Mountain Bread and Olive Thyme Baguettes

In last night’s International Breads we made Mountain Bread and Olive Thyme Baguettes.

I’m guessing that you can guess what went into the Baguettes – thyme and kalamata olives. The name says it all.  They are then shaped into their traditional baguette shape, and have their crusty crust. Yum!

Olive Thyme Baguettes

But what is Mountain Bread you ask? Essentially its a mix of different flours: bread flour, dark rye flour, whole wheat flour, and 9 grain seeds. There are even 9 grains seeds on top of the bread before baking to give it that more hearty and rustic feel. The crust is nice and crusty, while the inside is very soft and delicious. Plus because of the ingredients, its much more nutricious than regular white bread. 😀

Olive Thyme Baguettes and Mountain Bread.
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A little bit of TDF drama!

2010 Tour de France: Team RadioShack in front of the Arc de Triomphe. Team members donned the special black Livestrong jerseys before the stage start but the UCI demanded that they remove them. Riders put them back on after the stage.

Lance Armstrong bids the Tour de France adieu, and unfortunately not the way he had wanted to.. Or was it? I guess it depends on how you look at it.

Okay.. In his final Tour de France, the seven-time champion popped a tire, crashed and struggled up the mountains. Still, he maintains he had no regrets despite the ignominious ending of No. 13 — nearly 40 minutes behind the leader, former teammate and rival Alberto Contador. Yet, if you ask any rider or team manager at the Tour, it’s clear Armstrong’s mark on the sport is indelible — the use of earpiece radios for riders, training regimens, diet and race strategy, among other things. His success helped convert what was mostly a summertime passion in Europe into a 21st Century business fanning interest from Canada to China.

Last year, returning from a four-year retirement from the Tour, he finished an impressive third, got within one second of the yellow jersey he knows so well, and warmed the hearts of French fans who once despised him for his methodical, “American” drive to victory above all. This year, he was but a mere 23rd, and his best single showing was arguably in the prologue in Rotterdam, where he placed fourth. He gradually downscaled his ambitions. At first he wanted to win. Then, he wanted a stage win, which he narrowly missed in an eight-man sprint finish to the 16th stage, the toughest day in the Pyrenees. When that opportunity vanished, he focused on his RadioShack squad — which did give him a sliver of glory and a podium appearance by winning the team classification.

But his long-masterful control of his image — cancer survivor, Tour champion, public personality and pitchman — may finally be escaping his grasp. Or maybe not after the drama that occurred on the final stage into Paris. To say that on a day that is usually dedicated to the three riders who stand upon the podium in Paris, and even the “other” jersey winners, Lance Armstrong may have stolen some of the media hype and still managed to direct all eyes to his cause by “taking the stsage to Paris” despite never truly contending for the yellow jersey.

In the neutral zone, the controlled-pace parade that sees the peloton safely out of the start town, Armstrong and his team were reprimanded by UCI officials and race judges for being out of uniform. RadioShack had shown up Sunday morning with special jerseys, black instead of red, with the number 28 centered prominently on the back. According to RadioShack team staff, the number was an allusion to the 28 million people worldwide suffering from cancer. In past Tours riders have been fined for donning non-regulation uniforms. (Armstrong’s own U.S. Postal team did so for the final stage of the centenary Tour, and sprinter Mario Cipollini was well-known for outrageous custom skinsuits.) RadioShack was ordered to change back to their traditional red-and-black kits or face disqualification.

