Stage 20: Round-up

A gorgeous Parisian afternoon, a totally dominant team, and finally a win for a Briton in Le Tour.  We even got to see a bit of his sense of humour when he declared he was going to draw the raffle numbers from the podium.

I’m not sure that the planned live singing had the same effect as unexepected last minute Tina Arena singing had, or maybe it’s just that anthem sounded so very strange in that context. 

It was a lovely moment when the peloton sent Chris Horner and George Hincapie on ahead to enter the Champs Elysees first.  And I really enjoyed Jens Voigt motoring along in the breakaway and making Cav earn his final stage victory for the year.

For posterity I guess; trhe other jerseys were awarded to Peter Sagan (Green), Thomas Voeckler (KotM) and Tejay Van Garderen (White).

Thanks to all who joined us this year.  We’ve had a blast and have enjoyed “hanging out” with you on twitter and facebook.

Now dry your eyes with a kangaroo and join me in some final pics.

All together now (one last time?)

I was amused to see someone found our blog by googling “tejay van garderen shirtless” – I can’t give you that – but I can give you Tommy Veau-ckler at the beginning of the stage yesterday.  You can see the grins on the Liquigas team behind him, they were slow handclapping as well.

Tommy Voeckler changes shirt to the amusement of Team Liquigas

 This time last year Tina Arena sang the national anthem as Evans made sporting history by becoming the first Australian Tour winner. Today Cowdel spoke candidly of his feelings at the end of the 99th TdF

“Last year was a realisation of a career of dreams,” he said. “This year … it’s not full of disappointments, but certainly below expectations. Always, finishing off a Tour is a satisfaction.

“Winning is a lot more fun. This sport is a lot easier when you’re winning. When you’re having a bad time … it’s the hardest sport in the world.”

Champion indeed. 

A nice moment between Wiggo and Cuddles

It’s been interesting to read and see the media response to Wiggins win and Froome’s 2nd place and compare it to what we experienced here in Australia last year.

  Yes I did manage to find some Vache from the final stage:

 

#trolldj

Someone else found our blog by googling “what is trolldj Tour de France” – although not our invention, were proud to join the throng of folks congratulating #trolldj on a fantastic tour. Last night we heard a few remixes of favourites from throughout the tour, and a few that were tweeted during the last stage, so either #trolldj loves the twitters, or we’re plainly too obvious in our requests.  You’re got a year to dig out the more obscure ones folks!

#trolldj credit from SBS TV coverage

  • “Heaven” Emili Sande – opening montage showing highlights of Le Tour
  • “Moving Right Along” Kermit and Fozzie – as you would 🙂
  • Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) – Greenday lots of smiling and laughing riders on the last day heading in to Paris.
  • “Foux da Fafa” – Flight of the Conchords – another crowd favourite.
  • “Well Did You Evah” -Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby “What a swell party this is”
  • “Yellow” – Coldplay – der
  • “Parlez-Vous Francais” – Art vs Science “The Champs-Elysees is a busy street”
  • “Better” – Tom Baxter – Closing montage.

And finally – yes Injera – I did eat the ‘spreadable wedges”. In honour of the defending champion I thought I should do a little ‘us” vs “them playoff. Despite the “new and improved” stamp our La vache qui rit is still made in Poland and still tastes a lot worse than good old Kraft cheese wedges.  The 70% more calcium is a touch troubling as well.

70% more calcium!

 

Stage 19: Round-up

I don’t think I paced myself well – I should have saved some of yesterday’s analytical thoughts for today. Today – the day after the ITT that meant little, unless someone fell off or it rained (which I didn’t wish for, don’t get me wrong).

Wiggo showed us that he really can TT (which we kinda knew already) – beating the times of Christopher Froome and Moois Leon Sanchez, not only winning the stage but increasing his lead in the yellow jersey comp.

And to be honest, a drinking competition to the mentions of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres (#drink!), when the stage finished in Chartres for every rider in the field, probably wasn’t the best idea I’ve had.

Although we saw no Vache of any kind at all on this stage, I couldn’t resist snapping some moments to share with you.

The obligatory Field Art showed us fields and fields of wheat – and not a cow in sight.

 

The “Shiny Shiny” (but not as “Shiny Shiny” as last year’s) Astana TT skin suit.

and BMC multi-tasking team manager John Lelangue was shown doing what he does best, everything!

