Saturday, July 11, 2015

Stage 7 Livarot / Fougères - Yawn Fest Breaks Cavendish Drought

Stage 7 and the Tour departed Normandy for beautiful Brittany on a flat 190.5 km route from Livarot to Fougères.

Back in the kitchen Gabs prepared a lovely stew – veal blanquette with vegetables. The recipe doubles up on the dairy with 10g of butter and half a cup of crème fraîche. The arteries just hardened and the buerremetric counter goes up to 110g. Nice one.

The riders headed off on another beautiful day in Normandy, sadly without Panzerwagen Tony Martin who’s resting up in hospital after doctors put his collarbone back together.

The stage was, well, a bit ho-hum to be honest. Sensing this Troll DJ pulled out the classic Movin’ Right along. The Les Vaches du Tour team officially declared this was the first time we’d heard the Muppets this Tour but in my opinion we’d been listening to them since the Grand Depart in Utrecht...

Speaking of Phil and Paul 'undulating' was the word of the day and may become the word of the Tour as we approach the end of the first week; undulating roads, undulating values in biological passports, undulating coke level tests.

Back to the race Phil kept seeing people flying the flag for ‘Britannia’ and we were not sure if he meant Brittany – today’s Tour destination – or if he really meant for all the British riders today.

Paul couldn’t help himself with a ‘fooding station’ lecture for the we-don’t-know-how-many-eth time. We know, riders zig-zag around looking for their musette bags and happy meals.

As the day wore on Phil and Paul caught a glimpse of the famous Le Mont Saint Michel monastery which led them to recall their trip when the Tour arrived there back in 2013. The Ps decided to pay the monks a visit but found they were locked out because the monks were on strike. At least that’s what they were told...

Moutons leave Le Mont Saint Michel due to a strike by the monks...or so they're told

Just what is it monks would go on strike for anyway? Certainly not for a pay rise, they’re supposed to live in poverty and humility. As for strike action do they boycott vespers, or break the vow of silence?

Back to the race the early breakkies, including Daniel Teklehaimanot in the polka dot jersey who hoovered up some more KOM points along the way, were eventually reeled in by the peloton.

As the pace started picking up on the approach to Fougères a large amount of smoke was seen billowing from the side of the road. It was someone burning chops. Andre Greipel, ‘The Griller’ as Paul calls him, stopped to give some barbecuing tips but got back on his bike when he realised there was a race to finish.

Perhaps Phil was right about the flag being flown for Britannia. In a sprint royale with cheese to the finish Mark Cavendish, this time with a perfectly timed lead out from pilot-fish Mark Renshaw, finally bagged a win ending a two year Tour stage win drought for the Manx Missile.

It’s been a long week with plenty of thrills and spills. Not surprisingly we saw a few early abandonments from some pretty tough die hard Tour fans during the stage, but I'm sure it's smart tactics to get ready for another weekend of cycling action.

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