BERGERAC, France (AP) — After the heavy, duck-based dishes of France’s southwest, time for strong mountain fare.

Venturing into the Pyrenees — a perennial fixture of the Tour de France — forces riders to tackle extra energy to gasoline their mountain climbs. Over Thursday and Friday, the Tour will scale a complete of six ascents which are both Class 1 or “hors categorie,” which means past score, on biking’s sliding scale of climbing issue.

Wednesday’s Stage 11 is what Tour riders name a “transition” day — a better journey that takes them to the gateway to the mountains, the city of Pau. Here’s a sporting, gastronomic and cultural information to the 203.5 kilometers (126 miles) from the picture-postcard city of Eymet within the Dordogne, a vacationer hotspot with its castles, caves and different sights, and lengthy fashionable with British retirees who settle within the area for the French good-life.

BAGUETTE AND BUTTER: For the second day in a row, a stage for burly sprinters earlier than they make approach for lighter riders who do higher on climbs. Stage 11 is sort of utterly flat, with a slight downhill remaining stretch. It will likely be the Tour’s 69th go to to Pau, making it the race’s third most-visited city after Paris and Bordeaux.

PLAT DU JOUR: “Poule au pot” (rooster in a pot). This recipe is claimed to have received the favor of Henri IV, the 16th-century French king born in Pau’s citadel in 1553. The rooster, full of sausage meat, garlic, onion and parsley, is stewed with carrots and leek till the meat falls simply off the bone. Served with rice that’s cooked within the juice of the stew.

VIN DU JOUR: Jurancon dry and candy white wines from the west and south of Pau are created from Manseng grapes, a neighborhood selection proof against the typically chilly Pyrenean local weather, with fruit rising excessive on the vine, defending it from spring frosts.

HISTORY: Pau-born King Henri IV is thought for the period of prosperity he delivered to France after ending the Wars of Faith between Catholics and Protestants. Nicknamed the “Good King,” he additionally earned one other moniker: the Vert Galant (The Vigorous Suitor), a reference to his fondness for ladies. Historian Marylene Vincent instructed that a few of his jealous lovers performed a job in his assassination in 1610.

STAT OF THE DAY: 253. The variety of kilometers (equal to 157 miles) that Frenchman Albert Bourlon rode alone in profitable a stage from Carcassonne to Luchon within the Pyrenees on the Tour of 1947. Tuesday marked the 70th anniversary of Bourlon’s solo feat, a post-World Battle II report that’s unlikely to be overwhelmed as a result of phases are not that prolonged. Bourlon rode in 16 minutes earlier than anybody else.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We’re going to should be able to go to battle” — total Tour chief Chris Froome, saying he is bracing for the danger of winds on Wednesday that would break up the race on the flats.

FROMAGE: Within the Pyrenees, the Tour ventures into goat’s cheese nation — each softer creamy cheeses that unfold properly on crusty baguette and tougher, pressed cheeses which are typically crumbly and invariably tangy and flavorsome. Sturdy Pyrenees goats are characterised by their lengthy, stiff hair, massive heads, beards and spectacular, backward-pointing curved horns.

DESSERT: “Coucougnettes du Vert Galant” translate because the Vigorous Suitor’s testicles and are grilled almonds coated in darkish chocolate and raspberry marzipan.

NEXT ORDER: Thursday’s Stage 12 will get progressively harder and better, with six rated climbs — three of them both rated one or “hors categorie” — and a brief however steep uphill end to an altitude of 1,580 meters (5,200 toes).

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