Lance Armstrong changes jerseys at Stage 20 of the Tour de France

At first, the RadioShack riders simply grabbed their old jerseys from the team cars and, on the roll, pulled the red ones over the black. But this, too, was not allowed: The numbers were covered. So the race was temporarily slowed, then halted, fans crowded around as RadioShack riders such as Yaroslav Popovych, stopped, took off their black jerseys and pinned their race numbers onto their red jerseys. The race was delayed for 15 minutes. There it was: A disruption of the race, a testing of the outer limits of the rules, a scandal, a marketing and promotional coup, and something no one could ever remember seeing: The world’s best racers sitting beside the road pinning their numbers like any amateur Cat 4 racer in America. Armstrong, however, did it with his customary remove—without dismounting like the rest of his team, he fidgeted while mechanic Craig Geator pinned him up then, impatient, rode off with his numbers flapping in the wind in a show of defiance. (Later, the team car drove alongside him and Geator finished the pin job.). It was another love-it or hate-it moment from Armstrong, a perfect symbol of his career and his personality, and his relationship with the race that shaped both.

Lance Armstrong of the US changes back into his regular Radioshack jersey after race organizers objected against against the team riders wearing a black jersey with the number 28 on it, referring to 28 million people suffering from cancer, during the 20th and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 102.5 kilometers (63.7 miles) with start in Longjumeau and finish in Paris, France, Sunday, July 25, 2010.

On the Champs-Elysees, as Armstrong and his team accepted their trophies and listened to the applause, they stood straight and proud and waving and smiling…… in the black jerseys.

 

2010 Tour de France: Lance Armstrong, his RadioShack teammates, and team manager Johan Bruyneel ride on the Champs-Elysees during the post-stage parade of teams. Notice the sides of the bike wheels say "28 million".

Tour de France 2010!

Well, its official, the Tour de France has officially ended for 2010 and crowned its new king – Alberto Contador!

I am a little sad… nay.. depressed, and that’s because well, let me let you in on a little secret of mine….. I’m obsessed with the Tour de France. You may have noticed that I “like” the Tour, but in fact I “LOVE” the Tour. I was just restraining myself by posting every few days instead of every day. 😉

It’s true! I am.. obsessed! I have watched the Tour since I was a child. It is a part of my history. I grew up watching it every year with my Father. And now as an adult, I watch it on my own. Even when I am not able to watch it LIVE, which is usually the way I prefer to watch it, I record it to my PVR so that I can watch every agonizing and stressful second (well, on the part of the riders anyway) of the three week race. And trust me when I say, I spend anywhere between 3-6 hours everyday for three weeks glued to the television watching the race.

I would also like to specify that I am not one of these “fake fans” that jumped on the racing bandwagon when seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was competing for his seventh win. Oh no, I was a fan long before that. I was an avid watcher of the Tour de France before Greg Lemond won his first race. And yes, I am aware that I am aging myself.

For those of you who don’t know who Greg Lemond is, here’s a quick piece of info about America’s first winner of the Yellow Jersey (otherwise known around the world as the “Maillot Jaune”). Greg Lemond won the Tour three times in 1986, 1989, and 1990. One of the most exciting moments in the history of the Tour de France was in 1989 when he was battling the Frenchman Laurent Fignon for the title. On the last day of the race, there was an individual time trial along the streets of Paris and along the Champs Elysees. It was the first and last individual time trial ever on the last day of the Tour de France. Greg Lemond was almost a full minute (50 seconds) behind Laurent Fignon going into the last stage, and he wasn’t expected to even put a dent in that time difference (which was considered alot).

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was sitting on a big comfy chair in front of the television in my parents’ livingroom. I felt the stress and anxiety that Lemond was feeling as I sat on the edge of my chair holding my breath. Greg Lemond had spent the previous years perfecting his time-trailing technique and regaining his physical conditioning after a serious shooting accident in April 1987*, on the latest in cycling breakthroughs (which are nowadays considered common place) such as: wind tunnel testing, aeroframes, heart rate monitors, human power output measuring devices, protective eye wear and helmets. And now I sat there watching as this road-racing-machine-of-a-man carefully pulled back second by second of that 50 second lead that Laurent Fignon had over him.

Almost as exciting was watching Laurent Fignon’s face as his Team Director would announce the time he was losing to Greg Lemond over the entire race. Panic set in, as Laurent realized that the dream of winning the Tour de France was slipping away and there was nothing he could do about it, and no one he could blame but himself. Laurent Fignon was following Tour tradition by riding last in the individual time trial because he was the race leader.

