Taste of The Tour: A toast to culture, wine in Montpellier
MONTPELLIER, France (AP) A gastronomical, sporting and cultural glance at Stage 11 of the Tour de France on Wednesday:
Region: Stage 11 started in the medieval town of Caracassone and took the peloton across southern France along the vineyards of the Languedoc region to Montpellier near the Mediterranean coast.
Baguette and butter: World champion Peter Sagan won the windy stage after getting in a breakaway that also included overall leader Chris Froome. With 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) remaining in the 162.5-kilometer (101-mile) leg, Froome and his Sky teammate Geraint Thomas joined the Tinkoff duo of Peter Sagan and Maciej Bodnar in the lead. Sagan easily won the sprint finish ahead of Froome, while Bodnar crossed third. Getting a six-second bonus for his second-place finish, Froome gained 12 seconds on all of his direct rivals who finished in the main peloton six seconds behind.
Aperitif: Find a nice terrace overlooking the Mediterranean to enjoy a refreshing Mauresque, an aniseed-flavored aperitif mixed with almond syrup. Served with water and ice.
Plat du jour: En route to Montpellier, the peloton passed near the port city of Sete, which is famous for its delicious Tielles. These small pies with a golden crust are stuffed with a spicy octopus filling, prepared with tomato sauce, olives and herbs.
Culture: Montpellier is a cultural hotspot hosting renowned classical music and dance festivals during the summer. Recently refurbished, the Musee Fabre hosts one of France's richest collections of paintings. The museum now has a major exhibit featuring masterpieces from Frederic Bazille and his impressionist friends, including Claude Monet and Edouard Manet.
Vin du jour: After years of mass production, the quality of Languedoc wines has dramatically improved over the past 20 years. At the forefront of the revival: Pic Saint-Loup aromatic red wines, made with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre grapes in a small area 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Montpellier in the Pic-Saint-Loup mountain.
History: The most iconic photo of Jean Moulin, who unified the Resistance during World War II before being killed by the Nazis, was taken in Montpellier. The picture, which shows Moulin posing with his fedora hat and scarf against a wall near the Promenade du Peyrou in downtown Montpellier, is included in nearly all French history textbooks.
Stat of the Day: 47.242 kph (29.36 mph) - Sagan's average speed during the stage, the highest at this year's Tour.
Quote of the Day: ''To me he is like the grandson of Eddy Merckx, he is the true No. 1.'' FDJ team manager Marc Madiot, praising the panache of Peter Sagan.
Dessert: Grisettes de Montpellier are small, round and grey sweets made with honey and liquorice, topped with granulated sugar.
Next order: Stage 12 takes the peloton from Montpellier to the legendary Mont Ventoux in the Provence region.