Stage ten: round-up

I am pleased to report that the no les vaches = more crash nexus has been broken.  Phew!  This meant that last night’s stage was one we could all watch without peering between our fingers, but it also meant that the cow sightings were slim.  I’m happy to go with that, though.

If seeing actual Salers, Aubracs or even Limousins was off the Team Les Vaches menu last night, it has become clear that there is a pervasive fondness for all things cow amongst fans and even pro-cyclists.  Team Radioshack’s Fumiyaki Beppu is not competing in this years Tour, but he was on Twitter yesterday sharing some pictures he’d taken in Bordeaux.  “Big deal”, I hear you sigh. “Who cares about his Akita?” .  Well, for a start, it’s a very cute dog (check his tweetstream) but we were keen on his photos because of this:

In other pre-stage cow spotting, one of our cowrespondents – journalist Thomas Samph – wrote a great recap of the first week of the Tour for Bonjour Paris, which included this nod to Les Vaches du Tour:

After all this pre-stage cow-related enthusiasm, the race got underway.  The best sighting of cattle came at 103.6km.

Image courtesy Thomas Samph

It’s hard to be sure at this resolution, but they could be Blonde d’Aquitaine, which we’ll talk more about in the stage 11 preview post.  At around this time in the US broadcast, it seems the cowmentators became obsessed with talking about calves.  Okay, so they were talking about the lower legs of cyclists.  I’d recommend you read the related twitter exchange below before clicking on this link (just so you’re prepared).

Leaving homonyms behind, Team Vache alerted us to our very first Tifosi (tifoso?1) of the 2011 Tour:

At 38 km there were lots of bells, but they were being wielded by fans, not cows.  A group of charolais was the final sighting we made of anything ruminant-related during the stage.  Essjaymoo’s review of the media this morning has, however, revealed a couple more quality cow-related pics from last night’s action:

Cows! On bikes! In straw!

And the first – but probably (hopefully!) not the last – use of last year’s Contador/clenbuterol controversy as a means to promote local beef:

"Contador - with Auvergne steak there is no problem with doping control"

To the results.  The early breakaway having been caught, green jersey holder Philippe Gilbert went out with a few kilometres to go, marked by – you guessed it! – Mr Breakaway himself, Thomas Veau-ckler.  For a while it seemed that Gilbert was going to make it, despite the fact that his little group was letting him carry most of the workload.  The other teams in the peloton weren’t so keen on giving away their sprinters’ last chance for a few stages, and the field regrouped for the tricky turns into the finish.  In the words of cowrespondent Bill:

And into Cow-moo, Greipel altho Cav nearly horned in.

No jerseys changed hands after this stage, so we have at least another day of Veau-ckler in yellow, Gilbert in green, Gesink in white and Hoogerland in the dots. Hopefully he’ll find some more kit to adorn with the spotty pattern.

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1. I am reliably informed by Bill that tifoso is the correct singular for a male and I am sure that our cow-impersonator was a man, but… I did spot an udder!

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