Day nine’s route from Gérardmer to Mulhouse is the second of three stages in the Vosges Mountains. The parcours was very hilly in 149km of this 170km stage promising a hard day in the saddle.
Situated in the Alsace region, the local cuisine leans heavily on German influences. It can get pretty cold in the Vosges, even in summer and Gabriel Gate had just the ticket with a giant cauldron of Ham Knuckle with Braised Green Cabbage. There’s no butter in this recipe so it can’t be French. The Beurremetric Counter sits on 500g. But as a German style dish it ticks all the boxes. It has pork (tick), potatoes (tick), cabbage (double tick).
However, this dish should come with a warning label. After all that cabbage it might be a good idea to avoid confined spaces for a while. And after years of having to share a tiny commentary van with Phil and Paul, Matt Keenan had the sense to install a high powered extractor fan. It’ll come in good use too when the Tour heads toward the south west, the home of cassoulet.
The day’s stage was uphill from the get-go and as expected there was an early breakaway with Thomas Voeckler’s (Oooooropcar) tongue out in front before being reeled in. Alessandro De Marchi (Cannonball) was on the march along with Mega Farmer-Quick Stop’s Tony Martin.
Now THAT'S a time trial bike
What a ride from Tony Martin - the cyclist, not the comedian that is. The man they call the Panzerwagen (armoured car) because he’s German and wears body armour under his kit and it’s a funny sounding nickname seemed to have forgotten he was in a road race and drawing on his superhero time trialling abilities soloed the final 59km to the finish.
The quest for the golden fleece took a turn with Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) galloping into yellow on the eve of Bastille Day. Vincenzo Nibali (Asstana) might appear to be OK with this on the surface but underneath you just know he wants his yellow jersey back.
In the post race wrap up Mike Tomalaris noted that the last time a German stood on the podium as Germany faced Argentina in the World Cup final the Germans won. Armed with Tomo’s insight punters rushed to the bookies sparking a heavy betting plunge on the Mannschaft. A few hours later Germany emerged victorious 1-0 over Argentina.
Pork and cabbage, a German wins the stage and Germany wins the World Cup. A good day for Germany, and people called Tony.