Thank the cycling gods for rest days.
Monday was the only respite anybody had from the relentless pace of this insane Tour de France. How was yours? Like every Grand Tour rest day, I had grand plans, to spend it getting ahead with work, prepping for future stages, writing previews for the Tour de France Femmes, and just generally admin-ing the hell out of my chaotic life.
What I did instead was recover. It was clear who, of the peloton, had success in their attempts at recovery, and who did not, and with the heat turned up to 11 on stage 10, the effects of being almost-halfway through arguably one of the toughest Grand Tours in recent history started to tell.
Read on to discover lots of things about stage 10, look ahead to stage 11, and enjoy some of the more obscure, but hopefully most entertaining, content you'll come across during this year's Tour de France.
PRÉPAREZ VOS MUSETTES!
def: prepare your musettes!
Cuisine du Jour
Stage 11 - Clermont-Ferrand - Moulins (179.8km, Flat)
Onward! It's likely the peloton will thank the cycling gods for around 30km of flat riding to begin tomorrow's stage, and though there are a few 4th category bumps to contend with on stage 11, it's likely to be another day for the sprinters.
As we're still hovering around in central France, the local delicacies still centre around meat and cheese, but I was looking for a bit of variation, so for today's speciality I've chosen a soup that's local to the department of Alliers within which today's stage finishes.
Vichysoisse is a thick soup made with vegetables, including leeks, onions and potatoes, and finished with cream, and chicken stock. So it's pretty smooth on the whole - here begins our tenuous linkage.
The soup is traditionally best served cold - as is the revenge that the sprinters will hope to exact on Jasper Philipsen on the final sprint. The likes of Caleb Ewan, Biniam Girmay, and Phil Bauhaus, have all missed out narrowly to the Belgian, and with one relegation for MVDP, and two suggestions of deviation by Philipsen (neither upheld by the UCI), the rest of the fast men will hope to have their day in the limelight.
The main problem - the chives. Let me explain - soup Vichysoisse is usually garnished with chives - essentially, the green bit on top. Jasper Philipsen, in green, has come out on top on three out of three sprint opportunities. Can the rest out-power him, in Moulins?
Lena’s Amuse Bouche
Let me introduce you to the rather new region - Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - which hosted the Tour de France during the last few stages. Created in 2016 by fissioning the two Regions Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes, it is not only home to several famous cities like Lyon and Grenoble, but also the playground for many cycling races like the Tour de l’Ain or Faun-Ardèche.
France currently has 18 regions with 5 oversea territories. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is to the southwest of France and borders Switzerland and Italy.
The region can be divided into three geographic regions: the Massif Central, which we visited Sunday during the Puy de Dôme stage, the Alps, and the Rhône Valley which divides these two areas.
This specific part of the Alps - Alpes du Nord - is often visited by the Tour due to mountains like the Galibier and Col de Iseran. Friday we can admire the awe-inspiring majesty of these mountains again when the Tour will visit the Grand Colombier.
APRÈS L'EFFORT, LE RÉCONFORT
def: after the effort, the comfort
Taking a sideways look back at the day's action, to reflect, reconcile and remember.
Speedy Stage Takeaway
What a day, eh? Just one day back since the rest day and we're right back where we left off, with fast and furious racing, pure chaos from the flag drop. There were attacks, leading groups, chasing groups, one of which included the yellow jersey for a while, the mass-dropping of French GC riders, a descending masterclass from Alaphilippe and Mohoric, questionable tactics from Alpecin, and a joyful but ultimately pointless jaunt up the road for cyclocross royalty Van Aert and van der Poel.
There was a solo attack, a breathless chase, some breakaway supergroups, heartbreak, a launch, and in the end, a perfectly timed win for Bahrain-Victorious' Pello Bilbao, who leapt up the GC - the rest of the GC contenders finished all together.
I'd like a word
Stage 10 in 10 words: Carnage, carnage and more carnage. Followed by some carnage. Ouch.
