As I said, I'm not blogging every stage. But geography made this one impossible to skip. And by geography, I don't mean the designed for the sprinters, flat stage. Instead, I mean the proximity to Morocco and the chance to drink a Moroccan wine.
That said, I'm having trouble focusing on the coverage, as pictures from this morning's Napa earthquake are dominating local news. The extent of damage will take quite some time to determine, but the early pictures show significant property damage and there are reports of at least 87 injured, three in critical condition. It was the largest Bay Area quake in 25 years.
Today is a rare chance for the sprinters at this year's race, so one would expect a breakaway that is eventually chased down. Indeed, on the road, there was an early break consisting of Francisco Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural) Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) and Romain Hardy (Cofidis). Their gap got as high as almost five minutes early in the stage. With forty kilometers to go, it had dropped to around two minutes. Thirty five kilometers left to ride and it had dropped to 1:19. It appeared the catch would come earlier than expected, as there was the possibility of crosswinds and echelons ahead.
Seventeen kilometers to go and the group was all together. Sadly, no echelons. But to the front, the sprint trains were beginning to form as they neared the finish. A very technical finish awaited them. At the end, Bouhanni, with ease.
Stage: Nacer Bouhanni
Valverde leads the #Vuelta after stage 2. #lavuelta pic.twitter.com/qhcYOrA39M
— peloton magazine (@pelotonmagazine) August 24, 2014
The wine: Ouled Thaleb Syrah 2010
From Frankly Wines
From Nomadic Distribution:
Domaine Ouled Thaleb was established in 1923. Located in the Zenata coastal appellations between Casablanca and Rabat, Ouled Thaleb led the renewal of the Moroccan wine industry in the 1990’s. While most of their fruit is Estate grown, Ouled Thaleb partners with neighboring growers in order to produce classic style wines under the direction of winemaker, Stephane Marriot. Grapes are grown organically.
Fermented in concrete tanks aged in French oak for 12 months
I say: As I said above, how could I resist a Moroccan wine? Blackberries, spice, and some smoke. Fresh and as a friend said "supple." An excellent burrito pairing, but also very nice on night two. I'm a fan.