Stage 20: Numbers Flapping in the Wind; Like 170 Moles in Action

We thought this an awesome stage, because the clowning and ceremony made the boring part charming, and the battle to set up the sprint was as exciting as the finish…It helped that we rode our bikes for the first part–basically from the actual start to the entry to Paris. In solidarity with the ill-planned  Team Radioshack black jersey stunt, we changed our kit repeatedly (was that what Voelkler switching shirts was about? very cute.). It seemed like Phil didn’t quite get the Livestrong talking points, as his repeated mention of “cancer sufferers” seems out of tune with contemporary cancer survivor rhetoric. Maybe his word choice was confused by his investment in how much tour riders suffer.

It’s hard to be too cynical about Livestrong, though, as we’ve just lost a relative to cancer and in fact one of us tried to participate in the goofy Nike Chalkbot thing. (We’ve also recently dropped some cash to MS foundations in support of some friends and relatives doing charity bike rides.) Now if only Astana, for example, would put its team firepower behind some international human rights charity…

This champagne is a seriously good descender! (Note the pink dish towel on the bottle, often worn by the Lanterne Rosé as the last wine to be finished in the tour).

It also helped that next we prepared a Japanese sushi breakfast, a Sunday morning tradition at our place, which we enjoyed with what was, for us, a quite excellent champagne: Lancelot-Royer. (White miso, by the way, is great with champagne if the soup isn’t too salty.) [It’s quite unusual for us to have two Champagnes during the tour but we had no choice when “we” rode right through the region early on!] The bubbly was pleasantly dusty on the nose, lively but not flashy on the tongue, and had a tolerably full mouth feel. Notes of stone fruits and some spice or another.

Adriano Malori usurped Bert Grabsch’s spot to end the tour as the Lanterne Rouge. Thanks to Nancy Toby for reminding us that Malori held this honor on stages nine and ten.

That’s it for this year. The Tour seems to start near Brittany next year, so we’ll probably be drinking cider next July 2nd. Leave any food or beverage suggestions in the comments. In the meanwhile, assuming all this traffic doesn’t crash the site, you can follow our food, beverage and garden adventures at Spatula and Barcode.

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