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Stage 3: Granville > Angers

Well, last night’s stage had us all on the edges of our barbecues, willing all-day breakaway Stuyven to the finish… until the catch was suddenly on and we realised that his seemingly winning gap was over the yellow jersey, not over the chasing sprinters who were only metres behind. In the end, Sagan took the stage victory and the yellow and green jerseys, Cavendish finished 1’43” down but will start the stage in green, and Stuyven will don the dots (probably not much consolation after such game racing yesterday). Contador’s shocking start to the Tour continued with another crash, but his disappointment will be eclipsed by that of Richie Porte who found himself alone and in need of a new wheel within the final 5km. He starts today 1’59” down.

So what’s in store for stage three? A 223.5km stage set for the sprinters, although all TrollDJ fans will be hoping for a finish with a lone breakaway being pursued by a pack, so we can get Don’t Look Back in Anger over a slow motion montage of the finish*.

As for potential vaches-related points of interest, the cattle we should look out for today (apart from excellent field-art representations) are the Maine-Anjou, particularly as we head into Mayenne. They are a beef breed, generally dark red with some white patches.

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Image: Jean-Baptiste Bodinier

A local cheese is Port-Salut, which is a semi-soft cows milk cheese, with a brined rind. It was originally produced by Trappist monks at the abbey of Notre Dame du Port du Salut in Entrammes, however you can have a crack at making some yourself, if you are so inclined. That would certainly take your tour snacks to the next level. If you are in a position to trouve some quenelles très bonnes at your local supermarché, you could try this local dish, which is laden with dairy products.

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* I wish I could remember who suggested this in Stage 1 – put your hand up for credit if it was you!

 

Stage 9: Vannes > Plumelec

Just a quick post today as I need to get in as much skiing time as I can! It’s the TTT, a stage guaranteed to make us mourn the missing Euskaltel-Euskadis. Today’s course is 28km long and finishes on the Côte de Cadoudal. If the race guide is anything to go by, expect the Ps to bust out some false flats. Repeatedly. It is a time trial, after all – the definition of repetitive. Of the 2014 world championship podium placers (for what that’s even worth), current world champs BMC are at full strength however things will be tougher for silver medallists OGE, with three riders out of the Tour. Third placegetters Etixx-Quick Step will be no doubt be wishing they had the legs of powerhouse Tony Martin in the team today.

We’re still in Brittany, so will be keeping eyes peeled for that lovely Pie Noir. The fact that this one was actually photographed in Morbihan gives me hope…

Bretonne pie noir photographiée dans le Morbihan

Bretonne pie noir photographiée dans le Morbihan

Image: Gaelleveto

I’ve had some tips from the lovely Songbirds on some Breton cheese that might be available more widely. Try looking for some Port Salut, a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese that Charlotte describes as “flavoursome but mellow”. If you haven’t reached your washed rind limit, Saint-Paulin might be a possibility. The tasting notes say “buttery, nutty”. Buttery nutty is one of my favourite flavours! Both cheeses were originally produced by Trappist monks. I wonder if they ever went on strike like those Benedictines?