12 July 2008

Stage Eight: Figeac > Toulouse

Two fascinating cities host our stages today, Figeac and Toulouse.

Jean-Francois Champollion's hometown, Figeac honors the man who successfully translated Egyptian hieroglyphs, and parts of the Rosetta Stone, by turning his home into a museum. It is a town of contrasts, having a medieval flavor while hosting high tech industries such as aircraft manufacturing, as well as modern architecture.

Toulouse, with its pleasant weather, is one of the largest cities in France. Located in the southwest corner of the country, it has a thriving aerospace culture and is home to the Airbus company. The Toulouse Space Center is located here, the largest one in Europe. Famous former residents include: Jean Mermoz, an aviator, and Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of Le Petit Prince!

Toulouse is called the Ville Rose or Pink City due to the pink cast of its brick architecture, and is a capital of the Occitan language and culture. The region of Occitan is made up of the south of France, parts of the Spanish Pyrenees, parts of the Italian Alps, and Monaco. The Occitan language is officially recognized in most of these areas, similar to Catalan and the Latin Romance languages of Spanish, Italian, and of course, French. Now I am wondering what, if any, relation it has to L'Occitane, the international bath products shop? Ah! Read about (and shop, if you'd like) L'Occitane here. Those almond and lavender products look so tempting!

Race update: In this transitional stage, between two mountain stages, Team Columbia dominated the day. Not only did Kim Kirchen hold on to the yellow jersey, but Mark Cavendish crossed the line first to take the day's win. Despite the fact that Laurent Lefevre (from Debby's favorite team to spell, Bouygues Telecom) made an early start, and was later joined by his teammate Jerome Pineau, Amets Txurruka (Euskatel-Euskadi) and Christophe Riblon (AG2R), the breakaway did not last, and all four riders were eventually caught by the peloton within three kilometers of the finish. Second place finisher was Gerald Ciolek, also of Team Columbia, and third place went to Jimmy Casper of Agritubel.

Standings after Stage Eight:

Yellow: Kim Kirchen (Columbia)
Green: Oscar Freire (Rabobank) (Go Team Ribby Man!)
Polka Dot/KOM: David De la Fuente (Saunier Duval)
White: Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia)
Team: CSC (hopefully this cheers you up, after the Cancellara time trial disappointment)

Lantern Rouge: Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto), in 170th place

Bon Soir and A Bientot!

Team Lampre update: Our knitters are plugging away. Cindy has completed both sleeves and has started the back of the Stargate cardi. Here is one sleeve with a labrador tail to show scale.
Donna, back from a business trip, is also back to some serious knitting on Tempest while Tivo-ing the race.

Stacey has cast on the February Lady Sweater and has high hopes of getting through the yoke by weekend.

Sarah has sprinted ahead of the pack and completed the back of the Getaway jacket.
Donni is in need of a team hug as she has a lot on her plate that has conspired to get in the way of knitting her February Lady Sweater. (((Donni)))

Kristen thought she was halfway through the back of the Hand in Hand vest, but then was miffed to realize she was really only halfway to the armholes.

Missing in action blogless Lisa had a good reason to be missing: She and her husband are belatedly celebrating their 10th anniversary with a month-long cycling tour of France and watching the Tour in person! Their tour started in Bordeaux and when she emailed me they had ridden over a thousand kilometres to Aurillac, where they would watch the tour come into town. The next morning "we're going to pop the bikes on the train down to Toulouse so we can watch the finish there and the start the next day. Watch for me--I'll be the one knitting and wearing a big, red, maple leaf hat and red boa!" Lisa's KAL project is a pair of lace socks. Be sure to check out her challenge entry which is posted on Kristen's blog (July 11) to see how she combines the cycling/knitting/France options.

Latest from Camp Credit Agricole

A quick update from the Flying Sheep.

Susan has turned the heel of her second Rivendell Sock and has treated us to a modelled shot.

Demonstrating the strength and depth of our team, Sarah has made a particularly good showing in today's stage and has completed two repeats of Le Rectangle.
Only another 28 repeats to go but our Sarah is undaunted. She also has an interview on Monday after which her needles will be flying so 'Good luck Sarah' from all your woolly team mates.

