Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What a race! What a victory!

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:
Only 11 months to go until the next Tour de France!


Anonymous said...

oh im missing it too, i thought it was one of the most exciting races in years. and i was so nervous every night going to bed and thinking something would happen to cadel. it was so great to see him do well and be happy and calm and relaxed in his team too. the determination of all of them was really amazing. 83 hours on a bike. good lord. and yay! the skirt! the sneak peek is fab, cant wait to see more.

Bells said...

fabulous work. The sneak peak is so tantalising!

Thanks for the rundown. I knew only a little bit of that stuff. All my ambition to learn more about the race this year didn't work out! I probably only watched about 90mins of the race all up - didn't tape it or stay up late and never made it to the highlights but it was a great outcome for Cadel - he did us proud.

LynS said...

I agree - best Tout ever, and not just because of Cadel's win. A number of people have commented that this year's Tour was both slightly slower than previous years, and though there were lots of courageous rides, there were fewer spectacular ones, and that this might all be attributed to the lack of drug-taking. Let's hope so.

I stayed up most nights till the end and was so sleep-deprived I was almost a zombie.

Love the skirt - colours are wonderful.

LynS said...

That should be best 'Tour' ever. I'm sure there were lots of touts as well, but I was unaware of them.

Lynne said...

You left me in absolutely no doubt that you enjoyed the race! LOL

It was funny to go to my quilting class on Monday morning and find out that "we" had done so well at sport over the weekend - swimming, Rugby Union and motor cycle racing as well as the TdF!

Looking forward to seeing the complete skirt!

missfee said...

WOW - great tour and great write up

and a great knitting achievement too!!

can't wait to see the whole finished skirt

Sarah said...

I love your recap -helps with my withdrawal symptoms - it was a super fantastic tour and Cadel rode a near perfect race from keeping out of the crashes to his riding in the wind in the Alps limiting Andy's gain to that awesome time trial - he was the most complete rider and a worthy winner - and well done you too! Looking forward to the full reveal.

MadMad said...

Excellent recap! Now I'm feeling bad I didn't watch! Can't wait to see the skirt!

Donna Lee said...

I've never watched any of the tour. It just never appealed to me. You, however, made it sound interesting (maybe you should be a color commentator). I like any sport where you can see the individual courage and determination that goes into participating and winning.

And the skirt! I can't wait to see your personal courageous efforts.

Roxie said...

GoCadeee! Where does he train?
Go Rose! Lovely skirt!

amy said...

I'm missing it too. It went really quick this year, seemed like.

I've been hating Contador for a while now. He's such an arrogant jerk, jerk not being the word I really want to use, but trying to keep your comments clean. ;)

I'm glad Cadel got it. I wasn't exactly sure how it would pan out but if I were Andy Schleck I'd have wanted more than 57 seconds on Cadel going into that time trial. That was one heck of a time trial!

(And yup, we watched it all. On days I didn't have plans in the morning, I watched it live, and we spent more weekend days than we should have staying home all morning to watch the live coverage! And then we watched it in prime time the nights we missed it live. Sometimes I watched twice, if Chris didn't see it live because he, poor guy, has to go to work...)

Alrischa said...

Congratulations! I love knitted skirts, and I can't wait to see this one, coz I like the pattern. I did the Tour de Fleece, and spun over 2.5km of singles... and now I'm having withdrawals :D

CADEL! I stayed up late to watch it, though the only way he could lose was to fall off a cliff. Woohoo!

Ann said...

Thanks for the review. I am not a great sports fan but I do enjoy watching bits of TDF & I know Cadel won! Can't wait to see the rest of that gorgeous skirt.

1funkyknitwit said...

Oh you are funny - loved ! this post, made me laugh :D
Agreed a great race and a worthy winner. I'm often amazed at athletes and how they overcome pain to win or at least try, it takes a certain person and state of mind to do so.
Having seen your skirt I know how fabulous and wonderful job you've done with it. I love the colours together and it's finished beautifully - I can't wait to see it on you :D