Taste of the Tour: Presse de porc and Madiran wine
BAGNERES-DE-LUCHON, France (AP) A gastronomical, sporting and cultural glance at Stage 8 of the Tour de France on Saturday:
Region: The 184-kilometer (114-mile) stage began in Pau in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques department, crossed four mountain passes of the Hautes-Pyrenees - including the legendary Col du Tourmalet - and concluded in the thermal spa town of Bagneres-de-Luchon in the Haute-Garonne department.
Baguette and butter: Defending champion Chris Froome won the stage and claimed the yellow jersey with a daring downhill attack from the top of the final climb, the Col de Peyresourde. Dan Martin of Ireland won a sprint for second, crossing 13 seconds behind, and Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain finished third. In the overall standings, Froome leads Adam Yates and Joaquim Rodriguez by 16 seconds overall.
Plat du jour: Upon special demand, chef Jean-Pierre Saint-Martin at Le Viscos hotel and restaurant in the picturesque Pyrenean village of Saint-Savin will prepare presse de porc, a dish made with such fine pork that the meat can be cooked rare. Saint-Martin accompanies the presse with macaroni pasta filled with a rich truffle sauce.
Culture: The pilgrimage town of Lourdes, which was located 35 kilometers into the stage, is the home of a Roman Catholic shrine where many faithful seek miracles. The Lourdes grotto is where an illiterate peasant girl, St. Bernadette, said she had visions of the Virgin Mary in 1858. About 6 million people, many of them ill, visit Lourdes every year to pray and drink its spring water, which believers say has healing powers.
Vin du jour: From the foothills of the Pyrenees, Madiran is a well-structured red featuring hints of coffee, cocoa, and vanilla. Made predominantly with the Tannat grape variety, Madiran can also be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Fer.
History: Pau was the hometown of Henry IV, the king of France from 1589 to 1610. Known as ''le bon roi Henri'' - Good King Henry - he was remembered for his kindness and care toward his subjects.
Stat of the Day: 1. It was the first time Froome won a Tour stage with a downhill attack. It was his sixth career stage win in the Tour.
Quote of the Day: ''I felt like a kid again out there - just racing my bike as fast as I could.'' Froome, on his downhill attack.
Dessert: Back on the delightful terrace at Viscos, it's time for ''soupe de peches'' - peach soup - a refreshing summer pudding made with fresh peaches, light cream and bits of pistachio.
Next order: The Tour crosses into Spain for the start of Stage 9 on Sunday in Vielha Val D'Aran. Scaling five mountain passes, the 184.5-kilometer (115-mile) route concludes with a ''beyond category'' uphill finish in the tiny Alpine principality of Andorra. It's considered the toughest stage in the Pyrenees of this year's Tour.