We've heard from our secret weapon, Angie who is making progress on her French Market Bag. She has been riding incognito up to now but when you see pictures of her progress you will be afraid...very afraid.

Malheureusement, Rachel didn't have a good day yesterday with a couple of frogging and recovery incidents. But, the team car was at hand, a dab of Germolene applied and she'd back in the saddle again showing the sort of character that wins races. Go Rachel!

Gina has unveiled her design for the next square of her afghan, the polkadot square. We're looking forward to cheering on our own Queen of the Mountains!

Look at the curves on Carolyn's Breton Girl. She's manouevred around those bends without even putting a foot to the asphalt. Raise your cycle clips in the air and salute another immaculate performance.

We've also heard from Helene who tells us that she is screaming down the sleeves of her Bellini! She promises us pictures very soon - could she be the dark horse of our team?
As for me, I've now clocked up 60 rows on Le Germolene. Photos soon but in reality it won't look much different to the last one. It dawns on me that this isn't the best project for a spectator sport as it has all the watchability of a Test Match with Geoffrey Boycott at the crease. Very little visible activity but I'm plodding on!

Another exemplary team performance. Don't forget to visit each others blogs and ravelry sites to cheer each other on.
A Bientot!

Team FDJ News:
There are now lots of dropped stitches on Janine's Clapotis. Thankfully, they're meant to be there!
Lene's Hanami Stole is coming along nicely in the Kauni effektgarn neutral colourway. She's thinking of naming her stole Almond Blossoms.
Helen is going away for the weekend, but is taking her knitting and extra yarn with her. So she'll be knitting in spirit with us while we climb the Pyrenees.
Jen has posted a great link on her blog to a Google Street Map of the entire Le Tour route - check it out!
Meanwhile, Stacy is powering away with her Mon Cheri baby sweater:
She's dreading the DPN section though, so the peloton will have to cheer her on during that part!
As for me, well I had to temporarily abandon my Baudelaire socks in order to finish a swap item. But i'm just about to pick them up now and try to do enough of the lace pattern to justify a photo!

Team Rabobank is powering forward now. Here's the (second) start of Kate's Ondulation tunic:

Erika's made it to the first set of stripes in her BYOB bag with these great Rabobank colors:

Sandy suffered a head injury, but still managed to fire up a practice entrelac dishcloth and to select these fun bright colors for her Market Squares bag:

I don't know how Maria has time to knit at all, between planning her wedding and packing for a big move. But you have to congratulate her for doing 32 miles on her new bicycle!

Sarah continues to be coy with the photographs of her cardi, but may have a little tease for you tomorrow when we hit the Pyrenees.

I leave you with Ribby Man to help you keep your eyes on the prize:

Today's update from Team Liquigas - carrying on with our knitting undaunted, and entirely without the aid of performance enhancing needles ;-)

First up, Amy, with her wonderful Burgundy socks. The yarn may be splitty, and she may be tinking, but they look fab to me :-)

Then there's Linz with another tenous link to the tdf if ever there was one. Go see her blog. It involves frogging ;-)

And finally, my canapé a été accompli :-)

I must also pass on the team's congratulations to Mark Cavendish - way to go Mark :-)

Team Quick Step update
At last we have a Quick Step man in the top ten!
Thankfully the Quick Stitchers are doing much better (sorry for not updating yesterday but I was having some difficulties with blogger).

Jennifer is having some trouble with her bag and feels it needs improving on...Keep going Jenny it'll be fine.
Jessica has had a sprint on with her lace and is doing fantastic!

She's ready for the placing of holes for the pigtails now and facing the challenge of decreasing and keeping the lace pattern correct. You can do it Jess, look how much you have achieved already. Jessica also says, if the finished the hat this weekend, she's going to knit some socks too. Racing like a true pro!
Madalyn is off on a short trip to Virginia but will be taking her knitting with her. Have fun!
Marge is feeling proud and so she should. She has finished with her "billion-trillion" kitchener stitches (and she has a swish new blog).

Marge also says, which I think most of us here and a lot of the Tour cyclists are saying as well "One thing about finishing projects is the feeling of that hey, look at what I can do". Well said Marge.
Whitney is doing well with her Gansey, she has just added the pattern motifs of...
Mountain Peaks

Border motifs and Cables

As for me..I'm still going at it! I'll have some pictures next time.

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