Or, to put it more eloquently: stifling, brutal, unrelenting chaos, endless chasing and little respite, BILBAO!
I need a drink!
with mixologist Stine Momo Agerbæk
I really do! I don’t think I remembered to hydrate myself during the shenanigans of today’s stage. So first; a huge glass of water! Then actual drinks!
French 75 (etc…)
Today featured so many things I tend to enjoy, was off from the gun and was an all-around bomb day in France, PLUS had a fun Classics feel to it, so… Obviously we have to go for a drink that also features so many things I enjoy, is a classic recipe, and named after historical French artillery!
The French 75 is a classic in my repertoire, and a great baseline for fun experiments if you’re feeling creative (like, say… adding new taste notes, like the GC duo going to town in the first 10km of a mid-level stage?).
It’s made with gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and champagne. Don’t use the fancy artisanal bubbly for this though, prosecco or cava will do in a pinch. I like using a pretty dry champagne myself, but sweeter versions can work as well, you just have to balance it with syrup/lemon - and taste test accordingly until you like it. I often play around with flavoured syrups or infused gins as well. Knock yourself out like you’re trying to make it into the break of the day.
If you use vodka instead, it becomes a French 76… Math tastes good like this, I guess. Recipe here.
Fun tie-in to today: Pello Bilbao rides with bib #65.
A version of the abovementioned drink called French 65 exists too, even in two diverging versions.
One is like the 75 recipe but ½ gin, ½ cognac instead of just gin on the booze side.
The other one looks like a love child between the French 75 and the equally classic known as “Champagne Cup” or simply “Champagne Cocktail”, and uses Cointreau, orange garnish and a dash of bitters.
Either way, it sounds delicious and I’m gonna give it a try in celebration of today’s stage winner. Recipe here.
And speaking of bitters… Poor, poor Krist Neilands. The Latvian kept away the chasers for so long, but was caught in the final kilometres and had to contend himself with 4th today.
So for IPT’s breakaway warrior I propose a chaser in the form of the Latvian bitter, Riga Black Balsam. It’s herby, bittersweet, aromatic, and intense, rather fitting for Krist’s performance today.
Vive la Lanterne Rouge
Vive FREDERIK FRISON!
Yes, yes, once again we're featuring not the Lanterne Rouge, but the penultimate rider over the line - Dries Devenyns was the latest arrival and he's already had a turn, so we continue to cycle through the Lotto-DSTNY team (aka birthday boy Caleb Ewan's personal guard), and today it's the turn of Frison - while we're waiting to hear his thoughts, let's find out 3 facts about the rider from Geel in Belgium.
- Despite being a relative veteran, Frison's had a renaissance season this year in his speciality spring Classics, coming 4th in both Brugge-de-Panne and Gent-Wevelgem.
- He is a Lotto stalwart, like his teammate Jasper de Buyst, who is the rider he's ridden with most often throughout his career - the two have shared 169 race days. Ane he sure is loyal - he's never ridden for any other team, in his 9 year career.
- He's a brilliant impressionist - check out this excellent rendition of Peter Sagan
noun: the refuelling
Features to enhance your Tour experience, and refresh your mind after a long day's cycling viewing
Stat du Jour
by Sam Mould
Last week I’d looked at the volume of water that would fit in all the bidons taken to the tour. While it’s an impressive number, it has occurred to me that may not have been the best way to visualise the volume of bottles.
Instead if you imagined all the bidons laid end to end. It would stretch out over 8.36km.
For today’s stage winner height comparison, we are looking up at Col de la Croix at 1,451m, or 858.58 Pello Bilbaos tall.
How many of the riders on this years start list have already completed the grand slam (a stage win at the Tour, Giro & Vuelta)? 10
How many riders on the start list had the ability to add this claim to their palmarès during this tour? 4
How high is the highest point of the tour (in metres)?
How many whole KM’s will be covered in this tour in time trial format? 22
Stage 8 was the fastest average pace so far of the tour. But rounding to the nearest whole k/ph how fast was the stage covered? 48
Giving a grand total of 2388
Congratulations to the 29% of you that got them all right.
