July 24, 2005

Stage 20 - Paris Bound (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) Another great morning of racing. My heart was breaking for Michael Rasmussen who had the worst day due to two crashes and having to switch out bikes four times. Today's final top 10 represents the strength of US cycling: (aside from Armstrong) CSC's Bobby Julich, Phonak's Floyd Landis, Discovery's George Hincapie and not to be overlooked is GST's Levi Leipheimer. I love the image above. Lance the family man. The girlfriend is yapping, the kids are excited and Dad is listening to his IPOD. See, he is normal! A remarkable day--I'm getting all choked up--and I'm not sure why! Time now to get out on the bike. Tomorrow we roll in to Paris! St-Etienne to St-Etienne Distance: 55km/34mi The Rhone-Alps region lies nestled beneath the impressive flanks of Mont Blanc, Europe's highest peak at 15,771 feet, and a protector to the region's borders with Switzerland and Italy. Today's time trial, which is a loop, is held in St-Etienne, which is more of an industrial town focused on electronics and industrial engineering. It is located about 45 miles from what could arguably called the gastronomic capital of France and third largest city, Lyon. Where you'd find more of a range of dining options. After all it was here that the three-Michelin starred chef Pierre Gagnaire went bankrupt due to "questionable financial advice, a multimillion-franc debt incurred to upgrade and expand his modest St-Etienne restaurant into a showplace worthy of three stars (it already had two, awarded in 1986)....
Stage 21 - Oui Oui Paris Reuters Corbeil-Essonnes to Paris Champs-Élysées | Distance 144km/89.5mi Bicycling Magazine describes today's challenges as "Dropped champagne flutes, wigs tangling spokes, general hijinks." At least until they arrive at the city perimeter. The cyclists here today have accomplished the unthinkable. Many of us, when we think of Paris, think of food, particularly pastry. Pastry history is long and filled with passionate debate on ownership. Records state that Antonin Careme elevated the art form. Larousse Gastronomique, states that "Choux pastry is said to have been invented in 1540 by Popelini, Catherine de' Medici's chef, but the pastrycook's art only truly began to develop in the 17th century and greatest innovator at the beginning of the 19th century was indubitably [Antonin] Careme...There were about a hundred pastrycooks in Paris at the end of the 18th century. In 1986 the count for the whole of France was over 40,000 baker-pastrycooks and 12,5000 pastrycooks." So what does this have to do with bicycling. Before the TdF, there was the Paris-Brest-Paris race. Every four years, since 1891, riders have 90 hours to complete the unmarked course. Once a professional race the ride has evolved into an amateur one. But don't let that fool you. The next race is 2007. In the early days of the race a pastry chef along the route was looking to increase his sales during this time put his mind to reinventing his eclairs. What resulted is now known as the Paris Brest. It's a choux pastry, shaped as a bicycle wheel...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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