This stage can be described as “the calm before the storm”. A relatively straight forward approach into the Alps with the only notable point the Cat 2 climb Col de Manse 10km from the finish The overall contenders will be happy to save themselves for three much-tougher days to come, which all but guarantees a break going early and staying clear all the way to the finish. The road rises steadily all the way until the main difficulty of the day, the Col de Manse. At almost 10km, this climb is long enough to split the lead group. The drop from it into the finish takes in the Rochette descent where Joseba Beloki memorably came to grief in 2003 and Lance Armstrong went bush.
Beer for the Stage: 4 Pines Hefeweizen. A German born wheat beer. Cloudy pale straw in appearance, mild sweet fruity nose with hints of banana exhibiting a well rounded palate showing characters of banana and spice. 4 pines also do a Space Beer, that’s right. Currently being tested to become the first certified ‘space beer’ in the world!
Back in 2003, an experimental batch of 4 pines space beer was lost in transit in Russia. The details are sketchy, but it was rumored to have made its way into the hands of the elite cycling team ONCE. They apparently utilized its performance enhancing capabilities prior to Stage 9, but misjudged the quantities, with Jose Beloki given far too much and the results were devastating. See video of the incident. It’s probably for this reason its taken this long for Space beer to pop its head back up.
Biere Locale: La Girhete is a small brewery in Nyons, 36km into the stage. They do a White ale and a Blonde, which has a dash of anise added to it. Interesting.