The Time Trial on a slippery, wet, twisty course in Albi was riveting stuff! It seemed like every other rider fell over on a tight corner. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly these guys can hop up after a big crash and cycle on despite their injuries.
It was a really lovely fairy tale ending to the stage once it became clear that the time set by the new sentimental favourite, Alexandre Vinokourev, would not be beaten by any of the riders to complete the 50-odd km course after him. Despite injuries in Stage 5 that would make the toughest blokes abandon the race, Vino has hung in there and has now proven that he should not be written out of contention. His time trial performance has placed him back in the top 10 of the overall standings.
Perhaps even more surprisingly, Michael Rasmussen, traditionally considered a mountain climbing specialist, put in a great time trial and retained his Yellow Jersey. If he had any ghosts lingering in his mind after crashing about 6 times in a 2006 Tour de France time trial, he didn't let them get the better of him today!
And of course I have to mention that my personal favourite, Cadel Evans, finished second in the stage and is now in 2nd place overall, only 60 seconds behind Rasmussen.
The tour now heads into the Pyrenees, which can make the Alps look like a few pleasant hillocks. Rasmussen will be in his element, while Team Astana will be looking to catapult their man Vino into the lead. And I'm hoping Cadel will hang in there and perhaps make a surprise breakaway in the Pyrenees during one of these next three stages to usurp Rasmussen and become the first Aussie to ever wear the Maillot Jaune in Paris!
The standings remain unchanged at the end of Stage Thirteen:
Yellow Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
Green Jersey: Tom Boonen
Polkadot Jersey: Michael Rasmussen
White Jersey: Alberto Contador
And a reminder that we are continuing with our contest - and the next rest day falls after Stage Fifteen. So leave your comments and talk up your Tour projects on your blog to increase your chances in the random draw this week! And now for our daily knitting update...
Ann of the punctured tire and mistaken Mermaid is pleased to report that Wednesday was a do-over of Tuesday, and things seemed to go much better the second time round. She has now fixed the mistake in Mermaid and is plotting a course through to the end of this gorgeous sweater!
Joy has finished her Forest Canape. It is blocking at the moment and we eagerly await photos!
Poor Nikki has knit up the back of her Glade cardigan for the second time only to discover she m ust frog it and knit it for the 3rd time. They say third time's the charm don't they?!
And Paisley has sprinted through her green jersey sock project, the Baudelaires. Aren't they positively lush:
Also in sockland, Kris managed to finish one sock (see it below) before suffering an injury which has affected her knitting...but not her frogging! She has decided to kick one sock-in-progress off the team. I expect that sock will be starting up a little club with Robbie McEwan and Dave Zabriskie for Tour projects that have been eliminated.
Teabird is about to turn the heel on her sock and Heather has frogged her Canal du Midi socks and restarted them in a more suitable yarn. Contest alert! Thanks to all the good luck she's had lately, Heather is running a contest and giving away - what else but knitting-related booty! Go check it out...I'm working on my entry as we speak.
Jennifer has been busy working on some adorable Harry Potter knits - have a look! She has, as a result, had to drop her originally-planned TdF project but will be trying to complete as much as possible of her Einstein jacket (now about 30% complete) for the remainder of the Tour. Jennifer in Tucson is plugging away with her Camisa, and she has incorporated the bust darts successfully. She's nearly finished! Not far now!!
Kristen is up to Tier 22 of 35 of her Lady Eleanor stole (I really think this pace is a new world record!) and Whitney's Tour de Gansey has completed the underarm gussets in style! (Here it is upside down showing off its gussets!)
Blogless Megan is very nearly finished - all the pieces are knit, she just needs to set in the sleeves and knit the sides et voila!
Megan has raised an important topic which will need to be addressed by all of us in the near future...what will we do with all our time once the Tour finishes? Please leave a comment with your tips for coping with Tour-withdrawal and we'll put together a post later in the week so everyone can be prepared for the inevitable...
I'm looking forward to Stage 14 because it will contain a specifically knitting-related element! Intrigued? Tune in tomorrow! A bientot!