I hope all of you enjoyed your Rest Day and used it to catch up on all those other things you've been neglecting during the Tour...eating, sleeping, and other knitting projects I'm sure were high on the priorites for lots of us!
Stage Nine was no gentle re-entry for our riders, with probably the most difficult mountain climbing the Tour has seen so far this year. Just check out the profile! Some of these peaks have become the stuff of Tour legends, and the arrival town of Briancon has hosted the Tour 33 times!
Lots of people have commented that the Tour this year has been very enjoyable for the absence of many of the big-name riders of the recent past, like Lance Armstrong and Jan Ulrich. The field is a bit more open for surprises, like the cutie Linus Gerdemann winning the stage and the yellow jersey a few days ago. Stage Nine was no exception. With several of the favourite contenders either out of form or completely out of the Tour, Stage Nine saw relative newcomer Mauricio Soler from the Barloworld team take top honours, with seasoned climber Alejandro Valverde not far behind (along with my favourite, Cadel Evans). It was Soler's first ever stage win, as well as the first ever stage win for his team, which is making its debut in this year's Tour. Michael Rasmussen managed to finish close enough to the top to retain the yellow jersey, to the joy of many of our KAL participants!
The standings at the end of Stage Nine are:
Yellow Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
Green Jersey: Tom Boonen
Polkadot Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
White Jersey: Alberto Contador
Although lots of you took the opportunity for a breather on the rest day, let me assure you, the needles are still flying in some parts of the world!
The Mystery Stole 3 is a popular project for Knit Alongers. Did you know it has a mystery theme? Take a look at Auntly H's MS3, which is completed up to Clue 3:
What do you reckon, could it be an Alpine scene??? Rebecca's lace scarf in progress actually does have what is called an Alpine border - isn't it beautiful!
Cindy's Fawne is growing as is Mrs Pao's Kiri. 5elementknitr's Baudelaire is taking shape, while Gretchen has finished 3.5 repeats of her lace scarf and is turning her mind to a wine cozy pattern. Any ideas? Pop on over and give her some advice. Blogless Heidi has worked out that if she knits 2 inches a day on her top, she will finish the knitting by the end of the week, leaving Week 3 of the tour for seaming, blocking, etc. Anyone else got a training regime mapped out? I know I do!
Kris has dressed up her team members in their finest cycling suits and paraded them across the blog page for us all to admire...but she promises someone will be dropped soon! Stay tuned to find out which one! Cheryl has emailed me a lovely shot of her lace scarf and a curious photo of her punctured Addi. Yes we've heard of punctured bicycle tires but not punctured Addis. The household cat is the #1 suspect.
There have been a few completed socks popping up on your blogs...take a bow, Jen, for completing this marvelous Anniversaire sock!
And check out Bea's beautiful Tour de France sock:
While we're in sock-land, I'm happy to report that Teabird's denim sock is back in the race after that tragic frogging incident recently!
The Tour has spurred on lots of finishing at Janet's house. Check out her blankets and rugs! The Knitty Professor is setting a cracking pace, and is close to completing her second of three market bags. Devorah reports she is one day away from finishing her vest, while my mum has finally started her Apres-Ski headband after taking care of un lapin which jumped into the front of the queue - which reminds me, did everyone see that labrador cause a crash in Stage Nine?!
After much swatching, Ina has decided on a project, the Cabled High-Neck Tank. It's looking fantastic already!
While some knitters are coasting along as if the Mountain stages were kilometres behind them, some of us need the team to rally around and give us an encouraging comment. Please pay a visit to Joy, who seems to be tinking as much as knitting, Kristen, for whom the "bloom" of her Lady Eleanor stole has worn off, Maylin, who is also tinking and knitting, tinking and knitting, and Nikki, who - although she's made this gorgeous progress - is talking about FUTURE PROJECTS! Alarm bells! TDF Knitters to the rescue!
Sharon would like to assert that if there are no photos of her 'other knitting project' then the 'other knitting' did not take place. Hmmmm. Jussi and Vivian both admit that the Tour is kicking their arse - looks like Vivian's jaywalker has been out to see the sights though!
Ambermoggie is so grateful to everyone for their assistance during her crisis last week that she's going to give away some yarn! Visit her and send an email if you're interested!
And a few of us have changed gears altogether. After a bit of disappointment with the Skin of the Sea, Nikki has picked up a languishing Glade as her Tour project instead. And after a long, hard look at her Works In Progress, Heather has changed tactics and picked up her Sockapalooza socks. The pattern is called 'grapevine', which I'm sure you will agree is tres Francais! Blogless Anne gave her TDF project Soleil a red-hot go but the yarn was decidedly unco-opeartive. She's still watching the tour and working on her mountain of UFOs instead.
Whitney's Tour de Gansey is heating up now that the mountain stages have been reached ('pattern motifs'), while Ozknitter is plugging away with the determination of the best distance riders on her second pair of Tour socks. While contemplating the insanity of Stage Nine's profile, Paisley Womble is happily speeding along the relatively flat ground of her 2nd Baudelaire sock. And Cecile has much to be proud of, even though she says it's not quite finished - take a look at this sleeve!
Stage Ten brings a bit of a respite from the mountains, a long undulating ride into Marseilles, the second largest city in France. A bientot!