Another sprint, and another victory for Mark Cavendish yesterday, and he is now in green. But for the next few days, the sprinters will have to dake the back seat, in the grupetto. Now we are approaching the Pyrenees, and the riders will meet one of the classic Pyrenee mountain passes, Col d’Aspin.
Yesterday, I was asked if I am cycling these routes. No, I am not. For a 61 year old recreational cyclist. To ride all the stages of the grand tours would be impossible for me, and probably impossible for anyone if they should search for and sample wines along the ride. This is a virtual tour. I start this in october, when the routes for both Giro d’Italia and Tour de France are published. A practical issue here: Giro d’Italia publishes all the stages, with maps in october. Tour de France publishes only the start and finish towns, as well as a more general overview of the route. The maps for the stages are published in beginning of June, leaving little time to research tha details of the stages.
Then I start to collect information, try to find wines from the areas the stages will go through. But when I am the areas where the Tour de France riders will be cycling, I try to find interesting wines and beers, for upcomming stages. I spend quite a lot of time in France each year, mainly in Languedoc, where we have a flat. But we do travel around a bit. But back to today’s stage.
When we are approaching the mountains, it is always difficult to find interesting wines. The stage starts a bit west of Toulouse. But we covered the wines worth mentioning from this area yesterday, and we will not repeat that. When there are no interseting wines to be found, the plan B is to look for beer. Here we have to stick to plan B.
Honestly, it is difficult to find beers too. There is a rich tradition for brewing beer in Northern France and in North East. The trend of microbreweries is prominent in France too. But many of them do only have local distribution, menaning that they are hard to find when you are not there.
I have found two breweries One is Bière Quin te Vas in Saint pe de Bigorre, which is actually closer to tomorrow’s stage than today’s. But tomorrow we will find wine, so we take the beers today. When I read about their Ambrée at the website Paradis Biere, it does not seem very promising.
Another brewerie is Brasserie Artisanale des Pyrénées, located a little to the east of where the riders will start their climb up to Col d’Aspin. But I have not been able to find out much about this brewery, neither a website nor a review of their beers.
Today the riders will meet the first of the classic Pyrenee climbs: Col d’Aspin. I include a picture of a cyclist who is looking at the scenery, after having done the climb.
Here we are in the finishing area. The sign says that you need to have a license to fish in Lac de Payeolle, wchich is just to the left of the picture
Tour de France 2016
- Stage 1: Mont-Saint-Michel / Utah Beach Sainte-Marie-du-Mont
- Stage 2: Saint-Lô -- Cherbourg-en-Cotentin
- Stage 3: Granville -- Angers
- Stage 4: Saumur -- Limoges
- Stage 5: Limoges -- Le Lioran
- Stage 6: Arpajon-sur-Cère -- Montauban
- Stage 7: l’Isle-Jourdain — Lac de Payolle
- Stage 8: Pau — Bagnères-de-Luchon
- Stage 9: Vielha Val d’Aran — Andorre Arcalis
- Stage 10: Escaldes-Engordany — Revel
- Stage 11: Carcassonne — Montpellier
- Stage 12: Montpellier -- Mont Ventoux
- Stage 13: Bourg-Saint-Andéol — La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc
- Stage 14: Montélimar — Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux
- Stage 15: Bourg-en-Bresse — Culoz
- Stage 16: Moirans-en-Montagne — Berne
- Stage 17: Berne — Finhaut-Emosson
- Stage 18: Sallanches — Megève
- Stage 19: Albertville — Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc
- Stage 20: Megève — Morzine-Avoriaz
- Stage 21: Chantilly — Paris Champs-Élysées
Tour de France