What lots of riders thought would be a relatively relaxing day of racing in the windy but flat Langue d'Oc region turned a bit more "stressful" (Cadel Evans' word) when Team Astana used some classic (abeit arcane to me) racing techniques to split the race into two pelotons, and trap poor Christophe Moreau in the 2nd peloton - essentially robbing him of his GC chances. Coming into the last kilometre, it looked like it was going to end up a typical sprint finish - but then two top sprinters, Tom Boonen and Freddy Rodriguez wiped out on a left hand bend in the road within 500m of the finish line - leaving the race open to anyone! Although Vinokourev had pushed ahead on the attack in the last km - letting us know he might have 40 stitches in his knees but that doesn't mean he's not a contender! - he was quickly reeled back in. South African Robbie Hunter won the stage - the first ever win by a South African, and the second win for his team, Barloworld, which is debuting in this year's tour. It was an exciting finish even though it was pretty clear that none of the standings would be much affected.
Many of us are mourning the elimination of Dave Zabriskie, who was eliminated, like Robbie McEwan a few stages ago, for failing to finish within the time limit.
The standings remain unchanged at the end of Stage Eleven:
Yellow Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
Green Jersey: Tom Boonen
Polkadot Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
White Jersey: Alberto Contador
It's been a quiet day on the knitting front - I suspect many of you are plugging away on your projects, too busy knitting to post. Either that or you are all suffering a bit of Tour Fatigue - it can happen, even to those of us watching from the Lounge, much less trying to keep up with the peloton! Hopefully this weekend's action, including a time trial on Saturday which will really shake up the the General Classification standings, will spur us all on to action!
Elaine is back from her trip to London where she witnessed the prologue and the first stage. Her account is in yesterday's comments, or on her blog. Sounds like heaps of fun, anyone planning a trip to France for 2008? While on her travels, Elaine managed to finish not one, not two, but THREE socks. She reckons she'll prolong the life of the socks by rotating them. Clever!
Further news from sockland: Kat is just a few rows away from the gusset on her Sockapalooza Socks, while Donni is pondering her choice of TdF project...but I'm sure she'll pull through in the end. Dotty is working on socks and stopped for a photo with her sock at Lac le Jeune on holidays last week. (Gee this TdF is creating some well-travelled socks!) And Jen has finished the cuff of her second Anniversaire sock, while mourning the elimination of Dave Z.
Blogless Megan reports that her sweater is going nicely and she's planning to have it finished by the time the Tour gets to Paris, despite the unlikelihood of Dave Z making an appearance there. Blogless Heidi is sticking to her goal of 2" a day on her sweater and should have the requisite 14" of stocking stitch done by Friday, when she moves into the bunch-sprint-finish of the neck and shoulder shaping. She's bored with her project but I think our clamouring for finished object photos will keep her on track! Nikki's project is similarly lacking the lustre for her at the moment, but she's doing a minimum of 3 rows a day. Sounds ilke a reasonable goal! Cindy's Fawne is, as she puts it, just about to enter the Pyrenees - when the sleeves get attached to the bodice and work the shoulder shaping. Here it is - ooh la la!
Lace knitters are grappling with the Mystery Stole. Stacey's perfectionist self is battling her lazy self...to frog and correct one teeny tiny mistake...or not? We'll see who wins out in the end. It's a balance every knitter has to find for themselves! Westozcaat has finished Clue 3 and will cast on the front of her green sweater for the upcoming flat stages. When we last left her, it looked like the lace was in danger of being thrown across the room, but Joy has now reached an entente cordial with her Forest Canape and she's nearing the finish now. And we are thrilled to report that Ambermoggie has finished her 'back on the bike' shawl, which she started after a frustrating old time with her first TdF project:
Isn't it lovely! No pasta with tomato sauce for you Amber!
And Meg has finished her Clapotis - here it is blocking:
Love the colours! No Lanterne Rouge for you! Rather than call her Tour fini, Meg cast on another French-themed project, a beret...and promptly finished it. (This tour is really doing wonders for the finishing!) So now she's working on a black cashmere scarf for a man which we all would agree is tres Parisien!
It's Friday evening here so I'm now off to drink a few strong coffees and stay up late to watch Stage Twelve and try to catch up on my Hex Coat. I meant to have the back finished up to the armholes by this evening but am only halfway there... just about 100 rows to go... of 98 stitches per row... that works out to 9800 stitches... wish me luck!