22 July 2008

Stage Sixteen: Cuneo > Jausiers

Grueling. Brutal. Those are the only fitting words for today's stage. My official TdF Guide says: "the riders face one of the most intense stretches of climbing in Tour history. After crossing the Demonte river and turning left in the little Italian village of Pratolungo, they face 11,000 feet of uphill work in the following 82km over two of the toughest hors categorie mountain passes in Europe." Yikes.

Our two mountains of torture included 1)the Col de la Lombarde (up to 13% grade in some parts -- the Tour has never crossed here before) and 2) the Cime de la Bonette (avg. 6.2 % for 26.7 km, enough to make anyone abandon!). Thankfully for most riders, there was a downhill finish to Jausiers, if they didn't crash first (poor Christian Vande Velde). And in the "but wait, there's more!" category, tomorrow brings us the revered and dreaded L'Alpe d'Huez. It wouldn't feel like the tour without it.

A little local culture: Cuneo, Italy is the hometown of Michele Ferrero, owner of Ferrero SpA, as in Ferrero Roche, Mon Cheri, and Nutella chocolate. Here's hoping there are samples of those in the riders' musette bags!!

Jausiers is a tiny French town of less than 1,000 inhabitants. According to the official Tour website, many of its citizens were sent to Louisiana, USA, and Mexico as early as the 19th century, where they made their fortunes and then came home to France to enjoy them. Located in a national park, it is noted for its clear air and water, which inspires every kind of outdoor sport and activity.

Race Report: Cyril Dessel did our Ag2R-La Mondiale team proud today, by winning Stage 16. Team CSC protected Frank Schleck's yellow jersey, with Bernard Kohl in second place, and CADEL in third, trailing by only 8 seconds. John-Lee Augustyn took a nasty turn in the gravel, and his bike went down the side of the mountain. Thankfully, he clambered back up to watch the race until his bike was replaced. Christian Vande Velde also crashed on the descent, and fell to sixth place.

Yellow: Frank Schleck (CSC)

Green: Oscar Freire (Team Ribby Man, I mean, Rabobank)

Polka Dot: Bernard Kohl (Gerolsteiner)

White: Andy Schleck (CSC)

Team: CSC

Lantern Rouge: In 151st place, Wim Vansevenant (Silence Lotto)

And now, an update from Meg on our Intermediate Sprint Competitions:

We had so much fun reading all the entries in the 2nd Intermediate Sprint! Special honourable mentions go to Mel T, Angie, Kristen, and SlothKnits - we are spoiled for choice with all the great places you have taken us to visit! Where will my next holiday be to?!!? And your finalists are [drumroll please...]

Ina's trip to the farmer's market (and check out that organic produce seller!)
Martha's tour of DC (help save her bike trail which is under threat!)
Caffeine Faerie's French Onion Soup (don't miss Step 10!)
Whitney's Tour de Gansey (the thesis continues!)
Cathy Ann's cycle tour of the Ohio wine country (it might not be France but yes, Ohio does have a wine country!)
Cristina61's Beauty in Your Own Backyard (her area promises to be bombarded by the masses with a description like this!)

Vote below for your favourite! Voting will close at midnight PARIS TIME on 25th July (the day of Stage 19), so what are you waiting for?!?? Clickez-vous!

And what are these intermediate sprinters sprinting for you ask? "Tell them what they'll win, Bob!"

The talented Katie from Live2Knit Luxury Hand-dyed Yarns has set aside two special Tour de France yarns for us and the winners of each intermediate sprint will win one skein of her specialty yarn!!
Mae Bamboo in Sea Glass (though Katie suggests we rename it Loire Valley Green)

Shirley DK Merino in Lava (though again Katie cleverly suggests this be renamed Devil Red)

Please be sure to stop by Katie's shop and say Merci! for providing us with such lovely prizes!

And now for some team updates...

The gang from TEAM GARMIN-CHIPOTLE really took a rest day. I could only find info for a few members.