The final result. Greg Lemond won the Tour de France by eight seconds. The narrowest margin of victory ever in the Tour de France’s then 87-year history!

Now that was exciting! And I still remember it like it was yesterday. I also remember jumping up and down on my chair cheering, and hooting and hollering, but let’s remember that I was just a kid afterall. But, yes… that is just one reason why I watch the Tour de France. And one reason, of many, why I am a true fan of the sport.

So why am I choosing to discuss it now, you ask? That’s simple, yesterday was the last day of the 2010 Tour de France. And the winner was 27 year old Spaniard Alberto Contador of Team Astana.

 

The twenty second day of racing in the Tour de France (Sunday July 25th, 2010).  Stage 20 – Longjumeau Paris Champs-Élysées. This stage was 102.5 km. The start was delayed because the RadioShack team wanted to wear black jerseys with “28” on the back, representing the 28 million people around the world living with cancer. The UCI jury insisted that the jerseys be changed to their red ones, in accordance with the race regulations. Not only did the nine riders from the squad have to replace their jerseys, they also had to ensure their race numbers were properly pinned on. This requirement caused a long delay in proceedings on the day that Lance Armstrong says will be his last day of competition.

The first hours of the final stage were spent with riders coasting along at an idle pace, toasting the events of the past three weeks and posing for photo opportunities. There was even a mock “attack” by Alberto Contador, and mock breakaway between Contador and Andy Schleck. Once the peloton arrived on the streets of Paris, the Astana team came to the front for the first crossing of the line that would be used for the finish after eight laps of the circuit on the Champs-Elysees. As usual, there were breakaways, and one lasted until 11km to go. But it was a day the sprinters dream of – crossing the finish line in P aris. On the place de la Concorde Cervelo leading to the final straight, Hushovd was in a good position to go for the victory but Cavendish started his sprint 200m from the line and everyone else was, again, racing for second. It is the HTC-Columbia rider’s fifth stage victory this year and the 15th at the Tour from four starts.

Contador won his third Tour de France. He is the ninth rider to win three titles at the Tour. Andy Schleck of Luxembourg (Team Saxo Bank) finished 39 seconds behind Contador to win second place. He also won the White Jersey as Best Young Rider (under 25). For the second straight year Andy Schleck has lost the Tour to Alberto Contador of Spain. Third place was Denis Menchov of Russia of Team Rabobank. Anthony Charteau (Team BBox Bouygues Telecom) was the winner of the Polka Dotted Jersey for the Best Mountain Climber in the Tour de France. Team Radioshack won the Overall Team Award.  The Green Jersey for the Best Sprinter in the Tour de France went to Alessandro Petacchi from Italy (Team Lampre-Farnese). He is the first Italian to win the green jersey since Francesco Bitossi in 1968 and only the second from his country to win the sprinters’ prize at the Tour. And yes.. this year’s race was just as exciting as ever! 🙂

(Astana team rider and leader’s yellow jersey Alberto Contador of Spain (C) celebrates his overall victory surrounded by Saxo Bank team rider Andy Schleck of Luxembourg (L) and Rabobank team rider Denis Menchov of Russia (R) on the podium after the final 20th stage of the 97th Tour de France cycling race between Longjumeau and Paris July 25, 2010. Contador won the Tour de France for the third time on Sunday, Schleck took second place and Menchov the third place.)
The four jersey classification winners: Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Alberto Contador (Astana), Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) and Anthony Charteau (Bbox)
RadioShack won the teams competition and took to the rostrum in their outlawed Livestrong jerseys.

