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Richie Porte climbs higher on Tour de France general classification as Miguel Angel Lopez wins epic mountain stage


Australia’s Richie Porte gritted his teeth and delivered a brave performance to finish fifth on the most difficult stage yet of this year’s Tour de France which finished at the summit of Col de la Loze.

The fifth placing on the stage moved Porte up from sixth overall to fourth in the general classification as Colombia’s Miguel Angel Lopez took advantage of the high altitudes so familiar to him in his native country and sprinted clear in the final kilometres to take the stage victory.

The win moved him into third position overall behind yellow jersey wearer Primoz Roglic, who was second on the stage ahead of his nearest rival and fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

“I feel emotional because of the work done at home with my family, my wife, my son, I dedicate this victory to them,” Lopez said.

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Lopez moved to within 1:26 of Roglic, who extended his lead over Pogacar to 57 seconds after the two engaged in an epic duel to the finish line, in which Roglic seemed to break his younger countryman’s spirit.

The pair, along with Porte and Roglic’s Jumbo-Visma teammate Sepp Kuss, had already engaged in a tough battle that started during the final ascent, which included gradients of 24 per cent on the final 21 kilometre climb.

“It was again a good day for us,” Roglic said.

“Of course, I always want to win but I gained some time and I saw that others had problems. I knew I could gain time today and that’s what we did.”

Painful climb to the finish

With four kilometres to go Kuss took off when the man who had led for much of the day — Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz — came back to the small chasing pack, but he was followed by Lopez who had far more speed.

Commentators speculated at the time that it was a poor move for Kuss to leave his teammate and yellow jersey wearer but Roglic confirmed it was all part of a plan.

“Also, the others tried to chase him back and it helped me realise many guys around me were struggling.”

Australia's Richie Porte wearing white rides up a French peak, mouth open as another cyclist smiles from behind.
Richie Porte pushes through the pain as he battles Sepp Kuss to the finish line on stage 17 of the 2020 Tour de France.(Reuters: Stephane Mahe)

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Porte did well just to hang on for as long as he did, having been dropped a few metres off the back of Roglic and Pogacar as they sought to jostle for second, but on multiple occasions the Australian managed to get back on their tail.

However with two kilometres to go the Slovenians showed their class and finally dropped the dogged Australian, who eventually crossed the line with American Kuss.

Porte finished the stage in fourth overall on the general classification 3’05” behind Roglic and 1’39” behind third-placed Lopez

Fans ignore COVID-19 protocols

Masked Tour de France fans converge as leading riders make a large climb.
Tour de France fans crowd around Tadej Pogacar as he makes the final climb to the stage 17 finish.(Supplied: SBS Television)

Present for the stage was French President Emmanuel Macron, but he was far from the only one and it would be hard to imagine that Tour organisers were happy with scenes that were beamed across the world as the leaders made the final climb.

This year’s Tour set against the backdrop of the global coronavirus pandemic has seen riders frequently tested and the usual crowds sparse, but that was not the case as large numbers of cycling fans closed in on the road and leaders during the final climb.

After the stage Mr Macron told reporters: “It’s extremely important to show that we can live with the virus.”

ABC/Reuters



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Chef Miguel Maestre on how to cook with pantry staples


From restaurant closures to supermarket restrictions, the pandemic has caused many families and picky eaters to make the most of what they already have in their kitchen cupboards.

Whether seasoned chefs or complete novices, people have become more adventurous as they experiment with staple ingredients from their pantry, fridge and freezers to make budget-friendly, quick and easy meals.

Likewise those who overstocked on basics like flour and pasta – restricted items during the early days – may be wondering how to use them up.

Chefs like Miguel Maestro agree having an organised pantry is the key better cooking and can provide a sense of safety and control during uncertain times.

Not only can shelves filled with bags of rice and cans of beans give us a sense of order, they’re also the beginning of many excellent meals.

Other staples such as canned vegetables and fish and dried herbs last a long time and can often eliminate the need for a stop on the way home.

“Pantry staples are perfect for whipping up a quick meal,” Maestre said.

“The secret is to keep it simple and pair your staples with fresh ingredients. That way you’ll help to lift the flavour and colours in your dish.

“You can cook up a delicious dinner using just pasta, tinned tomatoes and olive oil with fresh chilli, garlic and herbs, or a healthy salad with canned beans, brown mushrooms, onion, chopped olives and kewpie mayo.”

For mum-of-four Racquel Bechara said having a pantry full of grains, dried beans and lentils and a stash of onions, ginger and garlic meant endless meal opportunities.

Ms Bechara said it was important to be able to pull together meals quickly.

“I can make a lot of different things with staple ingredients,” she said.

“I’m relying on different spice powders and herbs that can flavour our meals in different ways so my kids don’t get sick of the same thing.”

Dietitian Melissa Meier said it was important to play around with different preparations of staples in order to find several that you enjoy.

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Canned and dry goods are no-brainers when it comes to making healthful meals.

Beans, rice and lentils are all good big batch foods which can be transformed into a variety of dishes, from wintry soups to warm salads.

Canned tuna and chickpeas are ideal picks for a hearty pasta dish mixed with frozen vegetables.

Polarising foods like mushrooms may render a dish inedible for some, but they are known to be nutritious, environmentally friendly and can add a meaty texture to meals.

“You can add mushrooms to fried rice, in pasta or risotto dishes, even over steak or chicken,” Ms Meier said.

“With their meaty flavour, they’re also a great vegetarian alternative in traditional mincemeat dishes like spaghetti bolognese and shepherd’s pie.”

For those looking for a kid-friendly way to cook and eat mushrooms, Maestre – an Australian Mushrooms ambassador suggests masking them with crumbs, sauces or herbs.

“It’s an easy way to sneak in those veggies,” he said.

Maestre will give viewers tips and tricks live from his kitchen from June 10-26 at 6pm on the Australian Mushrooms Facebook event page.



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