Will the Tour be Won Today? #TDF2017 Stage 9 Moves from the Jura to the Alps

Saturday’s race saw a young French rider, Lilian Calmejane, win his first stage in the Tour de France. I was on the edge of my seat watching him climb those last few kilometers, fighting his legs as they cramped up and threatened to quit. When he crossed the finish line 30 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, it seemed as if all of France rejoiced! But that’s nothing compared to what race organizers have planned for Sunday. Check out the profile map:

Profile Map Stage 9 TDF2017
Glad I’m not riding this one! (Map: http://www.letour.com)

In all my years following the Tour, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stage with three HC climbs. In case you’re not familiar with cycling lingo, the hardest climbs are assigned a rating, with 4 being the “easiest,” 3 a bit harder; 2 harder still, and 1 among the most difficult. But then there is that last tier: Hors Catégorie (HC), or uncategorized, for ascents that are so tough they can’t be compared with the others. Continue reading “Will the Tour be Won Today? #TDF2017 Stage 9 Moves from the Jura to the Alps”

From Burgundy to the Jura: #TDF2017 Heads to the Mountains on Stage Eight

On Saturday we head east from the Côte d’Or, presenting an opportunity to visit some lesser-known wine regions and taste wines that are off the beaten path.  Today’s stage puts us squarely within the Vins du Bugey appellation, in the southern Jura Mountains, which received its AOC approval back in 2009.  While official status was conferred only seven years ago, this area has been making wine since medieval times, and was once classified as part of Burgundy.  It held a fairly important role in wine production at that time, especially impressive given its relatively small size (just over 1,200 acres.)  Still a small fish in the large pond of French wine-making, Bugey puts out only four million bottles per year, most of which is consumed locally.  But that is starting to change. Continue reading “From Burgundy to the Jura: #TDF2017 Heads to the Mountains on Stage Eight”

A Day for Spartacus: Tour de France by the Glass 2016, Stage Sixteen

Monday, July 18th:  Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne A Day for Spartacus Tour organizers always like to spread around the glory of cycling’s biggest race.  Over the years that has led to the Grand Départ (Stage One) taking place in Yorkshire, England, or in the Netherlands (Utrecht.)  And every year the peloton ventures over the border with Spain to play in the craggy peaks of the Pyrénées.  … Continue reading A Day for Spartacus: Tour de France by the Glass 2016, Stage Sixteen