*On April 20, 1987, Greg Lemond’s brother-in-law accidentally shot him while hunting in California. Over forty shotgun pellets ripped through Greg’s body, lodging not only in his back and legs, but more critically in his small intestine, liver, diaphragm, and heart lining. While waiting for rescue, his right lung collapsed and he lost three quarters of his blood supply. A cell phone, a police helicopter and nearby hospital that specialized in gun shot wounds saved his life. Because of the dangerous locations, surgeons were forced to leave over thirty of the pellets imbedded in his body.

It’s almost over??? :(

The twentieth day of racing in the Tour de France (Friday July 23rd, 2010).  Stage 18 – Salies-de-Béarn Bordeaux. This stage was 198 km. The journey north on this very flat stage included two intermediate sprints – in Castelnau-Chalosse (at 29.5km) and Hostens (150.5km). There were no climbs on a day when the conditions were mild with temperatures in the mid-20s at the start. It was a stage designed for the sprinters, and they did not let it go to waste. Although there was an early breakway, it did not last. Mark Cavendish won his fourth stage this year – and a 14th at the Tour de France over the last few years. Petacchi replaces Hushovd as the leader of the points classification for the green jersey. Cavendish’s fourth victory this year puts him just 16 points away from the green jersey. Alberto Contador will wear the yellow jersey and be the last rider to start the time trial of stage 19.

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) during the Time Trial.

The twenty first day of racing in the Tour de France (Saturday July 24th, 2010).  Stage 19 – Bordeaux Pauillac. This stage was 52 km and the INDIVIDUAL TIME TRIAL! This time trial has been looked upon for most of the tour this year as potentially (and now absolutely) the deciding factor between the 1st and 2nd place riders (Contador and Shleck) and who takes the yellow jersey in Paris. It also has become the deciding factor in the race for 3rd place between Menchov and S. Sanchez. The consensus was that Alberto Contador would be able to hold on to his yellow jersey with ease after the 19th stage time trial from Bordeaux to Pauillac. This was the appraisal based on the history of Andy Schleck’s performances in races against the clock. Yet, Andy Schleck would ride better than expected andContsador much worse. Contador looked like he was struggling for the entire race – gritting his teeth, weaving back and forth (instead of riding a hard straight line), and constantly readjusting his seating position (constantly pushing back on his seat). This was definitely a bad day in the saddle for Alberto Contador.

 Andy Schleck was able to pull two seconds out of Contador’s overall advantage after 18.2km – Schleck was 23rd and Contador 27th at the first time check. He then picked up the pace and with 30km to go, Schleck was ahead of Contador by five seconds. That was the maximum gain he made before the Spaniard clawed his way back to equal terms – and then into the lead. It wasn’t until the 7km to go mark that it seemed certain that Schleck would not take over the lead of the general classification. He got to within three seconds of the yellow jersey but then ‘El Pistolero’ confirmed that he is the finest cyclist of his generation. He may not have won a stage in the 2010 Tour but he has finished 39” ahead of Schleck, making it the fifth closest Tour in history.

Neither Contador nor Schleck were ever in contention for the stage win – that would be the domain of the TT dominator – World and Olympic champion, Fabian Cancellara. Also, third place S. Sanchez lost almost two minutes to D. Menchov in the time trial, confirming the battle for the third podium spot in Paris to Menchov. Contador rides to Paris as the 2010 Tour champion, and Andy Schleck will become the second rider to win the youth classification (White jersey) three times as he is poised to finish second overall for the second successive season. The battle is still on for the Green jersey.

Cinnamon Buns.. Mmm Mmm Good!

Last night marked my last Art of Breads class, and it definitely finished on a high note. We made Cinnamon Buns. I love cinnamon buns, but have never known how to make them. Well, now I do! There is no question they are alot of work. The dough is very sticky which only complicates things by adding to the work, but let me tell you… the final result is totally worth it!! 😀

Rolling out the dough.
Rolling up the Cinnamon Buns after all of the yummy stuff (cinnamon sugar, raisins, chopped walnuts) has been added.
Cinnamon Buns.

