A guide to the Tour de France
I gave BeSpoke a listen yesterday. The first 14 minutes of 27 were devoted to Mark Cavendish not winning the stage. Apparently Cav had been mean or taciturn with BBC reporter Gareth Rhys Owen after the Manxman crossed the line. However unfair it is, however many feelings got hurt, nobody is interested in journalists making the story all about themselves.
After taking up 50% of the podcast talking about Cav, Tom Fordyce launched the next segment with a question about Chris Froome - should anyone be concerned yet? This is essentially the same question he has been asking since the start of the Giro d'Italia in May, but phrased in slightly different ways, or with changed intonation. Fine, talk about British riders, but not only about British riders. After all, Dylan Groenewegen won Stage 7.
BeSpoke is a podcast for people who don't know much about cycling, and I suppose that's ok. The problem is that they're not going to learn much about cycling by listening to it. Perhaps it is a masterful strategy by the BBC podcast-ologists for holding on to their audience. Still, at least there's Rob Hayles.
In search of a bit more knowledge, insight, and generosity of spirit, I steered in the direction of the Cycling Podcast. There, there was chat about Yoann Offredo, Dylan Groenewegen, Vincenzo Nibali, and a Sky rider other than Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas.
Dione de Graaf and her guests were in Chartres.
As you would expect, Dylan Groenewegen was top of the bill. The idea was floated that the slackening of the pace at 10km to go on Stage 7 may have suited him. He does well on the boring stages!
Herman van der Zandt was outside the Lotto Jumbo team hotel, and he watched the TV pictures of the sprint with Groenewegen, who felt that it was hard work rewarded, and the result of a team effort.
We saw some film of Dylan training on a viaduct, paced by his dad on a motor scooter. This viaduct is actually a huge motorway, but since it's in Holland, the motorway has a bike and scooter path next to it - obviously. There's an uphill gradient to it where they train, so it is much like the uphill finish on Stage 7.
The guests did discuss how boring Stage 7 was. One of them (Danny Nelissen, I think) said that there's a reason why they start from a particular town - money - and why they finish in another - money. If it's 231km in between the two places, so be it, as far as the race organisers are concerned.
Laurens ten Dam wasn't too bothered about racing on Friday 13th, but he said the Italians in the peloton started the business of throwing salt over their shoulders, and now everyone is at it.
The ITV podcast last night was 14 minutes, apparently because Matt Rendell forgot to press play the first time they started discussing the day. I hope Boardman and co get more enthusiastic once the race gets to the mountains.
Mark Cavendish got himself into a good position again on Stage 8, only for his chain to come off near the line.
Dylan Groenewegen won again, as I thought he might. I thought he might after he won yesterday, not when I was writing the stage guides - so no new correct predictions for my total.
Correct predictions of stage winners on this website: 2 out of 8
Stage 9 of the Tour de France 2018 is 154km from Arras Citadelle to Roubaix.
Read about Stage 9 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Dreux is a town in the Eure-et-Loir département of France.
The name Dreux stems from the Celtic Durocasses tribe that lived here in pre-Roman times. The Romans established a fortified camp called Castrum Drocas.
On 15th December 1562, the first major battle of the French Wars of Religion took place at Dreux, with a victory for the Catholic Duc de Montmorency.
An interesting historical attraction at Dreux is the Chapelle Royale de Dreux. It is where members of the Orléans family are buried, including Louis-Philippe, who was King of France from 1830 to 1848.
Dreux is twinned with Evesham (UK).
The Château d'Anet is in the Renaissance style, and was built by Henri II in the C16th for his favourite, Diane de Poitiers.
Diane engaged architect Philibert Delorme, sculptor Jean Goujon, and painter Jean Cousin. The building is in a U-shape, around a central courtyard, and there was a Renaissance-style garden.
The château was confiscated by the state at the time of the Revolution, and subsequently fell into disrepair. In the 1800s, it was restored in several phases. It is now privately owned, and inhabited, but it can be visited on a guided tour. How enjoyable is the tour? On TripAdvisor, opinion is divided.
Vernon is a town of 24,000 people on the river Seine, and in the Eure département. Its motto is Vernon semper viret, meaning 'Vernon, always green.' The name Vernon probably means 'alder' or 'plain planted with alder.'
The site seems to have been occupied from the C2nd BC, and into the Gallo-Roman period. It is first mentioned in documents in 750AD.
Ariane Group, who make jet engines for military planes, are based in Vernon. Rowenta, who make small electrical appliances for the kitchen, are here too.
Historic buildings in Vernon include the Collégiale Notre-Dame church (C11th to C15th), the remaining piles of the Medieval bridge and the old mill built on top, the Château des Tourelles, and the imposing Tour des Archives (a vestige of the old castle).
Ousmane Dembélé, who plays football for Barcelona, was born in Vernon.
Many tourists in Vernon are simply using it as a base to visit Monet's house at Giverny, a stone's throw up the river.
Château Gaillard was built by Richard the Lionheart, King of England and Duke of Normandy, from 1196-8.
Richard wanted a castle at this strategic location on the river Seine to protect the Duchy of Normandy from Philip II of France. Philip had a castle nearby, on the other side of the Seine, at Gaillon.
Richard died in 1199. The castle was beseiged by Philip II, and capitulated in 1204. Philip was subsequently able to conquer the rest of Normandy.
The castle changed hands several times during the One Hundred Years war.
In 1599, Gaillard was already in a ruined state when Henri IV ordered that it be demolished.
Gournay-en-Bray is a town of 6,000 people at the confluence of the Epte and the Morette.
The church was built from 990, to house the relics of Hildevert, Bishop of Meaux. It was burned down in 1174, and a new church consacrated in 1192.
Hugues II de Gournay fought at the Battle of Hastings with William the Conqueror, and was rewarded with lands in England in Essex and Suffolk; his son was given land in Somerset.
The cinema was originally a butter market, then a theatre. It has two screens for showing films.
Crèvecoeur-le-Grand was a major centre for the production of serge cloth in the 1600s and early 1700s.
There are several large wind turbines here, and their maintenance employs a number of local people.
A walking and cycling path called la Coulée Verte starts here. It is on the trackbed of the old Beauvais-Amiens railway line, and it goes north via Conty and Wailly to Vers-sur-Selle.
Amiens is a city of about 130,000 people in the Somme département and the Hauts-de-France region. It is in the historical area of Picardy. The river Somme runs through the centre of Amiens.
The Gallic Ambiani people lived in this area, and when the Romans arrived, they called the site Ambianum. The name Amiens evolved from the Roman name.
Amiens suffered during both World Wars. In World War I, the Battle of Amiens took place in 1918 in the lead-up to the Armistice. The city was heavily bombed by the RAF towards the end of World War II.
Amiens is known for its C13th Gothic Cathedral, the largest of this type in France (by interior volume). It is regarded as a masterpiece of the classic Gothic style. It took only 70 years to build, which is a short time compared to other such Cathedrals, and helps to explain the consistent style.
One of France's biggest university hospitals is here, and there's a large student population (around 26,000 students and 800 researchers).
There's a dynamic economy based on industry and services. After the last war, automotive equipment was an important sector, and Goodyear still have a base in Amiens. Also here are Procter & Gamble. More recently, call centres and internet businesses have set up.
A December Christmas market is held in Amiens, which is large and popular. You can try macarons d'Amiens there.
Amiens is known for its hortillonnages, or floating gardens, on islands in marshland between the Somme and the Avre.
Jules Verne lived in Amiens from 1871 until his death in 1905.
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