Blackberry Marshmellow Pops, and Matcha Tea & Sesame Brownies

Saturday’s Chocolate Desserts class was the very class for this term. No more classes until the Fall. What we ended up making in the last class was: Blackberry Marshmallow on top of a Champagne Milk Chocolate Ganache pops dipped in Dark Chocolate, and a Matcha Tea Brownie with Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache topping dipped in Milk chocolate and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds. 😀

Matcha Tea Brownie with Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache, Dipped in Chocolate, and Sprinkled with Sesame Seeds.
Blackberry Marshmallow on top of a Champagne Milk Chocolate Ganache pops dipped in Dark Chocolate. 🙂
Close-up shot of the Blackberry Marshmallow Pops.

And the 2011 Tour de France Winner is… Cadel Evans! :)


And the winner of the 2011 Tour de France is Australian Cadel Evans from Team BMC! In fact, he is the first Australian to ever win the Tour. In the past he has come awfully close, placing second twice by less than one minute (23 seconds behind Alberto Contador in 2007 and 58 seconds behind Carlos Sastre in 2008).  The BMC team leader was never worse than fourth place in the general classification and, with his second place in the time trial in Grenoble the previous day, he acquired the yellow jersey. This was Cadel’s seventh at the Tour de France.

Tour de France Top 3 (L to R: 2nd place, Andy Schleck, Winner Cadel Evans, and 3rd place Frank Schleck).
Top four category jersey winners for the 2011 Tour de France: (L to R: White Jersey Pierre Rolland, Polka-Dot Jersey Samuel Sanchez, Green Jersey Mark Cavendish, and Yellow Jersey Cadel Evans).

This final stage of the Tour de France started off slow, the riders took over half an hour to roll through the 7.7km neutral zone before arriving at the site of the official start of the 21st stage of the 98th Tour de France. The final day of racing in the 2011 edition began at 3.02pm with 167 riders in the peloton. There were no climbs in the stage and the intermediate sprint came on the Avenue des Champs-ElysĂ©es with 35.5km to go. After an hour and 26 minutes of riding the peloton reached the finishing circuit on the Champs-ElysĂ©es. It was on the second lap of the circuit, that the attackes started and there was the first successful escape. At the end, after the last of the escapees was caught, the traditional line-up for the sprint: Goss then Renshaw then Cavendish and… victory number 20 was achieved for Cavendish. It is the third time that Cavendish has finished the Tour and he’s won in Paris each time. It is the first time however, that he is the winner of the green jersey. Andy and FrĂ€nk Schleck finished second and third overall.

The winners of the four Tour de France Jerseys are:
* Final overall classification (Winner of the Tour de France – Yellow Jersey) – Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing
* Final points classification (Top Sprinter of the Tour de France – Green Jersey) – Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad 
* Final mountains classification (Top Mountain Climber of the Tour de France – Polka-Dot Jersey) – Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
* Final youth classification (Best Young Rider Under the Age of 25 in the Tour de France – White Jersey) – Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar

Tour de France 2011, stage 21: CrĂ©teil to Paris Champs-ÉlysĂ©es, 95km
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad

2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
3. Andre Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Cervelo
5. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard-Trek
6. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
7. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Astana
9. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quick Step
10. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun all same time

Final overall classification
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing

2. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 1-34
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek at 2-30
4. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar at 3-20
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 3-57
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 4-55
7. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 6-05
8. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 7-23
9. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Cervelo at 8-15
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 10-11
31. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 1-00-48
76. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 2-14-56
130. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad at 3-15-05
137. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 3-18-07

Final points classification (green jersey)
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) HTC-Highroad 334 points
2. Jose Rojas (Spa) Movistar 272 points
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 236 points

Final mountains classification (polka-dot jersey)
1. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 108 points

2. Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard-Trek 98 points
3. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 74 points

Final youth classification (white jersey)
1. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar

2. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 46 sec
3. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 7-53

Team classification
1. Garmin-Cervelo

Team Garmin Cervelo - Winner of Team Classification at 2011 Tour de France.

