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    Sweet Smell Of Success

    Blessed are the cheese makers: following fromage at the Tour of Britain.
    Words
    Andy McGrath
    Photographs
    Tour of Britain

Brie, Gruyere, Camembert, Stilton, Wensleydale. We're not fussy. Pile it on our plate, please.

We like our cheese almost as much as we like our attackers. So before last year's race, we reckoned we'd combine the two for the Rouleur Combativity Award.

As well as being an instant post-stage calorie replacer, the cheeses give a quirky culinary roadmap of the places the Tour of Britain has visited.

From savoury, salty St James in Cumbria, to pongy Beenleigh Blue stinking out the Madison Genesis bus under the Devon sun, it's been quite a journey.

After a pungent first outing last year, our marketing man Sam came armed with a refrigerated cooler box for his week of transporting the assorted quarries around this fair nation.

He fared little better. Unfortunately, the cooler's vent often wafted the odour into his face meaning he is now desensitised to any scent of cheese. Fans seemed to like our dairy daring. But what do the recipients themselves think?

What are they going to do with it? How were their breakaways? And do they even like cheese?

Anthony Delaplace (Sojasun), stage one, Isle of Mull cheese

"Is it cow or goat cheese? I haven't eaten it yet. It's for after Sunday's stage. My favourite cheese is Comté.

["Camembert!" comes shout from open Sojasun bus window] Well, I'm a Norman. Calvados, Camembert.

The finish was a kilometre too far [on stage four], it came back, but I still took pleasure in that break. I like being out in front better than following in the bunch, waiting. The Team Sky way of riding is one I don't care so much for. There's a breakaway, they ride, then it's brought back. Always. Among the professionals, it's always a bit like that in the big races. For attackers like me, it's a shame.

"In the future, I'd like to be French champion and win a stage of the Tour de France. Those are my two big aims: it'll be hard, but there you go." 

Angel Madrazo (Movistar), stage two, St James 

Rouleur [rudimentary Spanish]: "Il queso...

Angel: "Ah, il queso. Si?"

Rouleur: "Es bueno?"

Angel: "Yes, it's in the bus, I'll be sharing it with my team."

Tom Scully (Team Raleigh), stage four winner, Hafod

"It was pretty cool to win that cheese. It's in one of the vans, we haven't packed into it yet. I don't mind a bit of cheese after dessert. I know my teammate Alex [Blain] is really keen on it. Being from France he's told me a lot about it. I have mine with caramelised onions, I'm partial to a bit of crackers and chutney too."

Jacob Rathe (Garmin-Sharp), stage five, Gorwydd Caerphilly

"I don't like cheese. Other people do though, so someone will eat it. It's a gift [to them]. The strangest prize I've ever received at a cycling race was a chainsaw blade, a long time ago, from one in Oregon. I didn't use it to cut anything, it sits in my house."

Liam Holohan (Madison Genesis), stage six, Beenleigh Blue

"You're doing a blog about cheese? Want some cheesy puns? Or will that grate on your nerves?

"Getting in the breakaway yesterday was one of the highlights of my year. It's amazing being on home roads, people shouting your name, the support on Twitter and things like that. It's nice to pay Roger Hammond back, he's put so much into the team and is so supportive. To see him chuffed at the end made it all worthwhile.

"As for the cheese, we don't know how to look after it. We don't know if it has to be refrigerated or whatever... I'll ask the lads if they want a cut and divvy it up if they do. I might keep it for my wedding in December, serve with some crackers. There's a story behind it then, in't there?"

comments

09/26/2013 - 00:23

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