27 July 2007

Stage Seventeen: Pau > Castelsarrasin

Alberto Contador is in jaune, Cadel is mere nanoseconds behind, and the only drugs admitted to today are the caffeinated kind. It's a happy day!

In an effort to avoid a bunch sprint at the end of the stage, the indomitable Jens Voigt set the pace for an early 8-man breakaway. 110km later, only 4 riders were left from the breakaway group, which had left the peloton nearly 10 minutes in its wake. Italian Daniele Banati, from Team Lampre, won the stage - Lampre's first win in the Tour since 2001...amazing to consider, because Lampre is one of those teams that can always be counted on to have riders up front when it comes to a bunch sprint finish.

Let's spare a thought for David Millar - what a trooper. He apparently has an allergy to the sun, yes that big shiny thing in the sky, which might not be such a problem in his native Scotland, but in sunny France, it caused him to break out in an unbearably itchy rash in the first week of the Tour. He had to get special permission from officials to try certain topical creams as a remedy, none of which were reported to do the trick. So you might have noticed he's riding with long sleeves and sunblock literally caked onto his face, neck, and legs - any exposed skin. That must have been quite uncomfortable in yesterday's 30C+ (86F+) temperatures! Although he was part of the 8-man breakaway during this stage, he could not keep up the pace and fell behind with 16km to go. He is not giving up on his plans for a stage win, though - so watch out for the big Scot !

The standings in the leaders' classifications were unaffected by the result of Stage 17. It is interesting to note that Rasmussen's withdrawal did not automatically mean that Contador, in 2nd place, put on the yellow jersey. Although the official record books will say that Contador was in yellow for Stage 17, he wore his normal team jersey. At the end of today's stage he put on the yellow jersey, having properly 'earned' it. Despite some decidedly unsportsmanlike behaviour in the performance enhancing drugs area, cycling is full of traditions like that which hint at the underlying sense of honour in the peloton.

Speaking of honours, lots of our knitters are getting very close to podium honours for their KAL projects! Here's the latest standings:

Barbara is really excited because she's reached yellow jersey status on her socks:

Bea has finished hers:

Here's our prize winner Elaine's finished three sock pair:

Ina's Soleil is looking tres belle:

Soleil waist shaping

And Janet's yellow tank top is nearly fini!


Kat's chausettes bleu are also nearly done

And check out Kristen's Lady Eleanor! She is going to cross the finish in a very comfortable time!


Yellow jerseys are not expected to finish their projects before the end of the Tour, which is a good thing for knitting riders like Kristen and Kathy, who followed the example of Dennis Menchov today, and have withdrawn from the race. We're glad that you joined us and gave it your best attempt -- you're still part of the team and free to comment even if you had to hang up your needles and shelve the project til next year. For some of us it is the process of the race, the riding itself -- we are not all Tom Boonens!

Speaking of which, here's what the sprinters have been up to:
The Knitty Professor has finished all three of her market bags with plenty of time to spare! She's looking forward to meeting Boonen on the green jersey podium in Paris!

Cindy2Paw is shown her modelling her fantastic green cosy V-neck top down sweater, completed after something like 2 weeks. Bravo!
Arja's plans to complete Mermaid during the tour got waylaid by some mysterious sock disease, but she is now planning to finish the body of Mermaid during the Tour - see, she's nearly there already!

Kate has finished this cute 'Jean-Pierre' vest of her own design for her son who loved it so much he's modelling it over pyjamas! I hear that's the latest thing on the catwalks of Milan and Paris!

This beautiful nearly-finished Kauni cardigan is the handiwork of the injured Susan. Instead of aiming to complete all the finishing on the cardigan, Susan is going to aim to finish the 2nd sleeve. Given her knitting-affected injuries, I think that's an admirable goal!

