09 July 2008

Stage Five: Cholet > Châteauroux

Bonjour! If it looked like any of the riders were trying to recover a bit during yesterday's Time Trial, who could blame them? Today's stage is the longest stage of the Tour at 232km. We'll be looking for the sprinters' teams to try to get their men to the front of the peloton in the last minutes of the race in what promises to be the first 'traditional' mass sprint of this year's Tour, due to the relatively flat profile of the stage overall. Besides, it's the last chance these sprinters have to shine before hitting the mountain stages (when I suspect they will all just be hoping to avoid elimination!)

An interesting tidbit about today's ville d'arrivée, Chateauroux - I have it on good authority that one of Chateauroux's famous sons was Étienne Balsan, who is most notable as one of Coco Chanel's lovers (she was only 16 when they met - quelle scandale!) A squillionaire who seemed to spend most of his time breeding race horses after dropping out of the cavalry, Balsan is also credited with helping to launch Coco Chanel's career, making all the right introductions for her in Parisian society, and helping her to open her first millinery boutique in Deauville. So we may all ask ourselves as the Tour draws to a finish today, where would the little black dress be without Chateauroux?

The French went on the attack early on in Stage 5, with three French riders, including the current French national champion, Nicolas Vogondy, breaking away early. For a while there it looked like the peloton might not catch up, but in the end they did and it was an exciting bunch sprint featuring all of the big green jersey contenders. Team Columbia's Mark Cavendish was first across the line, his first ever Tour stage win and the first 2008 Tour stage win for his team!

The standings at the end of Stage 5:
Yellow: Stefan Schumacher (Team Gerolsteiner)
Green: Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
Polka Dot: Thomas Voeckler (Team Bouygues Telecom)
White: Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia)
Team: Garmin-Chipotle

I am very sad to report that the KAL's favourite lanterne rouge and last year's King of the Mountains, Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez, had to abandon the Tour today about 13km into the race. Crashing in the first stage and suffering a suspected broken wrist, Soler battled on against all expectations. He crashed again this morning in the 'neutral zone' (the lead out of the riders, before the race officially starts). Early reports indicated that he got back on his bike and continued to ride, but his injuries must have gotten the better of him just 15 minutes after racing commenced. Au revoir, Juan, and speedy recovery!

Important reminder! If you haven't entered already, it's not too late to pitch your project in our first Intermediate Sprint! Simply leave a comment on the Stage Two post telling us where to find your entry!

Team Lampre update: Due to a mysterious Blogger glitch, Team Lampre's Stage 3 info did not publish previously, so here is a brief recap along with some newer updates.
Call it what you will - La porte des étoiles/ Chapp'ai/or Stargate ZippyUppy Cardigan, Cindy is designing it with the help of Ann Budd's book. She is using 8ply Bendigo Classic and 4mm needles. Here is a sleeve in progress.
Donni is using lovely shimmery blue Debbie Bliss Pure Silk for her February Lady Sweater.Sarah's Getaway jacket in tweedy black and white Mirage has a rice stitch border.Jordan's Starfish shawl underwent a bit of frogging during the excitement of watching the Tour but I am betting she is back on track now.

Team AG2R-Mondiale
Well it seems that I spoke to soon about our team being off to a slow start.
Jen is almost finished her capelet! A bit of seaming, weaving in of ends and some blocking and it will be ready. She has something else she wants to finish for her green jersey. Or maybe it was for a birthday gift too.

Paisly started her scarf but then the yarn found itself on the coffee table watching the Tour de France while she started to knit a beret with another yarn. The scarf will be frogged for another project.

Team Garmin-chipotle also had a blogger glitch and a non-post. We will recover!

Garmin is in yellow numbers. Go boys go! We are trying to do you proud!

Heather finds it fitting to knit in green while pursuing a green jersey. Her variegated blue-green yarn and pattern are awesome

Nikki is knitting but getting nowhere, she says. Case in point, here is the sleeve in its 4th trip to the frog pond.

Bridget has been busy dog-sitting for all the friends who are traveling. She says she is knitting.

