Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Friday, 6 July 2012

2012 Tour de France: Epernay to Metz – final big sprint before mountains?

Late autumn in the vineyards of Champagne 

Today's 207.5K stage from Epernay to Metz looks likely to be a repeat of yesterday – a procession across north-east France with the racing starting in earnest around 30K from the finish. Most likely scenario is for a small break to go ahead early and stay out most of the day, while the overall favourites conserve their energies for the two semi-mountain stages to come on Saturday (Vosges) and Sunday (Jura). Possible light showers are forecast for today.

From the race profile the finish looks to be dead flat, unlike yesterday's finish in Saint-Quentin that had a rise at the end. There is a tight corner just before the 2K mark and then another less tight at the start of the final straight  – about 800 metres (?) from the finish.

As this is the last flat stage before the race finishes at Cap d'Agde on 14th July the sprinters may well be keen to catch the breakaways with more time to spare than yesterday when the last man wasn't caught until within the last 500 metres.

Will André Griepel get his third stage win in a row or will it be Mark Cavendish, who will have had another day to get over Wednesday's crash, or someone else – Matt Goss? Whatever, let's hope that everyone including Tyler Farrar stays upright today.    

No comments: