Stage 7: Livarot -- Fougères, 190.5km
The calm before the storm...
About the Area
I'm going to take a bit of a pass on this one. More tomorrow, but I'll save that. It's just lovely countryside in Basse-Normandie, slipping over into Brittany for the finish. Lots of Chateaux on tap. Quite a lot of cheese too. But that's Amy's department. Speaking of...
AmyBC's food and drink pairings:
La Pere Jules Pear Cider: I really liked this one. My favorite cider of the race, by far. From the producer:
Our "Poiré", or Pear Cider, is produced from three varieties of pears that come from multi centennial orchards. It is known it’s the fresh and refined taste. As with the cider, our Poiré is lightly filtered and bottled to develop its fine natural gas. It is excellent to drink with any seafood.
Food: Our cheese tour continues with Livarot. From cheese.com:
"One of the oldest and greatest Normandy cheeses, Livarot is a monastic French cheese easily distinguished by its washed rind and pungent aroma. Originating in the commune of Livarot and protected by AOC since 1975, the cheese is also called "The Colonel" because of the five strips of raffia that encircle the cheese, similar to the one worn on a French army colonel's uniform."
Go ahead and try to find something interesting here.
No? How about the map?
Pretty straightforward day at the office here. The ride across Basse-Normandie will be a rolling affair with a steady stream of small, punchy hills, ideal for small escapes to occur. Weather report calls for clear skies and low wind speeds, so the peloton will find itself feeling very comfortable and in need of a day without drama. When escapes do happen, it'll be up to the sprinters' teams to do something about it, which basically means Lotto-Soudal and Giant-Alpecin, and chances are they'll draw enough support from lesser sprint-powers to bring it all together.
The Tour has designed the route into Fougères to produce a minimum of drama, with long, barely sweeping bends giving way to a straight sprint on a long boulevard. Hopefully by tomorrow we won't have much to discuss besides the next day. And the one after that.
Nothing at stake, though we expect the leadership to have changed hands by the start tomorrow, as race leader Tony Martin has broken his collarbone and Chris Froome is the likely recipient of the new jersey.
It's really all or nothing today for André Greipel. His lead in green is a mere three points, and this is one of only two remaining stages more or less assured to end in a sprint. [There are hints of a sprint on stages 13 and 15, but it's dicey.] In such a case, Greipel needs maximum points to even have a chance at keeping green in Paris. Peter Sagan is likely to keep chipping away at Greipel's chances, and can look to several stages where he will earn some points while the Gorilla will not. Only John Degenkolb is within 60 points of the remaining challengers, so we can call this a three-man race now.
King of the Mountains
Just a single point on the dock here. Daniel Teklehaimanot leads by three points to two over Joaquim Rodriguez, who won't be bothered with this one. Expect no changes.
Pick your sprinter. Want to play it safe? Greipel's your man. Want to get a bit creative? Sagan sure had some fast closing speed yesterday. Want to get extra creative? Cavendish will be emotional, and can't cock up things leading to the line any worse than he already has. Actually I'll go with Cav. As a tribute to his fallen captain.