Individual Time Trial…

Stage 20 – Grenoble  – Grenoble – 42.5 km

Today was Stage 20 – Individual Time Trial, and deciding factor forthe 2011 Tour de France! Cadel Evans not only got the second fastest time in today’s Time Trial, he became the virtual leader of the Tour de France before the halfway mark of the 42.5 km time trial of stage 20. By the 27.5 km mark, he had more than double the time he needed to win the title. Tony Martin was the fastest in the race that started and finished in Grenoble.

The final true challenge for the riders vying for overall honours in the 2011 Tour de France was a 42.5 km time trial that started and finished in Grenoble. There were 166 riders still in the race. Riders departed at two-minute intervals until the final 21, when the racers were separated by three minutes. The roads were wet at the start, it was overcast but it had stopped raining by the time the action actually got underway.

The first to start the 20th stage began the penultimate stage of the 98th edition at 10.26am. The 121st rider to start the stage was Tony Martin (THR). He won the TT of the Criterium du DauphinĂ© on the same course as the one used for stage 20 of the Tour and he set the best time at every check and riding a perfect stage on dry roads. It appeared that the stage was decided early in the day, the battle for the victory of the Tour was on right to the end. Cadel Evans (BMC) became the virtual leader of the Tour with 20km to go in the time trial when he made up the 57 seconds he lagged behind Andy Schleck after 3,292.5km of race. Then, at the 27.5km mark, Evans was only seven seconds shy of Martin’s time.

Cadel Evans will ride to Paris, wearing the yellow jersey, with a lead of 1 minute and 3seconds over the former race leader thanks to his second place in the stage! 🙂

Thor Hushovd Wins Another Mountain Stage? Huh?!

Stage 16 Saint-Paul-Trois-ChĂąteaux –  Gap – 162.5 km

Today was a crazy stage! What should have been a slower, even predictably uneventful stage, turned into another surprising stage. Again, Thor Hushovd – a sprinter – wins a mountain stage (his tenth overall Tour de France stage); and a battle erupted amongst the GC riders. Where did that come from?! What can I say? It was exciting! 😛

The race was 162.5km with the intermediate sprint at Veynes (117.5km) and the only categorized climb of the day coming 11.5km from the finish, the col de Manse (category-two). There were 170 riders at the sign in.

It was a transitional stage of sorts – not flat lands or high mountain, but a medium mountain stage – and an escape was expected to succeed.  It took 100 kilometers before the peloton allowed the breakaway any room to move, but when they did that’s just what happened. They would reach a maximum gain of six minutes and it was this margin that allowed three men to race ahead of seven other escape companions and contest the sprint for the win in stage 16. Thor Hushovd proved that he was not just a sprinter but a powerhouse, and he claimed his 10th Tour stage win in Gap just ahead of his compatiot Edvald Boasson Hagen and team-mate Ryder Hesjedal. This was one story of the day, the other involved the GC riders.

Alberto Contador attacked the final climb and began to taunt his overall rivals who initially matched his acceleration but then they came again and again… the third time it was enough to shake Voeckler from his group as well as Andy and Frank Schleck. But the Australian who was in third overall moved up to second by the end of the day with Cadel Evans not only matching Contador but speeding ahead of him on the wet descent to Gap.

Ignatiev started to attack the escape group, and he made his first surge 25km from the finish but Hushovd chased him down. At the base of the 9.5km long climb, the Russian attacked again and led under the 20km to go sign by 15 seconds while the peloton was at 5 minutes and 55seconds.

While a battle between overall title contenders was going on behind, the race for stage honours became a three-man race with Canadian cyclist Ryder Hesjedal aggressive on the climb and also the final descent. The leading trio included two compatriots but, more importantly, two team-mates. And it was the helping hand that Ryder Hesjedal could give Thor Hushovd that gave the world champion a winning advantage. Hushovd followed his two escape companions under the ‘Flamme Rouge’ and then timed his sprint to perfection to claim his 10th stage victory in the Tour de France and his second for the 2011 edition.

With 7km to climb there was an attack from Alberto Contador. He opened up a decent lead but Cancellara paced an elite group across to the Spaniard and there were six in the lead of the peloton. Voeckler (EUC), Evans (BMC), Frank and Andy Schleck (LEO) were all able to respond. But then the defending champion attacked again several times. Only Evans and Sanchez (EUS) could respond. Voeckler lost time in the stage because he couldn’t follow every move, although he did try. Meanwhile the Schleck brothers both suffered time losses to their main rivals in the race for GC honours. Voeckler retained the yellow jersey with an advantage of 1 minute and 45 seconds to Evans.