 

 

I’ve been enjoying reading some of the commentary floating about on the Team Sky/Wiggins/Froome situation.

From Velocast

And Jens Voigt

The Australian Financial Review’s take on it

But at the end of the day I guess this photo says it all … (including ewwww)

Tweeted by Robbie Hunter “And ppl say They don’t like each other. Maybe they do more than we think..ha ha”

#trolldj

  • “Ready to Go” – Panic! At the Disco –  the starting house, the countdown, the beginning of the TT
  • “This is Gonna Be Good” – Randy Newman
  • “Happiness” – Sam Sparro
  • The Real Things” – Russell Morris a tribute to Wiggo.

Wonder what we’ll find to chat about tomorrow?

 

Stage 18: Round-up

*Yaaaawwnnnn*  … hello everyone.  Hope you made time for a nap during last night’s stage? No? You were all wide awake trying to spot cows?  Really? Hmmmm …

WELL WHERE WERE THEY?

And, no, these guys – cute as they are – do not count.

Cute, but not Vache

I guess we really can’t complain. We’ve had some terrific Vache spottings this tour and I think (although I haven’t done the stats yet*) that we’ve seen many more than last year.

I’m very pleased that they have all been very well-behaved Vache too; unlike those ones in the Dauphine last year, or the big black furry dog from this stage. It’s a terrible shame that spectators haven’t learned yet not to bring animals to the tour that aren’t controlled. Unfortunately the only vision on the incident that the ever-resourceful Injerarufus could find also featured Gilbert berating the owners, who were cowering behind their young daughter. No winners from this moment.

But Cowvendish gave us a real thrill at the end of the stage.  He made it the whole way through the mountains, carting water bottles and rain jackets, he didn’t leave early to prepare for the Olympics, and he earned his star-studded Sky lead out train of Wiggo and EBH. The peloton caught a strong breakaway with mere metres to spare and then, the little man FLEW! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone ride that quickly on the road. Amazing. Good one Cav!

The uninteresting stage gave me some time for reflection  – was this the most boring tour I’ve watched? Maybe. Without many of the individual stars – like the God of Thunder, and the promise of a Schleck sandwich, or Fabian Cancellara’s sweet smile on the podium – I did find it lacklustre.

I vacillate between admiring Team Sky and disliking them. Watching them after the stage win last night and seeing the genuine joy shared by Wiggo and Cav makes my heart sing a little bit.  But Stage 17 where Wiggo or Team Sky just weren’t prepared to let Froome have a bit of a run at it broke my heart a little.

Overall I blame the lack of genuine GC contenders for the predictable nature of the Tour.  Sure, it’s been a fantastic result for Great Britain, Team Sky and Wiggo, but there really weren’t enough teams to challenge the tactics and the spreadsheets of Team Sky.  Any team competition knows that you need your talent spread amongst a number of teams to make it an interesting competition and that just didn’t happen this year. What effect even one more GC contender might have had on the result is interesting to contemplate. The placement of the two individual TTs (one just before the Alps) must be questioned.

I want to see a Team TT as well as an individual TT.

The GreenEDGE boys tried again and again, and were mixing it up at the right end of the peloton again. You’d have to rate this a success for them, and see it as laying a foundation for next year.

Over the line we saw Cav, Rogers and Sagan. Overall we’ve got Wiggo, Froome and Nibali. Vino earned Most Combative and the white jersey still sits with Tejay van Garderen.

#trolldj

  • “Now or Never” from Thirsty Merc
  • “Let the Good Times Roll” by Georgie Fame
  • “Here I go Again” – Whitesnake

So two more days of riding with little chance of Vache on either them. I’m looking forward to catching up on the #tourdesnack hashtags and reading some of the interesting cycling blogs.

 

* and may never do them.

Stage 17: Round-up

Tonight – tonight we were promised a “Short stage, with a violent start” [cue spooky orchestral music, thunder clashes etc]. Tonight we would see the polka dot jersey decided and by the end of the stage we’d know who we’d be dining with in the Hall of the Mountain King!  Oh yeh! [cymbal clash, thunder crash]

But first, the convenors of this wonderful coverage of Le Tour would surprise, confuse and freak.us.out a bit. One of the little community games that has sprung up around twitter is calling the time when Phil and Paul will “catch” