29 July 2007

Stage Nineteen: Cognac > Angouleme Timetrial

It was an absolute nail-biter of a Time Trial for Stage 19. While most eyes were watching Cadel Evans to see if he could make up the 1:50 needed to claim the yellow jersey from Alberto Contador, what really made exciting viewing was Levi Leipheimer! Riding what Phil and Paul agreed was "the time trial of his life", Levi finished the stage well ahead of the rest of the field... and very nearly stole 2nd place overall from Cadel Evans!

In the end, Evans managed to stay 8 seconds overall ahead of Leipheimer, while Contador amazingly managed to hang onto his overall lead and will cycle into Paris the victor in the maillot jaune. It is one of the closest finishes in the history of the Tour, with only 31 seconds separating the first and third place riders - that's really something considering their overall time exceeds 89 hours!

Contador's performance, and indeed possibly Leipheimer's as well, might have been boosted by the presence of the spiritual muse of Team Discovery Channel, Lance Armstrong, who still owns a 1/3 share in the team and made a surprise appearance at the time trial, riding in the team car which followed Contador throughout the 55.5km course.

Although there is still one more stage, there is traditionally never an attack on the yellow jersey in the ride into Paris, so the standings are they are now are likely to remain unchanged. The only jersey which is sometimes still up for grabs in the last stage is the green, sprinters jersey, which can be decided in the intermediate sprints on the Champs-Elysees. This year, however, Tom Boonen is fairly well assured of winning green as he is 24 points ahead of the second place green jersey contender, Robbie Hunter.

Let's hope the result this year is not clouded by a controversy over the winner's drug tests, as last year's Tour is still unresolved with a decision in Floyd Landis' arbitration is still outstanding. Contador is still being asked to explain away some doping suspicions, as reported here.

Although we might have a good idea of the result of the Tour, there are still a few good hours left of knitting and many of us are still putting the finishing touches on our projects! We're going to leave the knitting updates for tomorrow to give a few more knitters time to post about their finished Tour projects! And don't forget, there is still one more prize draw to go. Entries close at midday on June 30th - so comment comment comment and don't forget to post about your Tour project!

19 comments:

Nikki said...

I couldn't believe how exciting that finish was!

This has been a great KAL. Thank y'all for doing it!!

The_Add_Knitter said...

I was so pleased for Leipheimer, he is such a good sport and gentleman.

Thanks to you both for organizing one of the best KALs ever, I've really enjoyed it (even if my project never really got off the ground due to poor yarn choice and maniacal frogging) and I am sure others are in complete agreement!

Devorah said...

We sat glue to the edge of the couch, practically holding our breath during those last three rides. What a finish! Now to pull out a sprint on my socks ...

mrspao said...

This has just been the most amazing knitalong! I've had such a great time :) I have just finished my Kiri - just in the nick of time!!

Riggwelter said...

What a wonderful Tour and a great KAL to go with it!
I've enjoyed every momnet.

peaknits said...

woot woot! my dh works for Trek so we are delighted that Team Discovery Channel is holding there own! I'm knitting as fast as I can - I'm still flat on my back so the Roza sock is my project de jour, still keeps me in the polka dot jersey as knitting on your back is a challenge right?!:)

Probably Jane said...

Thank you for a wonderful and very educational knit along.I thoroughly enjoyed it and finished the socks with moments to spare!

Can't wait to slip on the bicycle clips again in 2008.

Christina said...

I agree, my favourite ever KAL, it's been great fun - I've loved the daily updates on here about the tour. And what a great time trial, I was willing Evans on to go as fast as he could!!

Elaine said...

Let me add my hurrays for you two once again! This is the only KAL that ever got me blogging - it was so much fun to be a part of it. Thanks for all.

Chris said...

Alas! I am not even close to completing my TDF project. I'll post status pictures Monday...

Donyale said...

Don't you kind of wish that Cadel would break with traditon? Just a little. Still - amazing result.

Jen said...

Just finished watching, just finished me socks. WOW what a great time-trial, sorry about Cadel 'cause I know y'all love him. He is a great bi-rider!

Devorah said...

I finished! Both my project and my add-on project. Yea!!! Pictures are on my blog. Thank you so much, Debby and Meg, for hosting and providing such wonderful write ups!

Jennifer said...

I am almost finished with the bottom section of my Einstein coat, and I completed one Hedwig instead of an Errol :) Thanks to you both for a great and informative KAL - I certainly learned a lot about the TdF and am looking forward to competing (in yarn, of course) again next year!

Kristen said...

Thank you Debby and Meg for a fantastic KAL. Since we are TV-less, you kept me up to date on thrills and spills of the Tour and I learned what it is all about from you. It was fun to watch the KALers projects - plenty of thrills and spills there too!- and so many great FO's. I'm ready to sign up for next year!

heather t said...

This was a lot of fun, and I hope you organize it again next year. Amazing how our spills and thrills mirrored so much of the actual Tour, except WE rode clean!

Sarah / Blue Garter said...

Brigitte is done - 9:17 pm! (Post tk tomorrow - right now I'm wiped out from three weeks of 5:30 mornings and suitcase-of-courage time trial knitting!) Without the Tour de France knitalong, it probably would have been another year before I got this sweater underway, so thanks for all the hard work, Meg and Debby, and for the genius to think up this great idea. I hope we'll be on again for next year!

Stitchy Fingers said...

Thank you for the great KAL and all of the work you did keeping us up to date on what was going on with the Tour and what everything meant. I'm sure I would still be thinking whether or not I was up to knitting a pair of gloves if I hadn't come across this KAL and now they're almost finished. Merci beaucoup!

NotSoCarbonNeutral said...

There is a tie-break situation in my TDF Blog Competition - head over to my blog to see how you did and who is still in the running for first prize (and the booby prize too).
Now the tour has finished, the sun has finally come out!!