed class, crossing the line second. The SkyBots are keeping their leader safe and fresh, and it will be interesting to watch as the next couple of stages unfold. The unexpected attack, though, came from the 1km to go banner, which collapsed causing chaos in the peloton.
Tourmelet has been kind to vache-watchers in the past, and hopefully the crowds won’t frighten the cows away. I think I still have an unmarked Lourdais square on my vache-bingo card, unsurprising as they are rare. If we do catch sight of one, I’ll be as happy as Paul Sherwen spotting a lammergeier.
Here’s what to look out for:
Image: Roland Darré
According to Wikipedia, the photographer is:
a veterinarian, retired professor of animal production and genetics in the Veterinary school of Toulouse (ENVT). Actually, mayor of Bourréac (cf a french article in Wikipedia), a little village near Lourdes, Hautes Pyrenees, France.
He certainly takes an excellent cow portrait. As mentioned previously, this is a rare breed, demonstrated by the fact that this site comes up within the first page of Google search results.
A speciality dish of the region is axoa, a dish with veal and chillies. Apparently there are “as many versions of Axoa as there are grandmothers to make them”, but this one – from the blog French Letters – looks the most flavoursome. If you have any madiran left from the previous stage, I think it should go quite well with this.
*I believe coverage starts half an hour earlier on SBS.