23 July 2007

Stage Fourteen: Mazamet > Plateau-de-Beille


It is pretty much a given that the Spanish Tour riders will come to the forefront of the race the day the Tour enters the Pyrenees and 2007 was no exception. Early on, we saw a breakaway group of 5 Spaniards representing 4 teams, including the little fella, Amets Txurruka. Eventually they were caught by pretty much everyone who was in the top 10 of the general classification coming into the race. Rasmussen certainly showed everyone who's boss, while Alberto Contador, Cadel Evans, Kloden, Soler, and Levi Leipheimer did a great job keeping up with the attacks. In the end, it came down to Rasmussen and Contador in the last few kilometers of the greulling uphill finish at Plateau-de-Beille. At one point Rasmussen, nicknamed 'The Chicken' (I think due to his skinny legs?) was chased by a fan in a big chicken suit! Despite that kind of support, the Spaniard Contador won easily, moving into second place overall.

The standings remain unchanged at the end of Stage Fourteen:
Yellow Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
Green Jersey: Tom Boonen
Polkadot Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
White Jersey: Alberto Contador

It might be interesting to note that the Tour has finished at Plateau-de-Beille four times since 1998, and on each of the three previous occasions, the winner of this stage went on to win the Tour! (1998 - Marco Pantani, 2002 & 2004 - Lance Armstrong) Keep watching and see if it comes true again this year!

Yesterday I hinted that this stage had a direct knitting correlation and there have been some great guesses in the comments as to what that is... you were all wrong, unfortunately! The town where the race began today, Mazamet, is world-famous for its woollen mills, and was a 19th century world centre for the processing of 'skin wool' (wool taken from a deceased animal's hide) from carcasses imported from as far away as Australia and Argentina. Local blogger Jocelyne reports that they now spin mohair and mohair/silk blends at the Mazamet knitting mill, producing a fibre that resembles Rowan's Kid Silk Haze.

Just in case you're thinking of relocating, in googling for Mazamet textile links, I found out that one place is hiring. They are actually looking for someone who can speak English. If you go for the job, let me know how it goes! There is also a good local Mazamet blog here, which describes the processing of skin wool (fellmongery), in all its phases.

Now what's cooking in the knitting world?

Elaine reports that she's up to the armholes in her 2nd TdF project (remember the first was three socks?). Elaine you can email me a photo and I'll post it here! Pamela's Fifi has grown to the armholes too!

Heather T, inspired by the time trial yesterday, conducted her own knitting time trial with her grapevine socks. I think she'll get down to the 1 minute round soon enough!

I had the pleasure of seeing Donni's Bayerische socks in person on the weekend - here they are in progress! This is seriously a mountain challenge pair of socks!

Mrs Pao was accompanied by her project Kiri and other friends at a garden jazz event where they also enjoyed a picnic and some Pimms. How very civilised!

Whitney walks us through Stage 6 of the Tour de Gansey - shoulder straps and joins.

Blogless Tam emailed me to say she's halfway done with the sleeves and collar of her Juno. Isn't it gorgeous! Can't wait to see it all made up.

Jen has been riding the exercise bike like she's been completing Stage 14 just like Rasmussen...and she's painted a very vivid picture of life on the road for a Tour de France cyclst - check it out!

On a mission for additional yarn, Lene stopped for a yummy looking galette, washed down by an Orangina, naturally!

This reminded me I have a great looking potato galette recipe I've been meaning to try - so I thought I'd share it with you!

Potato Galettes (by Gabriel Gate, for Taste le Tour)

  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp duck fat (or appropriate substitute?)

Grate peeled potatoes onto a plate and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place potatoes in a bowl with garlic, parsley, salt & pepper, and mix well.
Heat a little duck fat in a pan and, when hot, add potoato mixture to 1cm thickness. Press with the back of a spoon to flatten the potato. Cook for a few minutes. turn over and cook second side.
Keep galette warm in oven while you cook the rest of the potato mixture.
Serve on warm plates with a mixed salad.



Kristen said...

You could get lost in the Mazamet site - very interesting reading. It makes me wonder - I assume most of the yarn we knit with from commercial companies is sheared, and not "fellmongered" (new word for me!) Not to mention learning about Catharism, and the pink city of Toulouse, etc...

Cecile said...

That recipe sounds delicious! I have added duck fat to my grocery list for this week. Again your recaps of the race are wonderful. I didn't get to watch that much this weekend, because my dear husband was watching the British Open. I'll try to find some time to watch this week. I'm still working on my sleeves, but I also made window treatments for my newly redecorated study this weekend.

Keep up the good work gals!

Elaine said...

I absolutely love your daily synopsis. Does ESPN show any of the race? If so, at what time?

As a vegetarian, I would never use duck fat. I make a galette using just about the same recipe (I also use some grated onion) but fry it in a vegetable oil and I think it is really delicious. When I was a child, my mother used chicken fat until I figured out what the stuff was :-).

Gretchen said...

I am going to have to make something French this week to eat- I could always fall back on quiche, I suppose. I'm watching Stage 15 live- very exciting! I won't spoil it for anyone! I'm still plugging away on my Wisp. The Polkadot jersey is not an easy one to keep, that's for sure! Soler would agree!

The_Add_Knitter said...

Yes I got up early to watch stage 15 as well...the Pyrenees are utterly gorgeous! Thanks for the tidbits about Mazamet, very interesting!

Apparently Rasmussen is called the chicken after a Danish cartoon as his former riding partner resembles another character from the cartoon, so that's how he became 'the Chicken'!

mrspao said...

That sounds delicious! I have really enjoyed knitting along to the Tour de France :) Now that I've conquered the pattern, I'm trying to catch up a bit after all the frustration at the beginning. Who needs sleep!

That info on the Mazamet yarn was ever so interesting!

whitney said...

Thanks for all the interesting info and links about Mazamet! I had no idea.

That recipe looks delicious, except that as a vegetarian, I think I will have to take elaine's approach to eliminating the duck fat. Mmm, potatoes!

Heidi said...

Hmmm...some of those Mazamet textile jobs have rather interesting qualifications: "An experience in underwear would be appreciated." I wonder what exactly qualifies as experience in underwear?

Tam said...

The galette sounds yummy.
I went out to une petite creperie for lunch last friday and had the yummiest galette filled with spinach, mushrooms and bechamel.

Anne said...

Elaine (and others interested)

In US, Versus Network is showing TDF several times a day. Check your cable guide for cycling or TDF.

Phoebe said...

Can't get enough of knitting and watching the Tour. And the recipes are an added bonus!

Nikki said...

mmm, that recipe looks really good. Due to uncontrollable circumstances (like the last HP book) I haven't seen much of the Tour this weekend. BUT I spent 2 hrs working on the sweater Sunday!

Elaine said...

I just read the NY Times article about the hostility towards Rasmussen because of the missed drug tests. I hadn't known anything about that before.

Westozcaat said...

yumm potatos, i am going the french bagette and cheese route this week. As for the knitting, I am about to start the v of the v neck on the rest day stage. So the jumper is sprinting along!!

off to buy more cheese!

Riggwelter said...

mmmmm those gallettes look gorgeous!

the Mazamet site is amazing, thank you for th link.

I am going for a final hill climb in the hopes that I can finish this Chunky Jacket from Robin yarns, for my LYS.

Everyone's work is looking great.