A Sprinter Wins a Mountain Stage?!! :)

Stage 13 Pau – Lourdes – 152.5 km

What can I say? What an exciting day! Who would have thought that a sprinter would win a big mountain stage?! Fantastic!! 😀

Thor Hushovd spent seven days in the lead of the 2011 Tour de France but vowed to win a stage of the race while wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey and today he confirmed his versatility and sheer power. He paced himself to perfection, fighting hard to get into an escape group that took a long time to establish, then managing the mountains of the Pyrenees and then timing his finishing surge like the true professional he is. It is Hushovd’s ninth victory in the Tour de France that has included success in a time trial (the prologue in 2006), sprint wins, escapes victories, and triumphs on the pave of stage three last year.

A the start of the 152.5km 13th stage of the 2011 Tour de France, there were 174 riders at the sign in.  The itinerary took riders over three climbs: the cat-3 cote de Cuqueron (43.5km), the cat-4 cote de Belair (65km) and the 16.4km ascent of the col d’Aubisque (a hors categorie climb that peaked at 110km). It was a fast start with lots of attacks early, but nothing was allowed to gain any advantage until after the first hour of racing.

As the race neared the end, the riders had to ride over the col du Soulor before descending to the finish in Lourdes. Roy’s advantage over Hushovd and Moncoutie dwindled in the dying kilometers of the stage: 35 seconds with 15km to go, 16 seconds with 10km to go, 12seconds with 5km to go. It was when we saw the surge from Hushovd with 3km to go, it was clear that he was just biding his time. He attacked Moncoutie with such ferocity that it took only 800m to catch Roy. With 2.2km to go, the world champion was in the lead. Roy faded in the finale and was overtaken by Moncoutie who finished 10 seconds behind the first (road race) world champion to win a stage of the Tour since Oscar Freire claimed a sprint win early in the 2002 edition. Voeckler retained the yellow jersey.

Week Two of the Tour de France…

Stage 10 Aurillac – Carmaux – 158 km

After Monday’s rest day, Tuesday was a nice short stage – only 158km.

Stage 11 – Blaye-les-Mines – Lavaur – 167.5 km

Wednesday July 13, 2011 marked the eleventh stage ofthe Tour de France.

Stage 12 – Cugnaux  Luz-Ardiden – 211 km
In today’s stage, it was a day of big expectations and even bigger mountains, including the infamous Col du Tourmalet.

More Carnage in the Tour de France..

Stage 8 Aigurande   Super-Besse Sancy  – 189 km
Saturday July 9, 2011 was the eigth stage of the Tour de France.

Stage 9 Issoire   Saint-Flour – 208 km
Sunday July 10, 2001 was the ninth stage and in my opinion, one of the worst stages I have ever seen. Some of the biggest names in racing were eliminated with a nasty crash. Yet the worst part of all was when a car veered into one of the five leading break-away cyclists, which also resulted in the horrendous crash of a second cyclist in that five-man break-away group. Definitely one of the most dangerous and upsetting sights I have seen in all my years of watching the Tour de France!

Today, Monday July 11, 2011 was a rest day. And thank goodness for that! Hopefully they can try and recover a bit after such a horrifically dangerous first week of cycling. 🙂

Tour de France 2011 Begins! Yay!! :)

Saturday was the first day of the 2011 Tour de France! Yay! 🙂

This is a breakdown of this year’s race:
The Route:
Running from Saturday July 2nd to Sunday July 24th 2011, the 98th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,471 kilometres (before approval).

These stages have the following profiles:

  • 10 flat stages,
  • 6 mountain stages and 4 summit finishes,
  • 3 medium mountain stages,
  • 1 individual time-trial stage (41 km).
  • 1 team time-trial stage (23 km).

Stage 1 – Passage du Gois – Mont des Alouettes – 191.5 km

In past years, Stage 1 was a Prologue. This year it was a road race. And an extremely exciting one at that!

Stage 2 – Les Essarts – Les Essarts – 23 km
Sunday was Stage 2, and the team time trial.

Stage 3 – Olonne-sur-Mer – Redon – 198 km

Today was Stage 3, and a road race.