Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tour De Brew - Stage 9

Quenching our thirst and watching the Tour in a pub in Montreaux on Lake Geneva (or Lake Léman to the French))

Stage 9: Issoire - Saint-Flour 208KM

Stage 9 Profile

The final stage before the first rest day fulfills race director


Prudhomme's desire for unpredictability.

That the last winner in Saint-Flour was Richard Virenque back in 2004 says a good deal about what the riders are up against today. There's very little riding on the flat, just frequently steep ups and downs. At almost 1600m, the Pas de Peyrol is the highest road pass in the Massif Central. Following it are the not-insignificant Perthus and Prat de Bouc passes before the road drops irregularly towards Saint-Flour. The finish is uphill too and could well result in a breakaway rider finishing alone.

These rolling stages are virtually impossible to predict a winner, particularly given how many falls have occurred in the first week. People associate the Alps and Pyrenees with the brutality of the Tour, but days like this are generally much, much harder. They will be full gas for 150km, and lots of strong riders will be targeting it.

Beer for the Stage: Epic Pale Ale. A deep amber colour holds a hop note that is ringing with citrus, grass and pine. An imposing dry hop character creates an impress back-palate bitterness. Almost certain to "wake you up" in preparedness for the stage ahead, this APA is for the serious hophead and a great ale for any occasion. NZ rider Julian Dean (Garmin-Cervelo) gets a mechanic to open one of these prior to each stage in order for him to inhale the Humulus lupulus aroma, similar to a boxer utilising smelling salts.

Bière locale: Not a brewery within sight of this stage.

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