The countdown begins…

The twentieth day of racing in the Tour de France (Thursday July 22nd, 2010). Stage 17 – Pau Col du Tourmalet. This stage was 174 km. This final stage of the pyrenees included four climbs – the cote de Renoir (cat-4 at 13.5km), the col de Marie-Blanque (cat-1 at 56.5km), the col du Souler (cat-1 at 117.5km) and the final high pass of the 97th Tour, the ‘Hors Category’ col du Tourmalet. There was a braeaway of seven riders right from the beginning. S. Sanchez (EUS), who is placed third overall, crashed at 23km and spent considerable time on the road before remounting his bike and resuming the race. It looked to be a pretty serious crash, and that he may not even get to his feet. But he did after a few minutes flat on his back, and he was brought back up to the peloton by his team. However, it was clear for the rest of the rest he was in considerable pain and discomfort. Contador insisted that the peloton wait for the fallen rider but Sastre (CTT) ignored the request and set off in pursuit of his team-mate. The irony is Sastre met up with his team-mate briefly who gave up himself, and Sastre spent most of the race riding alone in the mountains just to be caught and eventually left behind by the peloton at the 140km mark.

Rabobank, Saxo Bank and Astana shared the work at the front of the bunch on the approach to the final climb. The seven escapees had a lead of 3 minute 5 second. Sastre was dropped with 20km to go. Schleck attacked a rapidly thinning yellow jersey group of 20-odd riders 10.5km from the finish. Only Contador could respond and with ease. Contador allowed Andy to lead him up the mountain from that point on until 3.8km to go when Alberto tested his rival with a quick acceleration, as he had no reason to attack Shleck but to sit on his wheel and wait. Schleck was able to respond with some hesitation, but Contador went back to following Andy’s wheel. The pair rode this way all the way to the summit and Andy crossed the line just ahead of Alberto to take his second stage victory in the 2010 Tour but gain no advantage on his main rival and the leader of the general classification who will wear the yellow jersey in stage 18. This pair gained time on all their rivals and confirmed that they are a class above the rest of the peloton in the 97th Tour de France.

The only thing that bothered me about Andy Schleck’s stage win was that Contador literally handed it to him. Shleck didn’t earn it. So he led up the mountain, and Contador rode on his wheel?! Who cares! That’s what bike racing is about – forcing the person who is not in the lead to work and try to gain time on the leader. It happens every stage, of every bike race, and not just in the Tour de France. There was no question that after some people had unfairly criticized Contador for passing and leaving behind Schleck on stage 15, he felt he couldn’t pass Andy at the end and go for the stage victory. Heck, he even felt the need to have to post an apology online before stage 16. Which is really the most unfortunate part of all – turning a great competitive sport of strong determination, endurance and athleticism into a sad game of political correctness.

Only one week left…. ;0)

The road into the Pyrenees have begun….. Let the battle begin! 😉

The sixteenth day of racing in the Tour de France (Sunday July 18, 2010). Stage 14 – Revel Ax 3 Domaines. This stage was 184.5 km. The first stage in the Pyrenees  had two intermediate sprints – in Mirepoix (at 51.5km) and Campagne-sur-Aude (102km) but the real features of the stage were the two climbs in the final 50km. The first is rated ‘Hors Category’ Port de Pailheres’ – a 1.5km long ascent with the top a the 155.5km mark, and the second the final climb to Ax-3 Domaines (category-one, 1.5km from the finish). There was an attack in the opening kilometer by 12 riders. At the base of the first climb, the pelaton was behind 9 of the escapees.  Riblon, Van de Walle and Moinard were leading the stage.  Then with 2km to climb, Riblon was on his own at the front of the stage. At the top Riblon led Moinard by 37”; Van de Walle by 1’30”. On the descent of the Pailheres a group of five formed in pursuit of Riblon. Riblon attacked the final climb and had the benefit of the rivalry between Schleck and Contador who marked each other so much that they allowed rivals like S. Sanchez, Menchov, Gesink and Rodriguez to race ahead of them. Five kilometers from the finish, Contador was the only Astana rider left and he would attack twice before the finish – both times Schleck and Menchov were able to respond… and, seeing that he couldn’t gain time on the yellow jersey he allowed others to race ahead but both Contador and Schleck paced themselves into a group with GC rivals before the finish. By then, however, Riblon was over the top and raced onward to his first victory in the Tour de France. He had only seven pro victories before this day, including a stage of the Rud du Sud in Luchon (site of tomorrow’s stage finish) but now he’s a stage winner of the Tour de France. Andy Schleck maintained his lead over Contador and will wear the yellow jersey in stage 15.  

