(Hossegor (France)) “Belgian? »

– Non

– Suisse ?

– Néééon… I give you one last chance.

His eyes lit up under his beret: “Québécois!” »

The Bayonne ham grinder attendant was proud of her success. Left in the plan in the Spanish Basque Country, the stomach of the follower was awaited firmly in the French Basque Country.

Pieces chosen from the menu in the press room: veal axoa with Espelette peppers, grapefruit couscous, Manech blackhead sheep cheese and, therefore, the famous ham, made in this region alone according to a precise recipe. Soft as you wish, seasoned with a pinch of white salt from Salies-de-Béarn, embellished with a little touch of red: the Bayonnais know how to do it.

Even the sweet-toothed – I’ll let you guess if that’s my case – were able to feast on the traditional Basque cake and local chocolate. Bayonne is the French capital and launched its manufacturing technique which has spread throughout the country.

The buffet was perfect for this rather hectic first stage reserved for sprinters.

The Neilson Powless polka dot jersey extended its lead in the mountain standings by gobbling up all four short climbs listed.

After greeting the Basques at the top of the last, the American from EF Education let Laurent Pichon, his only breakaway companion, go. The Frenchman from Arkea was crunched and digested by the peloton past Saint-Jean-de-Luz, about forty kilometers further.

We admired the lush mountains of the Spanish Basque Country one last time by taking the off-course route. The cyclists skirted the coast like the publicity caravan, which we were not sorry to see take off before our arrival at the departure town of Amorebieta.

Irún is the last Spanish city that the Tour passed through. Luis Mariano was born there, which inspired the journalist-historian of France Télévisions to hum the greatest hits of the Basque operetta singer to Bayonne, we learned during the broadcast of the event.

I know of one who would have got stuck on the bottom of the moving car.

We immediately understood that we had arrived in France when the taxi behind us began to honk at the toll, judging that waiting for a receipt was not a valid reason. As a result, we gave him the right of way, to stall between the Intermarché and Israel-Premier Tech buses, driven by the friendly Pole Robert Walczak.

We sleep in the Landes tonight, facing the marine lake of Hossegor.

The receptionist warned me to pay close attention to the oyster growing areas in front of the hotel. Before the final writing sprint, I took a dip, as they say here.

By tasting the salt water, I understood what a marine lake meant, that the sea water comes in and goes out with the tides. Its food comes from the Atlantic, which we hear rumbling in the distance, from a channel drilled by man.

It seems that at low tide, tomorrow morning, I will see the oysters appear. She didn’t say if we’d have any for lunch.