Stage 6: Round-up

So – well, we were all feeling a bit complacent about that stage weren’t we? Pancake flat, last chance for the sprinters to stretch their legs before the hills, not even a cross-wind to contend with.

Even #trolldj was in a relaxed, crowd pleasing frame of mind and gave us a redux re-edit of Cows With Guns.

(clip coming)

A large but basically unremarkable crash within the woods gave us a bit to talk about, but then – at 25km to go, there was a  problem.  A Frank Schleck delaying problem. A crash brought down half the peloton and took a long time to clear up. Frank is 2’43” behind the leaders and will find it awfully hard to make that up.

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Stage 6: Épernay > Metz

This 207.5km stage is the last of the flats until stage 13, so you can be sure the sprinters will be all over it. The intermediate sprint point comes at 135.5km and the only climb of the day – a Cat 4 – follows less than 10km after it. The final three kilometres have proved treacherous during these sprint-friendly stages; hopefully tonight we’ll break the jinx and have a hard-fought sprint that doesn’t leave us wondering who might have been left on the road and how badly they are injured. The Lotto team will be fired up after Griepel’s second consecutive stage win, but I can’t be alone in wanting to see one last Sagan celebration before the mountains, can I?

We start today in Champagne-Ardenne and finish in the capital of Lorraine. Celebrate the end of the sleep-deprived working week with a glass or two of the region’s eponymous sparkling wine – it would be a pity to waste such a good opportunity, wouldn’t it?

There is no cattle breed specific to this area, however there are a number of cows milk cheeses from the region.  This must be where the Prim’holsteins – which make up about 60% of the dairy herd in France – come in.

Image: Parisbug

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Stage 6: Dinan > Lisieux

And so today we cross over from Brittany to Normandy, named for the Viking settlers of the 9th Century.  Home of delicious, complex, fragrant Normandy Farmhouse Cider and site of the D-day landings during World War II.

Normandy is dairy cow heaven. Norman cheeses include CamembertLivarotPont l’ÉvêqueBrillat-SavarinNeufchâtelPetit Suisse and Boursin; and their butter and cream is high quality.  The cows of Normandy  are beautiful beasts, and I’d say that even if they weren’t believed to be descended from Vikings.  Their milk is rich and high fat and they are the third most popular dairy cow in France. They also produce fine, marbled meat.

 

Vaches Normandes – source Wikipedia used under Wikipedia Commons

 

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