The mountain climbers are coasting home to Paris now that the Pyrenees have been tackled. Amber is nearing completion of her THIRD shawl from the Tour! And Christina has finished her Tour socks in hand-dyed yellow and green yarns to reflect the jerseys:

Although Cindy is not speaking to her Fawne project at the moment, she is going to try to finish a project that's been in progress for 8 years! It's a gorgeous fair isle creation for her husband:

Whitney's tour de gansey has come to a lovely conclusion at the Champs-Elysee of sweater construction, the collar. Bravo Whitney - you have inspired me to attemt a gansey one day!

Nikki's not going to finish her project, but that was never the point anyway. She's made lots of progress and has less to do post-Tour than she will before she started. Give the girl a pat on the back! Allez-allez!

Mrs Pao's cats have been commentating on her project in progress a la Phil & Paul - this is going to be an exciting finish!

I'm sure lots of us have big weekends ahead, with endless supplies of coffee, tea, chocolate, baguettes, and the remote control close at hand while we put the finishing touches on our projects! In just a few days it will all be over! Leave a comment with your tips for Post-Tour Depression (aka, what am I going to do with all my free time???) and we'll collate them in a future post for everyone's benefit!

A bientot!


Phoebe said...

I'm glad to see so many KALers have made such great progress during the Tour. And no drugs involved probably stronger than caffeine in the good ole java.

Nikki said...

I really don't know where the whole month went! It seems like it just started...

congratulations to everyone!!! This really has been a great knit along :)

Elaine said...

D'accord - a great knit along. So many fun projects and great commentary on the race.

I'm still planning to finish the jacket - up to the armholes on the back (I did the fronts and sleeves first since they were the only tricky parts - the back is straight stockinette) Hopefully I'll get a photo of it posted tonight or tomorrow - at least the pieces if not the whole thing put together.

Three cheers for the KAL organizers!

Chris said...

I'm heading up to our family cabin in a bit - hopefully I'll get some knitting on my Sockamania socks, but it doesn't look good for this GC contender!

whitney said...

Aww, thanks...I'm glad to have inspired someone to knit a gansey! It was a lot of fun and I learned a ton.

Everyone's projects are looking so great! Congrats, everyone!

weaverknits said...

Congrats to everyone! I'm falling off the back of the peloton with my lofty Mermaid goals, but will have some in-flight knitting time this evening as I travel to a cousin's wedding. Photos tomorrow!

mrspao said...

Oh wow! Well done everyone :) It is incredible how the time has flown. I, personally, am going to be knitting like mad now the weekend has finally begun!
Good luck everyone!

Donna Lee said...

We are looking at a rainy, humid weekend. Just the thing for sitting in front of the fan or ac and knitting. Now that my hiking socks are done, I am making some socks for me with my prize yarn. Then it's back to thick manly socks for my daughter's friend in Iraq. Thanks for all the fun. July has never flown by so quickly.

Aknita said...

Aren't there just some wonderful FO's and nearly completed WIPS in the KAL - it's been such fun, if only some of the riders had followed our examples!!!!!

I am doing my very own time trial in preparation for Sunday.

heather t said...

My socks are done! Click my name for a summary post.

Anyway, post-Tour depression? Is that really a problem for knitters? Seems like there is always another project we want to try. It has been fun, tho!

And inspiring - all these cycling knitters make me want to dig that old bike out and USE IT.

Christina said...

I've really enjoyed this KAL too. It's inspired me to actually finish my first project in laceweight (although I've yet to block it!!), try and blog everyday, finally start a pair of jaywalkers and get out cycling again.

and what lovely knits everyone has done, I'm very impressed.

Elaine said...

I finished my jacket (at least all the pieces). Now to sew it together - ugh. My least favorite part!

We're renting a movie for tonight so that I'll have something to watch while I sew.

What a great group you all are!

Riggwelter said...

I can't believe how much I have done, knitted 5 socks, wrote a pattern (which hopefully works)and nearly a whole jacket.
I've done the final sleeve on my chunky jacket, just the front to do. So I shall be finished for Sunday.
I never imagined I could do this much in just a month - thank guys.

Well done to the organisers, this KAL has been informative and fun.

And well done to all the KALers for so much inspiration, fantastic work and great blogs.

foreverknit said...

What beautiful projects! I am jealous.