The seventeenth day of racing in the Tour de France (Monday July 19, 2010). Stage 15 – Pamiers Bagnères-de-Luchon. This stage was 187.5 km. The course from Pamiers to Bagneres-de-Luchon featured two intermediate sprints – in Clermont (55km) and Fronsac (136km) – and four categorized climbs: the Carla-Bayle (cat-4 at 30km), col de Portet d’Aspet (cat-2 at 105km), the col des Ares (cat-2 at 126.5km) and the ‘Hors Category’ Port de Bales (166km). There were attacks from kilometer zero to 35km but none were able to gain any advantage on the peloton. No escape was allowed any leeway until the 93km mark when seven were involved in the initial move, but three others came across at 95km. Three were dropped from the lead group thus prompting Voeckler to attack 8km from the top of the Port de Bales. It would prove to be the winning move, and the first time that a French champion has won a stage of the Tour since Jacky Durand in Cahors in 1994.

With about 3km to climb, Schleck launched an attack from the elite GC group that included Contador, Van den Broeck, Menchov and S. Sanchez. He quickly opened up a solid lead and appeared destined to increase his advantage on the rider in second place. After about 20 pedal strokes, however, his chain fell from the front derailleur and got stuck near the bottom bracket of his yellow bike. Vinokourov took up chase first, then shortly behind was Contador, both of whom were in full counter attack mode (before his chain had even been knocked off), and ultimately passed Shleck. Later the debate was to become whether Andy Schleck in his rough attack caused the mechanical mishap as a result or if it was just bad luck. Schleck eventually remedied the situation with the help of the neutral mechanci, but he had already lost valuable seconds. Contador was also quickly followed by Menchov and Sanchez. At the top, this trio was 13 seconds ahead of Schleck – who was chasing furiously for the final moments of the climb, passing the likes of Armstrong and Kloden like they were standing still. Although he got to within 22” of Contador on the descent, Schleck lost 39” to the Spaniard at the finish. Contador will wear the yellow jersey in stage 16.

The most unfortunate thing occurred during the presentation of the yellow jersey to Contador when there were some loud ‘boos’ heard from some people in the audience because he didn’t wait for Shleck to get his bike fixed. Don’t these spectators realize that this a bike race?!  Of course he doesn’t wait. Sheesh! Besides, its not like Andy Shleck waited for Lance Armstrong on the cobblestones when he had a mechanical incident. Nope, he took off with an attack.

