26 July 2007

Stage Sixteen: Orthez > Gourette - Col d'Aubisque

Beaucoup de drame aujourd'hui!!

Rasmussen, aka The Chicken, was on top of le monde earlier in the day, or, more specifically, Col d'Aubisque, having won Stage 16. Winning the Tour seemed likely. Being fired by his team, Rabobank, for failing to show up for drug testing, and apparently lying about his whereabouts for testing, did not. But it happened. And so did the positive test for the Cofidis rider Moreni, who was taken away by les gendarmes after admitting to doping. I'm beginning to feel like we're watching a cycling version of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

Stage 16 saw some of the most exciting cycling the Tour has seen in decades, with all four of the then-top 4 riders battling it out on one of the toughest ascents in the race. Contador attacked mercilessly, again and again. His teammate, Levi Leipheimer, did a great job hanging in there too. Rasmussen and Cadel Evans managed to keep Contador in their sights until the last few kms, when Cadel had obviously had enough - he came in 4th on the stage, riding his own pace, leaving Rasmussen and Contador to battle it out in the end. A blazing attack by the Chicken just at the top of the hill spelled the end of the stage for Contador, who seemed to have nothing left after his relentless attacks all afternoon.

During the Stage, there was a change in the holder of the polkadot jersey, and it is now firmly on the shoulders of Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez. Soler had been wearing the polkadot jersey anyway, because he'd been in second place for that classification and the first place holder, Rasmussen, was already wearing the yellow. I noticed that someone in the comments asked about that so hopefully that answers your question!

With Rasmussen out of the race, fans are asking "Who'll be our role model now that our role model is gone...gone..." (with apologies to Paul Simon). You can call him CADEL. Although I (Meg) hate to see anyone exit the race with a cloud over their head, I am thrilled that at least that person was occupying a place in front of my dear Aussie Cadel Evans. The loss of Rasmussen puts Contador in the lead, with Evans a mere minute and 53 seconds behind - a time difference that Phil and Paul might term as "within striking distance".

As the great Elizabeth Zimmerman said, "knit on, through all crises." Our TdF knitters are doing just that! Blogless Megan sent this photo of her beautiful sweater. Didn't she do an amazing job of completing the Tour?!

is struggling up the mountain of second glove syndrome -- let's give her a push so she can reach that summit and cruise down the other side with glove #2! Sarah of Blue Garter is also knitting on, despite the fact that Brigitte's directions are completely unworkable. Though Sarah's in the yellow jersey category, she's exhibiting true Queen of the Mountains spirit by offering a contest as to when she might finish Brigitte, even if it's after the Tour. Knit Happened is also in the mountains, wondering if she'll have enough yarn to finish her socks. Continuez! With Stage 17 we leave the mountains, and smoother cycling and knitting will hopefully be had by all.

is celebrating her one year cycling anniversary today. Check out her story!

The polkadot riders in our KAL have so far escaped accusation for doping, though there have been several hints about caffeine and chocolate...

Angie was injured during the rest day, which has slowed down her knitting a lot. But she's asking for our help to give her one last push during the Tour to get a chunky cardigan finished. You can do it!!

Auntly H has been getting lots of different and beautiful crafts done, as well as a bit of progress on her Tour project, the MS3! KnitnLit assures us there is no doping going on in her TdF and she's slightly behind on the MS3 to prove it! Whitney's Tour de Gansey is also 100% guaranteed to be drug free and what's more I've been learning heaps from her about traditional garment construction - it's been fascinating!

Mrs Pao is calculating all the possible knitting hours in a day. Is going out to dinner with friends just a big waste of knitting time? (This is a sure sign of a TdF knitting addict!) 5elementknitr's Baudelaire socks are coming along beautifully and she's self-diagnosed a problem which has been resulting in an extra yo on each row. Probably better to stay away from those team doctors anyway, never know what kind of banned substances they'll be pushing!

Jane is halfway up the foot of her 2nd entrelac sock but other beautiful projects have butted their way in - who can blame her after seeing the booty she picked up in Oslo! Kathy has started on the red and white striped sleeve of her jumper and even had time to bake cookies... good for keeping the strength up! And Cindy is getting very frustrated with Fawne, so please go give her a word of encouragement in the comments box!

Blogless Heidi has finished all the knitting on her tank top but was shocked to discover that the pattern calls for a crochet border! The last hors categorie climb for the Tour - learning a whole new craft! The things knitters do for the Tour - it's beautiful.

It looks like Kris has been to see the team masseur after finishing the technical Childs First Sock stage - now treat yourself to some nice French fare in celebration of your victory!

