10 July 2008

Stage Six: Aigurande > Super-Besse Sancy

Today the cyclists got down, or should I say, up, to serious business, as they cross the Massif Central and head for les montagnes! The sprinters will try to merely finish within the time limit, but those climbers are going to shine. Go Polka Dot Jerseys!

Beginning in Aigurande, a first-time stage city, riders covered 195.5 km towards Super-Besse. Aigurande is situated between two departments of France, Indre and Creuse. Two rivers, the Bouzanne and Vauvre, feature prominently. According to the Tour website, the primary professions for the area are farmers and "self-employed craftsmen." If you are feeling the need for a career change to something fibery, this might be the place to go! Aigurande is also famous for its crayfish.

Super-Besse, on the other hand, has twice been a stage town, and is both a winter ski resort, and a summer destination for sailing, swimming, and hiking, among other activities. Riders who made it up the mountain here reached an altitude of 1289 meters. Pace yourselves along with those cyclists as we get into the heart of the mountains now, and the knitting.

Riccardo Ricco of Team Saunier Duval Scott won the stage today, sprinting ahead of race favorites Cadel Evans of Silence Lotto, and Alejandro Valverde of Cassie D'Epargne. On his heels in second place was Kim Kirchen of Team Columbia, who took the jersey from third place finisher and current maillot jaune wearer Stefan Schumacher. Schumacher blamed Kirchen for bumping his wheel, causing the crash, and causing him to lose the jersey. Knitters be warned: keep those elbows in! :)

Standings as of Stage 6:
Yellow: Kim Kirchen (Columbia)
Green: Kim Kirchen (Columbia)
Polka Dot: Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) tied with Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) (Ed note: by the time the Tour is over, I will have the spelling of Bouygues Telecom memorized!)
White: Thomas Lovkvist (Columbia)
Team: Garmin-Chipotle

Our beloved Lantern Rouge is still Wim Vansevenant of Team Silence-Lotto, in 176th place.
Allez! Allez! Allez! And now for Team Updates:

Team Lampre update: It's been quiet on the knitting front. Sarah, who loves to cook, looks forward to celebrating the Tour with French food, but the heat is keeping her out of the kitchen. In the meantime she will settle for a baguette, chevre, grapes and wine on the patio.

Donna is on a business trip: "I am languishing without my Tour on Tivo and my project has a flat tire for now....back to sprint mode on Thursday." Kristen has finally gotten into the rhythm of the cable pattern for her vest and has nearly completed two repeats.
Team FDJ News:
A quick picture-heavy update today. Lots of progress! Helen has progress on her I Do Shrug:
Julia has completed the toes on her entrelac socks:

Meanwhile, Jen has, in her own words, "geeked out entirely and decided that my Tour de France knitalong socks will have 21 cables from cuff to toe, one for each stage of le Tour. " How cool is that?

Stacy's adorable baby sweater is also underway:
Janine's Clapotis just keeps getting plus grand:

And Lynn, our white jersey contender, is almost ready to start her socks, she has purchased the yarn and just needs to wind it.
More to come as we hit the mountains over the weekend.

News from Team Liquigas:

One or two team members appear to be "en vacances" at present. However there is SOME progress. Rosemary is going from strength to strength with her Montparnasse - well done, it has grown so quickly, and I am so looking forward to photos. Both sleeves are done! Blocking and seaming planned for tomorrow and then "just" the collar and edging to knit. Wow!

Amy promises a knitterly update soon. Heather is making progress with her Canal du Midi sock - unfortunately this is only a Ravelry link as I seem unable to save a photo of it for some reason.

Linz's Terttu Shawl is looking fab now that it has grown even more.

And as for Joy well I am pleased to say that I have been knitting from a chart. I KNOW it's only a small uncomplicated chart but it's a chart nevertheless, and so far my polka dot jersey challenge is going well - two new things learned :-) Short row heels are coming though, so I may need those stabilisers again ;-)

And the canapé is all ready for the border - four extra pattern repeats knitted :-)

Jusqu'à la prochaine fois, tricotage heureux :-)

News from CSC:

Our team is actually in 2nd place in the team standings, even if we've had some horrific results (can you say individual time trial...who is this Schumacher dude???).