The eighteenth day of racing in the Tour de France (Tuesday July 20, 2010). Stage 16 – Bagnères-de-Luchon Pau. This stage was 199.5 km. The stage had two intermediate sprints – in Bielle (164.5km) and Gan (185.5km) – and the big features were four huge passes: the cat-1 col de Peyresourde (11km), the cat-1 col d’Apsin (42.5km), the ‘Hors Category’ col du Tourmalet (72km), followed by another ‘HC’ climb, the col d’Aubisque (138km). Right from the start, the attacks began and by 5km, 18 established an escape including Lance Armstrong. The lead group was reduced to 11 on the second climb. Casar attacked the descent of Col d’Aspinand arrived at the base of the Tourmalet with a lead of 20seconds. Armstrong caught Casar at 51km. Armstrong was caught by Cunego and Fedrigo at 62km. With 9km to climb theCol du Tourmalet, Casar, Moreau and Van de Walle joined the lead group, then came Horner, Plaza and Barredo caught the lead group at 65km. The peloton arrived at the base of the col d’Aubisque 6 mins 25 seconds behind the 10 escapees. They worked up a lead of 7 minutes 30 seconds. With 13km to climb, Armstrong attacked and only Barredo, Cunego, Fedrigo and Plaza could follow. Armstrong attacked the lead group but four others were able to match his accelerations. Barredo was aggressive on the final climb but he couldn’t shake his rivals and the eight arrived at the top of the Aubisque together. Contador’s group reached the top 9 minutes 50seconds behind. Casar caught the eight leaders with 47km to go.  With 45km to go, Barredo attacked the escapees and no one responded, 5km later he had a lead of 40”. He would hover about 25 seconds ahead of the lead/chase group and only get caught with 1,100m to go. Then the race for stage honors began. The Caisse d’Epargne pair in the escape led the eight riders to the line and all of them were in the hunt for the win – although Armstrong appeared happy to start the sprint from second-last place… once Fedrigo hit the turbo button, it was clear everyone else was racing for second. He took the win a bike length ahead of Casar. It’s his third victory in the Tour de France. Hushovd led the peloton home, 6 minutes 45 seconds behind Fedrigo, taking six points and regaining the lead in the points classification for the green jersey. Contador still in yellow.

The nineteenth day of racing in the Tour de France (Wednesday July 21, 2010) is actually the second REST DAY.

And even MORE Tour de France…

The eleventh day of racing in the Tour de France (Tuesday July 13, 2010). Stage 9 – Morzine-Avoriaz Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. This stage was 204.5 km. This was the first stage of the 97th Tour that featured only two intermediate sprints; they were in Cluses (25.5km) and La Bathie (135.5km). On the menu were five climbs, including the first ‘Hors Category’ col this year. Points for the polka-dot jersey were won at the côte de Châtillon (cat-4 at 18.5km), col de la Colombière (cat-1 at 46km), col des Aravis (cat-2 at 71km), col des Saisies (cat-1 at 97km) and col de la Madeleine (‘Hors Category’ at 172.5km). There was a breakaway including Sandy Casar who ultimately won the stage. On the Col de la Madeleine, Cadel Evans cracked (later revealing that he had broken his elbow the day before in the crash). Andy Schleck, the Luxembourger, took the yellow jersey for the first time. The Best Young rider is now the leader of the Tour.

The twelfth day of racing in the Tour de France (Wednesday July 14th, 2010). Stage 10 – Chambéry Gap. This stage was 179 km. The route included two intermediate sprints – in La Buissiere (at 19.5km) and La Fare-en-Champsaur (158.5km). It was an undulating stage but only three hills were categorized: the Laffrey climb (cat-1 at 77km), Terrasses (cat-3 at 98km), and col du Noyer (cat-2 at 145.5km). Lance Armstrong, the leader of the RadioShack team conceded that his race for the overall victory was over. But in Gap the winner gave Lance’s RadioShack squad a reward in its first appearance in the Tour. At the 36km mark, Aerts (OLO), Devenyns (QST), Paulinho (RSH) and Kiryienka (GCE) escaped. Paulinho was part of an escape group of six that eventually formed after a fast, aggressive start. And that’s when the peloton opted to remain calm on a very hot day of racing. The escape succeeded, and Paulinho was the strongest man. He beat Vasili Kiryienka in a two-man sprint.