Bands of Brothers
There are 27 nations represented at this year's Tour, and coincidentally, 21 of them have two or more riders. Each day, we'll take a look at a different nation, evaluate their chances of success and throw in a random fact or two, and add to our 'National Standings' chart to see if numerical advantage translates to more stage wins. Dedicated to Justdiggit, Gino's charity of choice - the charity have set up a specific project in Gino's memory - please consider donating to them, during the Tour.
STAGE 10 - SPAIN
This Tour de France peloton are playing right into my hands with having so many different nationalities winning stages. 8 different nations have won stages, with the only repeat nation being Belgium, courtesy of the only repeat winner, Jasper Philipsen, with a hat-trick of victories.
Today was significant for Spain, as believe it or not, it was their first stage win in 100 stages of the Tour de France. It's also significant because the race started in Spain, or the Basque country at least, and even more so because it started in Bilbao, the home city of today's namesake rider, Pello Bilbao.
And of course, it's significant because Bilbao rides in memory of his teammate Gino Mäder, to whom this segment is dedicated, and Bilbao is on his own quest to raise money for Justdiggit, donating a Euro for every rider he beats, every day - and he vowed to double it, if he won a stage.
Spain are the third most well represented nation at the race (joint with the Netherlands) with 14 riders, ranging from the race's oldest rider - 39-year-old Luis Leon Sanchez of Astana-Qazaqstan, to one of the youngest - Carlos Rodriguez, who, at 22 is currently 4th on GC for Ineos Grenadiers.
They will hope to replicate Bilbao's success with further success, and the likes of the Izagirre brothers, David de la Cruz, and Alex Aranburu are all riders who could potentially deliver. For today though, they make their first appearance on our national standings table, where Denmark move ahead of the UK for the first time courtesy of another day in yellow for Jonas Vingegaard.
Pardon my French
avec Mathieu Fraisse
First rest day of Tour de France is done! After an intense first week of racing, finally being able to rest your body for an entire day was a relief for some riders. But are they rested enough? Are they really ready to start this second week? If not they might be caught in today's French expression 😬
Chasse-patate | ʃas patat
Literally, chasing potatoes.
Being caught between two groups (usually the peloton and the breakaway), trying to join the group behind but never succeeding.
E.g. : Certains coureurs ont essayé de rejoindre l'échappée mais sont restés en chasse-patate pendant quelques kilomètres
Some riders tried to join the breakaway but only stayed in chasse-patate for a few kilometres
This expression dates back from Six jours de Paris in the early 20s. After the refueling points, the "chasses" (sprinting to catch the front group) were slower because riders were digesting. As you might have guessed, we're not talking about caffeine gels and protein bars here 🥵
The impact for riders caught in this is both physical and psychological. Physical because they are spending a lot of energy trying to catch the front group and psychological because they are giving it all but the gap is not diminishing, it's even growing. Tough blow!
On today's stage we saw a huge battle for the breakaway but not all riders were lucky enough to take part in the decisive move. Better luck next time, lads 💪
This expression is also the perfect occasion to thank Toms Skujiņš, who was kind enough to tag along for the Giro Bulletins back in May. When there are potatoes involved, you know Toms isn't far away!
Have a nice dinner (potatoes, of course) and we'll be back tomorrow for a new French word! 🥔
YéYé, c'est Le Tour de France 2023
with DJ Momo
Instead of writing out the songs and artists, you’ll have to live with a picture today…
26: Well, that’s a throwback to when I was too heatwave lazy to work after the Puy du Dôme stage. Guess the joke’s on me, cause I’ve had it stuck in my brain since Sunday. *hums* …If you like piña colada…
27: Even on the rest day yesterday most riders had to do *waves hands* stuff. Whether it was the basic combo of press duties and a quick coffee ride like most of the riders, being the face of a new Merci PouPou kit like MvdP, spending the day with your wife and kid like Vingegaard, or eating baguettes to a soundtrack of Belgian new wave like Pogačar, there’s indeed no rest for the wicked riders of the Tour de France.
