July 20, 2016

FINHAUT-EMOSSON, Switzerland (AP) A gastronomical, sporting and cultural glance at Stage 17 of the Tour de France on Wednesday:

REGION: The first of four legs in the Alps, the stage started in the Swiss capital of Bern and followed a 184.5 (114.6-mile) route over two major climbs to the Finhaut-Emosson power station in the canton of Valais near Mont Blanc.

BAGUETTE AND BUTTER: Russian rider Ilnur Zakarin of the Katusha team won the stage with a late attack on the final climb after getting in an early breakaway. Race leader Chris Froome increased his lead in the overall standings. Froome, the 2013 and 2015 champion, now leads Bauke Mollema by 2:27 overall with Adam Yates third, 2:53 back.

PLAT DU JOUR: Raclette. One of Switzerland's most famous dishes, raclette - which derives from the French word meaning ''to scrape'' - involves melting the surface of a wheel of semi-soft raclette cheese, then scraping the gooey part onto boiled potatoes, cured ham and other accompaniments. The local version is made with Raclette du Valais AOP, which is made with raw, unpasteurized cow's milk and carries a special seal of approval.

CULTURE: The Montreux Jazz Festival is held every July, just off the stage route on the shores of Lake Geneva. The 50th edition of the festival concluded last weekend following performances by PJ Harvey, Simply Red, Santana, Patti Smith and Quincy Jones.

VIN DU JOUR: Petite Arvine. Grown in the Valais for at least 500 years, Petite Arvine white grapes are very popular along the valley from Sion to Martigny. The wines of the same name have delicious grapefruit aromas. Pairs perfectly with raclette cheese and small onions.

SCIENCE: Construction of the Nant de Drance hydropower station in Finhaut-Emosson is slated to finish in 2018 at a cost of 2 billion Swiss Francs ($2 billion). The facility will use the elevation difference between the Vieux Emosson and Emosson reservoirs to produce an estimated output of 2.5 billion kilowatt hours per year.

STAT OF THE DAY: 40. In kilometers per hour, the impressive average speed of Zakarin. It was 2 kilometers faster than the fastest estimate by race organizers.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: ''One of the big differences is that all eight teammates of mine are focused on one goal.'' Chris Froome, discussing why Team Sky is so much stronger than every other squad.

DESSERT: Abricots du Valais. It's high season for apricots in the Valais.

NEXT ORDER: The race crosses back into France for Stage 18 on Thursday, a 17-kilometer (10.5-mile) individual time trial from Sallanches to Megeve. It's the Tour's first mountain time trial since the 2004 race against the clock up l'Alpe d'Huez. Besides the flat opening four kilometers (2.5 miles) and a short descent at the finish, it's entirely uphill.

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