Friday, July 16, 2010
Stage 12: Through the Massif Central
Tyler Farrar is out of the Tour! That means 2 of my fantasy cycling team are not there. I had Mark Renshaw, too! Renshaw was thrown out for cutting off Farrar in yesterday's sprint. He also head-banged Julian Dean. Never seen that before!
All those crashes at the beginning, and loads of bad luck. Too bad, boys—it just won't be as interesting without you. Of course, looking at the upcoming killer mountain stages in the Pyrenees, maybe you are lucky.
Today's stage is the steepest of all of them just at the end--14 percent grade climbs in spots up into Mende.
This is a rural area, part of the Massif Central--a mountainous area in the center of France, and it is part of the Lanquedoc, an area where the local people still speak Occitaine, or Provencal, a romance language that is not French. It's the language that Eleanor of Acquitane spoke. In the Massif Central there are tiny villages and lovely spas, and you can kayak and rock climb. The forests here are deep and lush.
Looking ahead, there are some truly gnarly stages in the Pyrenees, but today, just at the end, it's so steep, that they are just dropping off the back. What a rough tour!
Vive le Tour! Vive la France!