After a slow start, Sarah B. has made some headway with her very French and chic, beret.

(and don't tell anyone, but word on the street is that Sarah is an avid cycling fan but can not, in fact, ride a bike.....).

Elisa is catching up with the tour coverage after being away, and was watching the live coverage of stage 6, whilst frogging one sleeve of her cardigan. A minor mishap, but she feels better, post-frog. Warning: picture of frogging below...

And CathyAnn has completed almost have of the lace peplum on her cardigan. She had to put it down during yesterday's sprint however, as it was far too exciting.

Latest from Camp Credit Agricole

Ah, the wind in our fleeces, the flowers in the hedgerows, the Flying Sheep have been sailing serenely through this stage. Who said 'Mint Sauce?' Pedal, girls, pedal for your lives!

And serious pedalling has been going on,I can assure you.

Lyn has finished both fronts of her Montparnasse. Such balance, such finesse, such a lot of knitting!

Susan is now half way down the leg of her second Rivendell sock - three pairs of socks by the end of the Tour? I'd stake my padded shorts on it.

Rachel has turned the heel on La Chanteuse so is shaping up as a solid challenger for honours too.

Gina is throwing down the gauntlet to fellow tourers with her intensely yellow afghan square - no mistaking that message. Never underestimate the power of the crochet hook - go Gina!

Marci has burst from the back of the pack with today's most impressive run and is half way up the back of her Phildar Gilet. No Lantern Rouge for our Marci!

As for me, Jane I've now completed 48 rows of Le Germolene. Time to step up the pace a bit - this is a race - not M Hulot's Holiday!

Once again, an impressive showing from the Woolly Wheelers!

Kate from Team Rabobank reports:
I'd like to get some knitting done tonight, without being interrupted by importunate children or housework or whatever. I've done tonight's share of the latter, and I'm hoping that the former does not fill my evening with changing sheets, washing yuck out of a child's hair, or not getting to sleep until after 11pm... because we did that yesterday, thank you very much.
Time to put the kettle on.
Knit on!

Team AG2R-Mondiale
Steph has almost used up her first ball of wool and see how far it has taken her.
I thought that Suzy was just on Ravlery and I hadn't heard from her either, but it turns out that she has a blog and I went to see her TdF CAL project. After finishing 2/3 of the Arrows Stole in 3 days, she's added beads to make it a bit more challenging.

Kathy has finished her Evangeline mitts, the first of three projects for the KAL! She's already working on her second project which is a foliage hat.

Allo from Team Silence-Lotto! Unfortunately, we have met with our first casuality. Jennifer has decided to scrap her swallowtail shawl. She says "this project has been the antithesis of all I find good and joyful in knitting". A new project may be in the works or she may pick up where she left off on a skirt she calls Oolong.

Melanie (who actually lives in France and had her own mini Tour yesterday) is making good progress on her maillot jaune. She is up to the point where it divides for the armholes already and loves the sweater. And Amy has finished her first project, a pair of Tall Tibetian Coriolis socks in very appropriate red, white and blue. Tres francais, non?

I am still working away on my adamas shawl. No ripping lately. Yay for progress!

Team Quick Step.

You've got to see this...

Ali's cropped cardigan has gone from yarn to cardigan in 4 hours! What a super sprinter,

her plan seems to be working, despite feeling poorly in the middle of it all and because she's doing so well, she's working on a few other projects to! Go Girl!

Another one near the front of the Team Quick Stitch is Shelley with her Pi blanket, glad to hear all is going well. We've got even more sprinting from Marge,Madalyn and Whitney, it's a shame that the Quick Step boys aren't doing quite as well, at least they're still in the race. And that's the way I'm looking at my scarf at the moment,

I'm just sitting in the back, waiting... until at least next Wednesday!


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