Thursday, July 20, 2017

Wine & Food of the Tour 2017 Stage 18

Where are we? Briançon / Izoard 

Briancon: The local tourist site tells me:
As the King’s engineer, Vauban aged 34, was responsible for supervising works to fortify the kingdom. Thus, three of the 160 forts that he had built or restored, are in the Hautes-Alpes. Château-Queyras, Mont-Dauphin and Briançon. The latter two were classed as World Heritage by UNESCO in 2008.
Due to the natural terrain in Briançon, Vauban was unable to follow any existing pattern.  He designed vertical, staggered urban defences and suggested creating a belt of forts to increase defence of the town.  
In Mont-Dauphin, the fortifications, which are remarkably conserved, were built from scatch directly on a plateau.
Visiting these major sites enables us to understand part of Vauban’s genius, which is particularly spectacular in such mountain sites. 
It is also an opportunity to visit the towns of Briançon and Mont-Dauphin, which are particularly attractive and lively.
Specialities: Sausage and cabbage tart, tourtons de Champsaur (fritter), genépi. Manufacture of Alpine horns and sundials

Izoard: Michelin tells me that: A legendary point in the Tour de France cycle race; at a height of 2 360m, the pass offers interesting contrasting scenery, with the verdant summits of the Briançonnais on one side opposing the famous Casse Déserte and lunar landscape of the Queyras on the other. Its orientation table explains the surrounding mounatinous landscape: Briançonnais, Thabor, Queyras. Specialities: Cheese including Queyras blue (six cheese dairies), larch flower syrup and liqueur, wood carving, Queyras wooden toys

The stage: Christian Prudhomme's comment
It'll be the final battle between the climbers at the heart of one of the most spectacular and surprising sports theaters there is to offer. A real inspiration for attackers with temperament. From Barcelonnette to the Col de Vars, spirits and legs will be on fire. The last ten kilomeres before the summit of the Izoard are at an average gradient of 9%. The “rendez-vous” of the Casse Déserte will add solemnity to the hardness of percents.

Live:  Up and away, or something like that. The last mountains of this year's Tour. Be sure to go and read all of the details of the climbs from Will at Podium Cafe.

I've been enjoying LeTourdata:

Getting a gap upfront, Calmejane, Chavanel, Clarke, Pauwels, Cummings, Tulik and Vachon. With ninety five kilometers to go, they had seven minutes to the yellow jersey group as Sky saw no threat from them. Soon after they would merge with the first chase group.

So pretty today, also quiet for the moment so we can enjoy the scenery.

Meanwhile, the gap continued to be fairly steady.

So quiet so far today. Maybe some excitement to come?

I'll mention again that is it pretty. Because thus far, this was a day to sleep in and not get up early to watch.

While we wait and wait for action behind, we had a solo attempt out front.

AG2R has been setting up Bardet for a long time. Will he try? Given that this is the last chance to make up some time before the time trial, one would heop so.
Finally some attacks from the favorites group, but it was not to be for Froome's rivals.


Wine: Uliz, Petitprez mondeuse
Purple and herbal, with more fruit showing with air. 
From the importer:To say that Antoine Petitprez is committed to natural handmade wine is putting it mildly. During his education he was responsible for a research program on the moons effects on wines and vines. 
The first vintage of Uliz was 2008, which produced 1,200 cases from small lots of old vine fruit, all of which were organically or biodynamically farmed.  

Food: Well, alcohol. 
This Savoyard  is made from the génépi aromatic plants from the genus Artemesia (commonly called Wormwood) that grow in the high mountains of the Alps.  Genepi is produced by steeping the aromatic wormwood flower heads in a strong clear alcohol such as vodka or a pure grain alcohol with the addition of sugar to create the liqueur.

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