It's another stage for the sprinters today, with mostly flat roads rolling the peloton on in its relentless pursuit of Paris!
Film buffs might be familiar with the modern classics Delicatessan and Amelie. These were mise en scene by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who was born in today's ville de depart, Roanne. Perhaps a Jeunet fan had a hand in planning today's stage because the ville d'arrivee is the childhood home of one of Jeanet's most famous leading ladies, Audrey Tatou, who starred in Amelie!
Today was one of those days that come along every once in a while where the breakaway holds off the peloton. (I love it when that happens!) Having slipped away from the peloton with about 90km to go, Sylvain Chavanel beat fellow Frenchman, Jeremy Roy, in a two-man sprint for the finish line. ("mano au mano" as Phil would say!)
There was still a bit of argy-bargy over the order of finishing for the sprinters back in the main pack, with the unsinkable Team Columbia again taking honours, this time with Gerard Ciolek. One person who hasn't been mentioned in our daily race reports, though he's been in the fray in each bunch sprint finish we've had is Erik Zabel - I love seeing 'Old Man' Zabel, at 38 years of age, still holding his own against these young whippersnappers from Columbia and Credit Agricole! Zabel is currently in 2nd place for the green jersey and has won it on more occasions than any other rider (6 times).
The standings at the end of Stage 19:
Yellow: Carlos Sastre (CSC)
Green: Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Polka Dot: Bernard Kohl (Gerolsteiner)
White: Andy Schleck (CSC)
And unfortunately, I have bad news about our favourite wimmer, Wim Vansevenant - he is no longer wimming! In a stunning display of coming-in-lastness, Bernard Eisel has taken over as our lanterne rouge. Hopefully, Wim can do something about this in tomorrow's time trial!
Suzy is almost done with her Arrows stole and is now wondering about the border as there are a lot of picots around it.
Katie's Nether Garments are coming along fine. Aren't they colourful?
Kathy has finished her second Tour de France project, a Foliage. Doesn't it look warm?
Steph has finished her shorts after adding a few rows for length. Don't they look comfy?
I, Shirley, haven't been able to knit very much because of my wrists but I finally finished my first ear warmer. If I can get the second one done before it's cold enough to wear them, I'll be satisfied.
Team CSC - bringing the yellow home??
Sarah B. had a horrible trip to Canada and is still getting back on track. She has caught up on her tour watching and thinks her beret will be done by the time the boys get to Paris.
Lori is falling behind in her Pi Shawl progress AND her Tour watching, but she's been eating French food.
Rabobank have some victories to report! Behold Sandy's finished Market Squares bag:
And Beth's Baudelaire socks:
Alli has put in some intensive wilderness knitting on her cycling jersey and plans to finish for Paris, despite some ripping. Bells and Sarah are knitting hell-for-leather... at least Bells is now, and Sarah will be tonight after she acquires a final skein of yarn from the stash of a most obliging local knitter. Will they finish in time on Sunday? Tomorrow's time trial may be as fateful for the knitters of Team Rabobank as it will be for Carlos, Christian, and Cadel!
Team Quick Step Update...
It is very quiet over here, I can only assume that those who have finished their projects, such as Lauren and Alli, are sat with their feet up enjoying the rest of the Tour in luxury, a nice glass of Bordeaux, Brie and Brioche while the rest of us are sweating profusely, churning out any energy we have left to get to that finish line!
Whitney has made it and finished her self designed Gansey (In 3 weeks - I must add!) and pulled all the stops out with her computer sketching:
Shelley says "Bells was right. Casting off a Pi takes forever. I will finish this!!!!!!"
You will Shelley, keep going!
Jessica sent me this message;
"I am trying to finish Ang, really, so am hoping that an all-nighter will be the answer!"
You can do it Jess!
Jennifer is pushing on through the Alps and finished her "Surprise Lace Project 1"
Shetland "Rose Lace", with a simple fagotting border on either side. She used Heirloom Knitting's CashSilk (70% cashmere, 30% silk) on 3mm needles*
As for me, I'm doing ok and I may even have a finished product by the time I get to Paris.