Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stage 19 Bourg-d'Oisans / Le Grand-Bornand – Don’t rain on my parade

Another day in the mountains and today’s 204km parcours took the riders over five climbs including the ‘hors d’oeuvre category’ Col du Glandon and Col de la Madeleine.
Even in summer it can get chilly in the Alps and there’s nothing quite like a warming Tartiflette au Reblochon or potato and reblochon cheese gratin. Dairy is well represented in this dish with reblochon cheese, crème fraîche and 20g of butter. Pure hip gold but so yum! The Beurremetric counter goes up a notch to 634g.
Again the stage wound its way through breathtaking scenery and by three ‘natural parks’ in the region boasting a 150 varieties of bird and would you believe nine species of amphibian. Paul spotted a black kite and was thankful it wasn’t an alpine vulture. So are we.
Troll DJ pulled out some big guns with ‘HocusPocus’ by Focus and the one the vast army of Les Vaches du Tour devotees had been hanging for, ‘Cows with Guns’ by Dana Lyons.
Dark clouds were gathering on the Alps and it looked like the peloton was going to be hit by a thunderstorm. They say cycling is the new golf. Golf ball sized hail could smash a carbon fibre bike to smithereens, not to mention the lightning. Retiring to the 19th hole seemed like a great idea when the rain came pouring down.
Yeah, take that rain!

To give us an idea of the rain a shot from underneath the chopper cam gave a unique aerial perspective. Phil had us convinced there was a cameraman hanging off the bottom of the helicopter. No really, until he said it wasn’t true. Thanks for filling us in Phil.
The race split into a number of groups. Pierre Rolland (Ooooropcar) gallantly led one of the groups. He started sticking out his left leg giving it a good shake now and then. There were fears he was suffering cramp but the real reason was a piece of sellotape stuck to his foot.
There were hopes for a consecutive stage win for a Frenchman but it wasn’t to be. It was pissing down but it wasn’t raining on Rui Costa’s parade. Rolland was left to fight in the rear guard as Costa (Movistar) caught the Frenchman at 19km to go. Costa took the stage making it the second for this Tour and the third Tour stage win of his career.
Richie Froome (Sky) stays in yellow. Second and third remain unchanged with Contador (Taxo Sinkoff) and Quintana (Movistar) filling the spots in the General Classification. Short of crashing down a ravine or being snatched off his bike by an alpine vulture in stage 20, Froome should be leading the parade into Paris on Sunday.

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