July is my very favourite sporting month, thanks to the greatest of bike races and the ultimate trek – the Tour de France. The men riding in Le Tour de France face an epic journey: broken bones, road rash, extreme heat, fans that exemplify fanatical, and cobbles from hell. This year’s 98th TdF runs from July 2 through to July 24 2011 and will cover a total distance of 3,430.5 kilometres.
That’s worthy of a good DRINK. And believe me you, these boys deserve a daily cheers. EAT will be tweeting a daily DRINK (in 140 characters or less), following le Tour across France and sharing what the riders might be sipping at the end of their day.
While cycling isn’t a big sport in Canada, we have a contender in Victoria-born Ryder Hesjedal. This young cyclist rides for the Garmin Cervelo team, has had an excellent year and expected to do very well this July. Follow Ryder and toast him on twitter @ryder_hesjedal.
Follow the above map and the tweets daily @EATMagazine
Stage 2 (July 3). Today #TdF looped around Les Essarts, in W France, home to the famed Charolais cattle. A perfect partner w Cru Classe Bordeaux, just south.
Stage 3 (July 4). Today’s #TdF ends in Redon, bordering Brittany & the Loire. Redon is famous for chestnuts & this region has a rich & ancient cider history.
Stage 4 (July 5). #TdF started in Lorient today, near where the Atlantic meets the Loire R. Muscadet sur lie, from Melon de Bourgogne grape, is the top white
Stage 5 (July 6). 2day’s #TdF is in Brittany, home to brewing since 17thC. Artisanal brewers still make ancient Coreff de Morlaix, Tri Martolod & Britt beers
Stage 6 (July 7). Today’s #TdF ends in Lisieux, capital of Pays d’Auge & granted AC (appellation contrôlée) status for cider & calvados
Stage 7 (July 8). Today’s #TdF began in Le Mans, in the province of Berry, shared also by Sancerre. Sancerre is home to stunning & pure Sauvignon Blanc.
Stage 8 (July 9). #TdF riders headed south 2day, riding east of Limoges – famed for its oak barrels (Limousin oak), which are used for Cognac production.
Stage 9 (July 10). #TdF thru Auvergne 2day, home 2 VDQS Saint-Pourçain sur Sioule & Côtes d’Auvergne – mostly lt. reds: Gamay, Tressalier, Chard. & Pinot Noir
Stage 10 (July 12). 2day #TdF ends in Carmaux, in the Tarn département. Tarn contains Gaillac AC – reds of Cabs Franc & Sauv, Duras, whites of Mauzac, S. Blanc
Stage 11 (July 13). Le #TdF winds through Southern France today, ending in Lavaur, Tarn. It belongs to the old province of Languedoc – aka Wine Lake of France
Stage 12 (July 14). Le #TdF climbs up through the Midi-Pyrénées today, home to the Cahors AC – a brooding Malbec-based red. Malbec is locally known as Cot
Stage 13 (July 15). Today’s #TdF began in Pau, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques & area of Jurançon AC – sweet & dry whites from Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng & Courbu.
Stage 15 (July 17). #TdF riders started 2day in Limoux – famous for Blanquette sparkling wine. Blanquette de Limoux is the oldest sparkling wine known (ca 1531)
(July 18). Rest day for the #TdF riders today. Hopefully they recovered with some wine – they’re in the Languedoc-Roussillon region for their layover
Stage 16 (July 19). #TdF riders began today in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, known for its truffles & wines (AOC wines from Grignan-les-Adhémar)
Stage 17 (July 20). Today’s #TdF crossed into N. Italy’s Piedmonte region, home to majestic Barolo and the noble Nebbiolo grape. http://bit.ly/pjIbvX
Stage 18 (July 21). Before heading back to France, #TdF riders started 2day’s hilly ride in Pinerolo, Turin, Piedmonte, Italy. Alba & Asti are nearby neighbours
Stage 19 (July 22). The #TdF started its epic mountain day in Savoie in the Rhône-Alpes. Local grapes Jacquère, Roussanne, Altesse, Gringet & Mondeuse
Stage 20 (July 23). Today’s #TdF time trial looped around Grenoble, ancestral home to Chartreuse. This liqueur was made by Monks since 1740s w 130 herb extracts
Stage 21 (July 24). Final #TdF stage today, with boys riding through Paris. No better way to toast these athletes than with cuvée de prestige vintage Champagne
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