The Heat Takes Its Toll

Wilco Kelderman

It’s been infernally hot on the Tour de France with the temperature in the shade reaching 39°C (102°F). Only the riders can’t sit in the shade they must race in the open. Reports said riders drank up to 20 bottles each during yesterday’s stage.

Thirst and heatstroke are obvious factors but the heat takes its toll in many ways.

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Cycling and Beer

With the Amstel Gold Race this weekend, proof that cycling is linked to beer. It’s not just a one-off, recent races in Belgium have been sponsored by Kwaremont, a brand of beer that’s exploited the sport and it’s not that long ago that a major team was sponsored by a large brewery.

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Euro Café Culture

Coffee cycling

A piece by Cyclingtips discussed the rise and fall of café culture in Melbourne, Australia. There the café is a big part in the local cycling scene, a destination for many rides. Similarly Matt Seaton writes the of “mysterious affinity between cafes, coffee and cycling” in Britain.

If coffee, cafés, cakes and cycling often go together they rarely connect in Europe. In countries like Italy, Belgium or France, a coffee is consumed quickly and a café stop rarely features on the ride, if it does it is usually incidental.

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The Spin: Dauphiné Stage 7

Look at the profile but note the distance. At 124.5km today’s final stage is almost a sprint and promises action from the start to finish.

Once again note the early finish if you plan to catch this on TV.

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The Spin: Dauphiné Stage 4

A 53.5km time trial, a festival of big ring riding.

A prestigious stage in its own right, it will also shape the overall classification for the race. This is also vital test of form ahead of the Tour de France and similar in style to Stage 9 of the Tour, a 41.5km time trial. Plus the results will be scrutinised by national federations who need to pick a rider for the London Olympic Games.

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Euro Foods: Italian Ice-cream

Ultimo Kilometro Gelateria

In a series of food linked to cycling, some things are more obvious than others. Pasta in Italy links local produce with an important source of fuel for the cyclist; coffee is both a stimulant, a source of warmth in the winter and part of the culture in many countries. Ice cream might not seem so related to cycling but it is widely available in Italy and during the summer months can almost replace the espresso as a pick-up.

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Tuesday shorts

What does the picture above remind you of? No, this isn’t a Rorschach test, it is a painting by British artist Chris Billington. Can you see anything that looks like a bike race?

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Eurofoods: Oman coffee

oman coffee

Having covered European food and drink, an exception to the rule with a quick look at coffee culture in Oman. The Middle-Eastern country is staging a bike race at the moment and many riders seem to be enjoying the experience whilst fans wow at the scenery.

That said lengthy transfers to the start and finish of some stages are causing fatigue, it feels as if the bunch is being used to beam images of stunning landscapes to us. But if riders are tired or you want a taste of Oman, coffee could answer both problems.

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Eurofoods: Speculoos


In the series of European foods with a link to cycling, next up is the Speculoos biscuit. Speculaas in Dutch but speculoos in French and Flemish some might know this as Biscoff, a brand name.

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