Oh, Stage Eight, you are a cruel master. We all knew you would be one of the harshest stages, quick to punish those otherwise innocent young men who want nothing but to cycle your length and breadth without incident or mishap. But you, Stage Eight, had other plans. What has Australia ever done to you? Why have you chosen not one, not two, but THREE of our best to eliminate with one fell swoop of your mighty Alpine powers?
Thank you to the Tour participants who have already emailed me (the Australian co-hostess of this KAL) with your condolences for the losses we have suffered. Indeed, while Vino and Kloden, bruised but not broken, managed to complete the stage, we have lost Michael Rogers, Stuart O'Grady, and the KAL's favourite, Robbie McEwan from the Tour. Rogers looked relatively unscathed after a tumble from his bike and continued on, for a time...He was in the lead and far enough ahead of the other riders to be poised to take the Yellow Jersey when he was forced to abandon due to a dislocated shoulder.
I didn't see the footage of the crash that caught Stuart O'Grady up, but the poor fellow had 8 rib fractures and a punctured lung when he was carried off the road in one of those special stretchers for people with suspected spinal injuries.
And our dear old Robbie did not finish within the 40 minute time limit set by Race Officials and has been dropped from the Tour. Based on a stage's length and category climbs, a time co-efficient is calculated. The co-efficient is added to the time of the stage winner, then all riders must finish within this amount of time or be eliminated... thus proving that being the Lanterne Rouge is, in itself, a feat. Just showing up and crossing the finish line is not enough - you have to cross the finish line within the time limits for each stage.
Of course, all these losses amount to joy for fans of other riders, and one can't snub one's nose at the indomitable Dane, Michael Rasmussen, who showed in Stage Eight that he can be more than 'just' King of the Mountains, he could win the whole darn kaboodle, come the Champs-Elysee. And my favourite Aussie, Cadel Evans, managed to stay out of trouble... so all hope is not lost for the Aussies after all!
The standings at the end of today's stage are:
Yellow Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
Green Jersey: Tom Boonen
Polkadot Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
White Jersey: Linus Gerdemann
After two tough days in the Alps, tomorrow is a rest day. Is everyone clear on what happens on the Rest Day in our cozy little KAL? Here is a reminder. As outlined here, there will be a random drawing for a winner of a little French-themed prize on each of the two rest days and at the end of the Tour. You have just about 12 hours to comment or post about the Tour before entries for the first Rest Day draw close!
Now, what's everyone been up to?
Uncannily, Martha's knitting has been following the fortunes of Vinokourev. Going along fine... ripped... limping along... gaining strength... it will be interesting to see which crosses the finish line first, Vinokourev or the socks?
T. has her work cut out for her - she's been working on socks during the Mountain Stages, but is planning on keeping up with her Mystery Stole 3 as well! By Friday, she plans to have the socks finished as well as MS3 Clues 2 AND 3!
Barbara has posted a photo of yesterday's delicious potato salad recipe which just makes it imperative that I make that recipe for dinner tonight! And Janet is now working on a cute stashbusting yellow baby tank top, now that she's finished her circular blanket.
Sarah's Brigitte is up to the armhole decreases (give the woman a prize!) and is looking tres chic on the Bianchi:
Rachael's Clapotis has grown to the point of the first stitch drop, despite her impending inter-state house move! Good luck Rachael!!
Donna Lee has finished the first of her husband's socks:
Donni has finished the first pair of socks in her Mountain-WIP-busting-pursuit, and is thinking her daughter might as well mop the floor while she's skating all over it in her new socks:
Andi has found the Tour on tv, just in time for the Rest Day, but she is near the summit with her mountain of WIPs - you'll be unstoppable now that you've got the television going! Vivian is motoring along with her Jaywalker and wonders whether the combined mileage of all our yarn used in Tour projects might match the total mileage of the Tour? (at the rate some of these knitters are going, I reckon some people could make that mileage on their own!) Joy's Forest Canape shawl is also coming along nicely!
Jane has finished the first of her entrelac socks and Jen has finished the first of her Anniversaire socks. Angie has turned the heel on her socks and has decided she will name the pair after the holder of the Polka Dot jersey for that day's stage - great idea! Auntly H has had a change of equipment [needles] with her MS3 which has made all the difference. Lene is thrilled with Rasmussen's win and is nearing the home stretch with her sweater. All she has left to knit is a sleeve! Cindy2Paw has bid adieu to Monsieur Ravel as she's finished off her Cozy V-neck sweater in recond time! We're still awaiting photos Cindy!
Blogless Megan in Texas has sent me this update photo of her sweater - she's got both sleeves done and is 14.5 inches into the body!
And blogless Tam is speeding along on her Juno...yes that IS all over rib. Brave woman.
That's all the news that's fit to print at the moment... looking forward to announcing the identity of the Tour KAL's First Winner tomorrow! Bonne chance tout le monde!