The first stage after the rest day took us to the banks of the Dordogne in Bergerac. We nipped into the watershed of the Dordogne last year, but then we were more interested in the navigation on the upper reaches of the river. Today, we passed through the Vallées des Beunes which is a Natura 2000 site on the Beune, a system of rivers which is a tributary of the Vézère, itself a tributary of the Dordogne. We are once again on limestone bedrock. The resulting karst landscape around Les Eyzies includes many caves, including the caves of Lascaux home to the famous cave paintings.
The limestone also produces a set of alkaline environments in the Vallées des Beunes, including unique alkaline wet meadows that are called fenasses. The fenasses seem to be incredibly sensitive to water levels, so that conservation of these wetlands (the responsibility of the Syndicat Mixte du Bassin Versant de la Vézère en Dordogne) consists largely of making sure that the water level is not too high, in which case the fenasses turn into marshes, or too low, in which case they dry out and become grasslands or forests. They also, like many wetlands here in North America, have a problem with the invasion of Phragmites reeds.
Marcel Kittel easily pulls in front of the others to win his fourth stage out of ten this year. They get one more chance to take him on tomorrow before heading to the Pyrenees.