I've been having withdrawal symptoms the last few days. No more Tour de France! I've had to console myself with watching recaps and stages I have taped, just for a little while each day, so I don't have to go completely cold turkey, heh! You'll have to indulge me a little with this post, I promise there is some knitting content at the end!
You would just about have to be living under a rock, in Australia at least, if you didn't know that Cadel Evans became the first Australian to win the yellow jersey overall. He looked in great form the whole race, and had fantastic team support (something he has mostly lacked, especially in the years when he came second overall), although I have to admit I wasn't 100% sure he could do it, until he did it! Not that I doubted him but moreso I worried about things outside his control - an accident - since there were so many this Tour, it was almost amazing he wasn't involved in one. It was a relief every morning when I got up and checked the TdF app to see the placings from the overnight stage, and to always see his name up there.
It wasn't just a grand Tour because of Cadel's achievement. There were so many other inspiring and amazing rides. Johnny Hoogerland cartwheeled into a barbed wire fence as a result of a media car deciding it was preferable to hit a cyclist than hit a tree. Despite deep cuts all over his body (including completely torn from hem to waist bike shorts!!) he got back on his bike, finished the stage, took the King of the Mountains jersey (crying on the podium), kept it and tried his best to defend it. And finished the race with 33 stitches. That's determination.
And Thomas Voeckler, the Frenchman who took the yellow jersey on that same stage and kept it for 9 stages, even though he was expected to loose it through the mountain stages. He clung on and rode his legs off, and kept that jersey despite his own almost daily predictions that he'd lose it. Even when his legs finally gave out chasing Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador, he still gave it his all when he crossed the line. To quote our favourite commenters Phil and Paul, the man has a huge suitcase of courage.
Andy Schleck, who didn't look to be in his best form, really showed everyone in the Alps, with two great days. He lost it in the time trial, but if he can improve there, then I've no doubt he will wear yellow in Paris in the future. He's lucky, he's young, he's got 8 years on Cadel Evans!
And even Alberto Contador, the man everyone seemed to love to hate this year. Like Andy, he didn't seem to be in his best form, and was caught up in an early crash. But he tried his heart out too, and never gave up, just like you'd expect from a winner of six grand tours. Even if you don't like him, you've got to respect that (although I really really hope he isn't a drug cheat).
Speaking of which, only one rider this year withdrew due to a positive test. Hopefully it will stay that way. Another great outcome for a sport which is really trying hard to hold a clean race.
If you can't tell already, I really loved this year's race. So much so that I've already pre-ordered the DVD, heh! (And I am not usually one to watch and rewatch classic sporting events - until now!!). I think Connor's early vocabulary will surely include the words "tourdefrance" and "gocadel"!
As for me, and my yellow jersey aspirations, well, I made it! I'll do a proper FO post when I have some modelled shots of me in the skirt, so until then, I'll leave you with a sneak peek: