Taste of the Tour: Potatoes and cheese in the Massif Central
LE LIORAN, France (AP) A gastronomical, sporting and cultural glance at Stage 5 of the Tour de France on Wednesday:
Region: The stage finished at Le Lioran in Auvergne, a region of extinct volcanoes.
Baguette and butter: Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet won the first mountain leg with an audacious solo attack in the Massif Central and also claimed the overall leader's yellow jersey. Defending champion Chris Froome and two-time runner-up Nairo Quintana finished in the main pack.
Plat du jour: La Truffade is a hearty mountain dish suitable for anyone on a shoe-string budget. It's a cheese dish made with fresh Cantal tomme cheese and potatoes cooked in a pan. The local chefs say the recipe's name comes from the word ''truffe,'' which meant potato in Langue d'Oc, a dialect spoken in the southern half of the country in medieval France.
Culture: The Lioran tunnel was the first road tunnel built in France. Dug between 1839 and 1843, it connected the cities of Murat and Aurillac. At 1,404 meters (4,600 feet) in length, it was the longest in the world at the time of construction. While it still exists, the tunnel is no longer used for transport, having been replaced by a newer version.
Vin du jour: Just a glass of refreshing mineral water, either still or sparkling. The Massif Central is like a gigantic water tower, featuring more than 100 natural springs in Auvergne, making it the No. 1 region in Europe for mineral water production.
History: The race paid tribute to eternal Tour runner-up Raymond Poulidor when the peloton went through his hometown of Saint-Leonard-de-Noblat. Poulidor, who turned 80 this year, secured eight podium finishes at the Tour during his career but never wore the yellow jersey.
Stat of the Day: 9. The numbers of years since the last Belgian 1-2 at a Tour de France stage.
Quote of the Day: ''I dont care about it. C'est la vie,'' From world champion Peter Sagan, reflecting on losing the yellow jersey.
Dessert: There are so many varieties of cheese in the Auvergne area it's impossible to list them all. If you had to pick just one, go for a slice of Cantal, the famous cylinder-shaped pressed cheese made with the milk of hay-fed cows. It comes in three different types, depending on the age and texture: Cantal Jeune (young), Entre-Deux (medium) and Cantal Vieux (aged). With its thick black crust and full-bodied flavors, the Cantal Vieux is not for the faint-hearted.
Next order: Stage 6 Thursday is a flatter 190.5-kilometer (118-mile) leg from Arpajon-sur-Cere to Montauban, in the southwestern region of Tarn-et-Garonne. The next mountain stages come this weekend in the Pyrenees, although the Tour may not be decided until the race reaches the Alps in the third week.