Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tour De Brew - Stage 12

They set out to complete the task, and despite the atrocious weather at the end of the stage, they did it. Team HTC were soundly beaten in stage 10, having been on the back foot after a sustained attack by Phillipe Gilbert, and struggled to organise the now familiar Cavendish lead out train.

Stage 11 provided redemption. Lars Bak and Danny Pate drove the pelton hard all day to finally catch the breakaway with just 3km to go. Substitute lead out train members Van Garderen, Peter Velits and Bernie Eisel took it up in the lead out as Matt Goss was in all sorts, over the past few days has been donating food reserves to the roadside on numerous occasions.

It was HTC versus Garmin-Cervélo coming into the final 300 meters, but it was Geraint Thomas of Sky who opened the sprint in an attempt to set up Edvald Boasson Hagen for his second stage victory. But once Mark Renshaw took over with Cavendish on his wheel, it was game over for his competition. Cavendish went early, but easily held on to his lead against the charging Greipel, who was looking to pull off another upset win but had to come from sixth wheel to do so. Cavendish pulled on the green jersey for his effort and will now where it into the Pyrenees.


Stage 12: Cugnaux Luz-Ardiden 211 km

Stage 12 Profile

We here we go. Strap yourself in, this is were the real games begin. Without any introduction we hit the Pyrenees with full gusto, with stage 12 containing 2 hors categorie climbs in what will be a terribly difficult stage. This will bring an end to the phony war between the favourites for the yellow jersey. Preceding the final climb is the first-ever ascent of the narrow road that winds up through the trees to the Hourquette d'Ancizan, followed by the Tourmalet from the La Mongie-side. Coming off there, the race heads straight onto the final climb.

Its Bastille Day, so French riders will be putting on a show for the sponsors. It's too big a day and I'm not sure if any are good enough to win. By the end of it, we'll have a clear idea of the top contenders and we'll definitely know who can't win the Tour.


Beer for the stage: Mountain Goat Hightail Ale. What better way to kick off the mountains for 2011 with a namesake beer. Hightail ale is an English inspired amber ale that has has a robust, fruity flavour and floral-hop aroma with a well rounded, rich malt body and lively on the palate. 4.5% ABV.
Back in 2003 Lance Armstrong reportedly saw a Hightail ale in a spectators hand on the final climb today, Luz-Ardiden, and stopped suddenly to try to take a swig along with Iban Mayo. Jan Ulrich took offence at not being offered a sip and promptly took off up the road. Video

Bière locale: Nothing produced locally in the mountains, so best to grab a few bottles of Cerveza, stuff them into the backpack, start the accent of one of the climbs only to sit down in the sun later and enjoy the amber fluid. Just don’t have too many or you’ll end up riding like Jose Beloki in 2003.

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