The thirteenth day of racing in the Tour de France (Thursday July 15th, 2010). Stage 11 – Sisteron Bourg-lès-Valence. This stage was 184.5 km. It was a day for the sprinters. Yes, there was an attack. Yes, it went early. No, it never gained enough time to even look like succeeding. On this ‘flat’ stage were two intermediate sprints – the first in Montlaur-en-Diois (at 83.5km), the second in Mirabel-et-Blacons (130km). There is just one climb, the category-three col de Cabre (at 56.5km). Mark Cavendish won his third stage in this year’s Tour, and the 13th of his career. But not without major controversy, and ultimately a disqualification for Mark Cavendish’s lead-out man Mark Renshaw. Mark Renshaw first was head buttingGarmin-Transition’s lead-out man Julian Dean (for Tyler Farrar). Then purposely cut off Farrar from sprinting for the finish line. He was kicked out of the Tour for unsportsman-like behaviour.

The fourteenth day of racing in the Tour de France (Friday July 16, 2010). Stage 12 – Bourg-de-Péage Mende. This stage was 210.5 km. The 210.5km race included two intermediate sprints – in Mariac at 74.5km and Langogne 158.5km – and five climbs. The points for the polka-dot jersey were awarded at Saint-Barthelemy-le-Plain (cat-3 at 31km), col des Nonieres (cat-3 at 59km), Suc de Montivernoux (cat-2 at 96km), La Mouline (cat-3 at 133km) and the final test up the Croix Neuve – or ‘Montée Laurent Jalabert’ as it’s also known – two kilometers from the finish. The last climb carried double points. There were a number of escapes that were lost then caught throughout the race. With 3km to go, Rodriguez (KAT) attacked the yellow jersey’s peloton and only Contador could respond. This pair caught Vinokourov (the last of the escapees) with 2km to go. Contador made up 10 seconds on  Andy Schleck for the yellow jesrsey.

The fifteenth day of racing in the Tour de France (Saturday July 17, 2010). Stage 13 – Rodez Revel. This stage was 196 km.  On the undulating course in the Averyon and Tarn departments, there were five categorized climbs, they were at Mergais (cat-4 at 24km), Begon (cat-4 at 31.5km), Ambialet (cat-3 at 72km), Puylaurens (cat-4 at 125km) and the final climb on the circuit near Revel, the côte de Saint-Ferréol (cat-3, 7.5km from the finish). The intermediate sprints were in Saint-Jean-Delnous (47km) and Caraman (158km). Although he won the  ‘Fighting Spirit’ prize for being the most aggressive rider on Friday, for Alexandre Vinokourov that wasn’t good enough and he wanted to win the stage.  and he did just that in Revel after a stunning attack on the final climb which spoiled the hopes of the sprinters who raced in to the town. Andy Schleck is still in the yellow jersey.

Raspberry Chiffon Cheese Cake

In Art of Cakes class we made a Raspberry Chiffon Cheese Cake. Now its not like what you would consider a “typical” cheese cake. Not like that of a traditional New York style cheese cake with its thick, rich, decadent and heavier texture. No, this cheese cake is more of a cross between a traditional cheese cake and a chiffon cake. Its lighter in taste and in texture. Even the texture of the cake itself is not that ultra creamy filling you would think of in regards to a traditional cheese cake, but somewhere between what a chiffon cake would be, yet a bit creamier like that of a cheese cake. Its hard to explain. Its like nothing else I have ever tried in a dessert.

Now the filling of the cheese cake is where the differences lie. However, the topping and the crust are like a traditional cheese cake. The crust is a graham cracker crust combined with ground almonds. The topping was a thick raspberry sauce made from IQF (Individually Quick Frozen fruit) frozen raspberries. Yum!

Raspberry Chiffon Cheesecake.

I will admit that this cake is very delicious, and it works really well for a hot summer day because of its texture. But I must also admit, that being a self-proclaimed Master Cheese Cake Baker ( 😉 ), I know a thing or two about cheese cakes. And personally, I prefer my creations much better only because of one simple thing – every bite is filled with enormous amounts of flavour. I found that with this chiffon cheese cake you have to make sure to get a bit of the crust and the raspberry sauce in every bite to get alot of flavour. While when I create one of my “World Famous” cheese cakes, every bite has delicious flavours no matter how you slice it. 😉 But maybe that’s just me. Ha! 😀