Stage 12: Pau > Peyragudes

We have 214.5km of Pyrénéan climbing ahead of us! Will we see the French riders battle it out, or will they save their legs for tomorrow’s Bastille Day stage? ¿Por que no lo dos?

We are really in cassoulet country – think duck and goose confit, with beans and pork sausages, however there is a tradition of raising veal in these parts. The race guide tells me that the Lauragais veal is a specialty of the Haute-Garonne. The breeds used for producing this meat are the Limousin, Blonde d’Aquitaine, Montbéliarde and French Brown.

WP_20161130_09_08_59_ProImage: Le Veau Fermier du Lauragais

The veal farmers have helpfully collected some recipes for their produce. If you feel the Tour Snacks to date have been wreaking havoc on your cholesterol levels, we are in a region famed for its beans, so something beany might offset some of the excesses. I’m not exactly sure that this garbure is the answer, but it sounds mighty appealing.

Stage 2: Bastia > Ajaccio

It’s up, up and up (and dooooooooown, then up) on today’s 156km stage. Perhaps Kittel might fight to cross the sprint point at 33km first, but it’s unlikely he’ll be first across the line in Ajaccio after the four categorised climbs test the peloton. The summit of the Cat 3 Col de Bellagranajo comes at the 70km mark. There’s a descent before the Cat 3 climb to the Col de le Serra; the Cat 2 Col de Vizzavona climb starts with nary a pause. A long downhill follows, but there is a final Cat 3 climb of the Côte de Salario just over 10km before the finish and, whilst short, it has an average gradient of 8.9%.

We are still in Corsica and I very much doubt that they’ve developed an affinity for l’affinage de fromage de vache since yesterday. I’m sure the race organisers will have cleared cows from the road, but who knows? This was taken near the finish town of Ajaccio:

corsican-cows-strolling-c2a9tom-fiorina1

Image: Tom Fiorina

Remember the part where the cows were set free because of changes to farm subsidies? They were intended to prop up veal production, so here’s a Corsican veal dish to keep you warm tonight. Cook it to honour the white jersey.

Veal with olives (Veal à la Corse)