28: I am contractually obliged to add Plastic Bertrand if it is at all relevant for the playlist, so here’s to eating baguettes and riding bikes UAE style.
29: This stage y’all!?! It opened on cold rest day legs (not hands, but run with it, please?) and in a matter of a maximum of 10km, we were all warm, riders and fans alike.
This spunky, changing and eclectic Canadian electro-punk wakeup-call fits the fireworks of the opening phase of this stage.
30: Jonas X Tadej. The battle for the ages. The rest-day interviews from both had ample respect and excitement over the duel at hand, but also a selection of small jabs and attempts of mind games. So the opening today looked like they were checking in with each other in the form of a series of small “are you with me?” questions. So obviously I have to add my 2022-2023 Scottish Soul Crush Brooke Combe’s groovy version of that.
31: Hey Mathieu? Hey Wout! Wanna go for a ride? Sure Wout! Jump in/off the front on a downhill… Yes, this is silly, and so was this absolutely amazing moment of today’s race!
32: On a similar note, this ever changing party-indie classic feels both fitting for today’s stage, and especially for my favourite breakaway duo. No, not Mohoric + Alaphillipe, though that was good fun too.
Wout, Mathieu, you’re both pyromaniacs, idiots and magic makers and this is for you:
So if you're lonely, you know I'm here waiting for you
I'm just a cross-hair, I'm just a shot away from you
And if you leave here, you leave me broken, shattered I lie
I'm just a cross-hair, I'm just a shot, then we can die
33: Despite the breakaway heartbreak for Krist Nielands, Pello Bilbao, the team mate Gino Mäder named his dog after and who is carrying on Gino’s activist legacy in this tour, winning the stage was just… a beautiful way to end a crazy stage. We’ll never forget you Gino.
def: The bits and bobs, the shiny things, the small treasures that would otherwise go unnoticed.
Rider doing something they’re not supposed to be doing of the day
Where do I even start with this? There was Alpecin-Deceuninck, who started pulling on the front of the bunch for no apparent reason, then MVDP and WvA's aforementioned bromantic training ride, rumours that Van Aert would be leaving the race apparently disseminated by Mattias Skjelmose, but later soundly denied by his teammate Vingegaard, and the yellow jersey and Pogačar trying to go up the road in an impromptu breakaway attempt.
But the winner has to come from Groupama-FDJ. It could have been David Gaudu, who despite spending his rest day fulfilling sponsorship commitments to some sort of sports healthcare brand, purveyor of such products as this head thermometer, proceeded to suffer from heatstroke, and dropped from the main GC group - quite the irony, some might say.
But ill fortune is not what we want to celebrate here, so instead the award goes to his teammate Kevin Geniets, who apparently didn't get the memo about David not feeling so good, and his entire team being forced to pace to drag themselves back to the bunch. He appeared to be helping at first when he rode down the line showering his teammates with water from his bidon, but when he left the bidon balancing on Stefan Kung's neck, the Swiss wasn't best pleased. Naughty Kevin.
Tweets of the Day
There is A LOT of material that could be covered here - rest days at the Tour are always a goldmine of social media content - here are some of the best.
- Anders Mielke gets his Mads Pedersen tattoo
2. Romain Bardet's kid practices for the future, in this heart-melting video
3. Florian Vermeersch is banished to the ice bath to think about what he's done.
4. Tadej Pogačar takes a baguette out on his rest day ride.
UPDATE! We've had a few entries for the competition and they are excellent, please keep sending them to me either via the contact form on the site or on Twitter, via DM - a gallery of the best so far will be on its way later this week.
REMINDER: Are you visiting a stage of Le Tour this year? If so, this is your chance not only to show your photography skills to the world, but also to win a prize courtesy of Jen's Cycling Art. Just drop me a message and send across your best shots, and those selected will feature in a gallery of the day's best photography. Spread the word and get those cameras honed and ready!