Kira thinks she has been dropped from l’arriere du peloton too because she accidentally left her knitting behind at her cousin’s house interstate when we visited on the weekend. It will take several valuable knitting days to get it back. She thinks this is the end of her Maillot Vert dreams.

Heather says she feels her chain is about to come off.... she’s down to very little yarn and am not done with the sleeves, much less the collar. A desperate message was sent to a friend in Munich who may be able to help out. Her sprinting days of 2008 are almost over. She might have to look for a similar weight in another color to redo the shoulders and collar (and add a tiny boarder to the hem and cuffs). after she gets over her depression, that is. Good thing cold weather is still hard to imagine.

Bridget merely sent a picture of a thermometer and the words “too darn hot”. Enough said!

Jane's NDDG is coming along great guns and she is just doing the collar as she finished the front on Monday night. She is not sure if she will have enough yarn and thought sheI would join the back and front first, knit the collar, and then knit both of the sleeves at the same time. If she run"s out of yarn so be it, so she says

My body is falling apart and my chiropractor is working me over. The only problem seems to be trying to knit while icing a shoulder with tendonitis, and the elbow and wrist that follow. SO progress has slowed but the road beckons. I actually had my bike out.

Team CSC - Still in Yellow...

Ina has some gorgeous pics on her blog of her local farmer's market in her Intermediate Sprint #2 entry. Sadly, no pictures of the sexy hot organic produce man...

No update on Judy's little nightie, but she must be feeling better because she's started more than one project over the last couple of days.

EnnaVic has figured out that if she rolls her brim on her tam it looks better, although not quite as cozy warm.

Sarah's lace sweater is giving her grief (at least her yarn-overs are) but she's completed the front and is moving on to the back.

And I'm on my last sleeve of the February Lady Sweater. I'll be project-free by the time we hit the Champs.

Team Lampre update: It appears that, while members are still knitting, many have been sidetracked by projects other than their KAL's, not to mention a slew of other activities and distractions. In between gardening, polo watching, and concocting delicious fruity desserts, Sarah has managed to make progress on the front of the Getaway Jacket.

Cindy has dealt with the threat of jury duty, a round of appointments, and the lure of starting in on some gorgeous socks, so there has not been a whole lot of Stargate Cardi knitting - though the cute handmade doggie stitch marker offers incentive.

Donna's Tour has been interrupted by the siren song of new yarns at her LYS, including Jamieson's Spindrift and Noro. Not to worry, she has finished the first sleeve (one to go!) and deserves a rest day.

After finishing the first item on her long KAL finish-the-WIPs list, (the pink and green socks), Natalie has been crazy busy with spinning, weaving, and tending to her online store. Wonder what she will finish next?

Team Rabobank:

Sarah is back from Knitting Camp all fired up with fresh enthusiasm for the craft, if nursing a pair of rather sore hands from so much intensive knitting! She is very close to having her other French-related project finished to show off (pictures tomorrow for Alpe d'Huez, perhaps?), and she's reached the red kite for the summit of the project - a tubular cast off is just around the bend, and then a bit of sleeve action. Her green jersey hopes are high, although she's hitting a serious yarn shortage and will have to spend the afternoon scouring the city for a similar yellow laceweight.

Here's the back of Bells's beautiful eyelet cardi:

(Looks like a marble pastry roller in the background - very appropriate!) And check out Sandy's freshly felted Market Squares bag:

If I were Sandy, I'd have a hard time attending to the finishing details with this great loot on hand from our Team Time Trial victory:

Cleckheaton Country Silk...mmmm. Maybe she can cast it on while the bag is drying. Speaking of bags, have a look at Erika's Rabobank bag/rasta hat:

And Kate seems to have been too busy (or too modest) serving as Team Captain to share the evidence of her own imminent triumph in the Green Jersey category:

All the knitting on her Ondulation tunic is complete - a bit of edging, a few buttons, and she'll be stepping onto the podium! Go Rabobank!

1 comment:

Ina said...

My thanks to the co-hostesses - I'm honored to be a finalist in the 2nd intermediate sprint! Bonne chance to all contenders - and vote for meeeee.