We also have a few photos to share from the green jersey group, as there are lots of great projects just about finished out there!

Dotty has turned the heel on her first sock - isn't it lovely:

Meredith is nearly...so very close... finished with her Coupling Socks - see? nearly there. Feliciations!!

Zarah's Hempathy sweater has pretty much doubled in size since the last time we saw it - she's investigating seaming techniques so a FO is not far away now!

And Joy's Forest Canape, at one point thrown off the team for lying about being a readable knitting pattern, has been completed! It is absolutely beautiful. Give her a round of applause!!

Jen is 'dancing on the pedals' to get the 2nd sock done but her attention has been diverted by the Tour coverage. Complicated knitting and mountain stages - a recipe for disaster. Take it easy on the descents Jen!

Kate is eating French cakes for strength and is nearly finished with her Jean-Pierre vest, while Nikki's Glade is growing. Paisley has started her 2nd Bayerische sock, inspired by mountain climber Donni, as well as a pair of Razorshell socks.

Susan has injured her finger and is knitting slowly... but definitely is not comparing herself to Vino! And Michaele is 'having a cow' over Vino (and, dare I say, Rasmussen et al by now as well) and she's even having a contest to show it - pop on over and suggest a name for her ceramic cow creamer and you might win a prize for it!

Here's hoping we can reach Paris without any more shock revelations in the Tour... only four more stages to go!


Elaine said...

OK - there were a few setbacks, but I think I finally have my 3 sock pair photo posted on my blog.

Tonight the jacket!

whitney said...

I am just so sad about the whole Rasmussen thing. So sad.

Blogless Megan, your sweater is gorgeous! What yarn did you use?

Anonymous said...

I know my goal was to finish Mermaid during the TdF. instead, I think I'll end up finishing the body this weekend instead. not bad for a result, as I've been distracted by numerous evil socks :) in fact, I'm quite happy the body is almost done. sort of like leaving the Alps behind you and moving on to the next part of the Tour.

Elaine said...

Blogless Megan, I also love your sweater. I was going to guess that it was Manos - is that right?

Elaine said...

Oops - I hit publish too soon.

Joy your shawl is fabulous. And good luck to all on their socks. It's not my favorite knitting, but it does make a great portable project in which you can feel the end is in sight, even at the beginning :-)

And Arja, congrats on the progress you've made. Those mountains are steep and tall!

Anonymous said...

You are correct. Manos in "Wildflower". I want more of that yarn.....

Blogless Megan

mrspao said...

What great progress everyone is making! I don't want to be tainted by the drugs scandal so I'm leaving the Red Bull alone :)

Sarah / Blue Garter said...

Oh, the beautiful FOs rolling in! I'm inching toward completing Brigitte's collar, and then it's on to the sleeves.

I've been deeply suspicious of Rasmussen since the time trial and I feel it's right that action was taken against him - he really shouldn't have started the Tour in the first place, and it highlights the need for better cooperation between all the governing bodies. I'm excited to watch Levi, Contador, and Cadel fight it out in the time trial, which should be a real thriller, but I feel bad that there's another cloud hanging over the race now.

Christina said...

well done everyone on their lovely finished items.

5elementknitr said...

Such gorgeous projects!

Tam said...

It seems like Cadel is going to do a Steven Bradbury and win when there's no-one else left!!

Michaele said...

Here's hoping the rest of the best are clean. I'll be cheering for Levi, but that's just me...

judy said...

Watching Levi and Contador alternating the attack was really cool.

Anyone else amused by the fact that Cofidis was one of the participants in the pre race protest (I've heard they were the ones who originally organized it) against doping by cyclists and it turned out they had to withdraw because one of their own tested positive for and admitted to using testosterone?

Meg said...

In all my woo-hooing over Cadel, I have been guilty perhaps of overlooking Contador. He is such an exciting rider to watch, his attacks have breathed new life into the Tour, and he's so young I'm sure he's going to become a household name.
Tam - you're such a crackup. For those of you who might have forgotten the momentous Stephen Bradbury event, he was the first Aussie ever to win gold at the Winter Olympics...and he only did so because everyone else in his speed skating race fell over and didn't make it to the finish line. Luckily for Stephen, he was so far behind the pack that he had time to safely pick his way around the tangle of bodies on the ice and skate in comfort over the finish line. Look, it's a win and we'll take it any way we can get it!

Riggwelter said...

poor Cadel, it would such a shame for him to win just because no-one else made it to the end! He's a great rider.
There are some goegeous knits here and I have thoroughly enjoyed this KAL. I have learned so much, finished some annoying projects with all your help and have been inspired by some great crafters. I don't know what I'll do when this is over.