From Germany, the Tour de France heads to Belgium, land of mussels and fries — and an entire lot extra.
Sunday’s Stage 2 concludes in Liege, the place dishes are largely meat-based, quite than drawn from the ocean.
Here’s a gastronomic, sporting and cultural information to the largely flat 203.5-kilometer (126-mile) leg prone to finish with a mass dash.
REGION: From Duesseldorf, the place wurst-sellers loved roaring commerce on a rain-hit Stage 1, the race veers southwest by Moenchengladbach and the border metropolis of Aachen earlier than crossing into Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia area.
With a historical past of battles and rebellions, Liege is nicknamed “la cite ardente,” town of fireside.
APERITIF: Whereas Liege-based Jupiler is Belgium’s biggest-selling beer, Val-Dieu Blonde has extra character. The good thirst-quencher is brewed within the Val-Dieu Abbey a few half-hour outdoors of town.
In response to native legend, the uninhabited valley the place the monks based the abbey in 1216 was so hostile that locals referred to as it “the valley of the satan.” The monks renamed it “Val-Dieu” (Valley of God), which later turned the title of the abbey.
PLAT DU JOUR: Meatballs, “Boulets a la liegeoise,” are Liege’s best-known dish. Normally made with floor pork and beef then fried, they’re topped with a sauce that features onions and sirop de Liege, apple and pear syrup. Finest accompanied by “frites,” French fries.
A guild bestows a crystal ball to the world restaurant which makes one of the best meatballs. Final 12 months’s winner was the brasserie-restaurant Rive Droite in Chaudfontaine, close to Liege.
CULTURE: Liege is understood for its festivals, specifically the “Le Quinze Aout” celebration on Aug. 15, which includes a spiritual procession, people shows, dancing and live shows.
For extra trendy tastes, there’s Les Ardentes, an annual electro-rock music pageant in July.
HISTORY: Internet hosting a Tour stage for the 11th time, Liege is best recognized in biking circles as the beginning and end for the single-day spring basic Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde of the Movistar crew received in April, his fourth victory within the occasion. However he crashed out of this Tour on day one, on a rain-slickened bend.
STAT OF THE DAY: 2 — the variety of riders who crashed out of the race in Stage 1, together with Valverde.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We might go to Paris now. It isn’t that far-off, is it? Why not go straight there?” — Stage 1 winner Geraint Thomas, the primary wearer of the yellow jersey this 12 months.
DIGESTIF: To burn off these meatballs attempt scaling the Montagne de Bueren, a 374-step staircase in Liege. It is named after Vincent de Bueren, who defended town towards an assault by the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Daring, within the 15th century. With a gradient of almost 30 p.c, the staircase was inbuilt 1881 to honor the 600 troopers who died within the battle.
NEXT ORDER: The Tour stays in Belgium for the beginning of Stage three on Monday, a 212.5-kilometer (132-mile) leg from Verviers to Longwy, France, that passes by Luxembourg. The rolling leg options three fourth-category climbs and two third-category climbs, together with one on the end. It ought to arrange effectively for punchy riders like Verviers native Philippe Gilbert.
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