A guide to the Tour de France
Belgian cycling commentator José de Cauwer was one of the guests on the Avondetappe last night. Asked about Belgium's semi-final football defeat, he said, 'Het is wat het is.' It's one of my least favourite expressions in English, and I had no idea the same idiom was assaulting Belgian ears too.
De Cauwer theorised that lighter, climber-type riders don't win local Flemish events when they are young, because they are not suited to the parcours; they then give up cycling altogether, which explains why Belgium has no GC contenders.
Tom Dumoulin is very disappointed that Michael Matthews had to abandon the Tour with illness. Dumoulin says that Matthews can ride on the front for a long time on mountain days, when the Australian is on good form.
Toms Skujins made the news back home Latvia, he told Herman van der Zandt, but the Prime Minister hasn't phoned him yet. Skujins is wearing the polka-dot mountains jersey after Stage 5.
Herman seemed to have found a kindred spirit. He gave Skujins a sweet potato, and the Latvian extolled the virtues of potatoes and sweet potatoes. You can use them to make chips or vodka, and even to fuel cars.
Peter Sagan said in an interview that he did lots of sports when he was growing up - football, dancing, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, windsurfing, and wakeboarding. He was probably sickenly good at all of them.
Richard Moore had a chat with UCI President David Lappartient in Sarzeau. Moore asked Lappartient if he would like to sit down and have a conversation with Dave Brailsford, and smooth things over. Lappartient took this as an invitation to list and detail his grievances again - and you get the impression that his spiel is now well-rehearsed.
Moore didn't go the full Jeremy Paxman and ask the same question twelve times, but he had one more go at getting an answer. This time the response did fit the question. 'If he want to ring me, no problem, but it's up to him.' It sounds like the beginning of the start of a début of better relations.
The first 'iconic' of the Tour was uttered (in my hearing). It was François Thomazeau, talking about a checked Peugeot jersey, so it probably wasn't even a solecism, but it still counts to my total. Another 'iconic' in the race organisers' video highlights, this time as a description of the final climb, means that after a slow start, the meter is ticking over nicely.
Former UCI President Brian Cookson was on the early slot of ITV's race coverage. He was urging calm and respect on both sides in the Brailsford-Lappartient spat because, as he said, we're only a heartbeat away from something dangerous or foolish happening on the roadside. It was fairly clear where he was pinning most of the blame, though, when he said that inappropriate comments had been made at the wrong time during Froome's Salbutamol case.
Whatever Cookson's faults may have been as President, and I don't know what people criticise him for, but I'm sure they do, he was certainly decent and dignified.
David Millar continues to demonstrate the eagle eye that makes him such a good co-commentator. Example 1: Romain Bardet is rider number 21, but Millar immediately saw that he was on bike number 25, and identified that he had taken a team mate's bike after a mechanical. Example 2: Tom Dumoulin draughting his team car after a puncture, Millar, 'he wants to be careful not to make it too obvious'; after the stage, the Dutch world time trial champion got a 20s penalty.
Well done to Dan Martin today. He seems to be cheerful nearly all the time, and I think most people will be happy, or even super-happy, to see him win the stage.
Correct predictions of stage winners on this website: 2 out of 6
Stage 7 of the Tour de France 2018 is the longest of the race - 231km from Fougères to Chartres. Taking a route that passes through Alençon, the riders will approach Chartres from the south, and the pace is likely to wind up in the final kilometres, to end in a bunch sprint.
Read about Stage 7 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Brest is a city in the département of Finistère, and the region of Brittany. It's the second French military port after Toulon. The population is about 142,000.
The port of Brest is sheltered, as it's on the rade de Brest, the estuary of the river Elorn; the river which runs through Brest itself is called the Penfeld. The Penfeld is crossed by a large drawbridge, the pont de la Recouvrance.
Brest belonged to the Dukes of Brittany in the Middle Ages, then became part of France with the rest of Brittany in 1532. Cardinal Richelieu spotted its potential as a military harbour, and wooden wharves were built in 1631. Later in the 1600s, Louis XIV's military architect Vauban built fortifications.
Many American soldiers arrived in Brest during World War I. In World War II, Brest was an important German U-boat base. Brest was almost totally destroyed in 1944 as the Allies advanced after D-Day.
Today, France's nuclear submarines are based here, as is a Naval Training Centre. The National Navy Museum is in the castle at Brest.
Brest is also a commercial port, and ship repairs and maintenance are undertaken.
Services represent the largest sector of the economy, including banking, research and development, and sciences. It is also an important University city, with 23,000 students.
Brest is twinned with Denver, Colorado (USA) and Plymouth, Devon (UK).
Huelgoat is a village by a lake and a forest. In the forest are big mossy boulders.
According to legend (this applies to all the facts that follow), the boulders were thrown there by a Celtic giant; the Virgin Mary lived amongst the rocks; and King Arthur had a home in a cave here (la Grotte d'Artus).
One boulder, la Roche Tremblante, weighs 100 tonnes, but even a child can get it to move a little, by finding exactly the right place to push.
Mûr de Bretagne used to be a town in its own right, but is now part of the commune of Guerlédan. It is to the east of the Lac de Guerlédan, a lake formed by a dam of the river Blavet.
The name Mûr comes from the Breton muriou, and it means walls or ramparts around a fortified town.
Mûr de Bretagne has featured in the Tour de France on many occasions, including on the route of a 139km individual time trial in 1947, the first Tour after the war. It is the Côte de Menez Hiez, or Côte de Mur, a climb on the D767 north of Mûr de Bretagne, which the race organisers use to split the field. This was the final climb on Stage 4 of the Tour de France 2011, and Stage 8 of the Tour de France 2015.
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