Here is the Shoalwater Shawl Denise is knitting and her new Addi lace needles.
Emily has lacy mock cable socks, on her needles or a dead easy sock pattern, as she calls it . The yarn is variegated Happy Spider yarn in Forecast and she just loves looking for what colors come next. She had 2 inches done by Monday.

We are hoping for photos of Rosemary’s Maillot Dentelle. Although a yellow jersey pursuer she drew the line at yellow and is knitting in lovely fresh white. Let us see?

Jane started her Notre Dame de Grace but had gauge problems. The original alpaca yarn at 4.5mm must be really thick. She is using 12 ply and will need 6.00mm to get gauge. We are watching for pictures today we hope to offer help.

Anne just emailed for instructions on sending us photos. Can’t wait!

Norma in Queensland sent a “well done America’” for Will Frischkorn’s amazing performance. Will is a fellow Virginian so I was doubly pleased.
Yes, Norma, I WAS over the moon!

Kira is sprinting for her green. From Tasmania comes word that her “le Tour Eiffel: in Australia (of course!) Totem merino is 6 inches long. A few very small errors at start but no time to frog. Kira may enter the Show in Hobart so we are looking for a winner here.
I am deep, deep in the frog pond. I was making up a pattern culled from 3 others . My 1776 anklet splits at the bottom of the cuff .and has holes. While it is wearable it is not nice to look at so rib-it, rib-it!
Team CSC:

Things are going well for our team of knitters. We'll still not talking about yesterday's results...

Ina, a green jersey contender, has started her shawl the Shetsoie. She is really dreaming of her favorite cycling related pastry (go check out the link....YUMMMM.)

Lori is loving working with her Knitpicks alpaca cloud lace in her Pi Shawl.

And Sarah is finishing up some UFOs and AOs (abandoned objects) whilst still waiting for all her equipment (ie. pattern) to arrive.

Team Rabobank is going at least as strong as Oscar Freire's close second place finish today. Lisa is taking her Swirl Shawl-inspired geometric wrap to the Basque country, where she intends to find a bar hopping with Basque tifosi in which to knit and watch Stage 10. Cross your fingers for pictures of this. Meanwhile, here's one of her pretty hexagons:

Maria suspects a bit of funkiness in the budding lace segment of her Swallowtail, but she's pressing on. Beth is on to the heel of her Baudelaire sock. And Sarah is pleased to report that her lacy cardigan is looking very, very yellow. But she's fighting an urge to put it down and cast on a Columbia blue beret in honor of George Hincapie's amazing dash back to the group to power his team forward after a badly timed mechanical, and his young teammate Mark Cavendish's thrilling subsequent win. (A beret she would then take off to Nicolas Vogondy for his gutsy, heartbreaking effort to hang on in front of the chase. What a stage!)

Team Quick Step update...

Jennifer has been playing with colours. Her Monet inspired bag is looking fantastic!

What wonderful colours!

Julie has been finishing off some projects : Meet Gnorman...

Madalyn is catching up at the back of the peleton, she made a mistake and has had to undo a line of knitting, which is easier said than done! Keep going Madalyn, you can do it!
Marge has decided that her finishing off her cardigan is not as easy as she thought.
She says:
"For reasons unknown to me (which is scary since I’m the knitter in charge of this UFO) (but I recognize that this kind of thing happens when you put down your knitting for a year or five), and probably everyone else in the knitting world I didn’t pickup stitches to encase the back of the neck.

I did pick up the other one billion and two stitches, so all is not lost I shall cycle on and pick up the inside of the back of the neck and encase those puppies tomorrow during Stage 6".
Shelley is feeling a bit better now and the Pi scarf is looking beautiful!

Whitney is doing so well with her Gansey, but wasn't happy with her garter/purl wheels and had to rip it out, but she seems to have caught up again.

As for me, Angie, for the passed two days I have been racing around like a "Schumacher",(ok maybe not so fast!)and not even had the time to watch the Tour, but I'm hoping to use the weekend to catch up big time.

Keep going girls!


Devorah said...

My intermediate sprint entry is up:

Romelda said...

I am really fascinated by Jennifer of Team Quickstep and her Monet bag. I will be watching to see how the lovely project turns out!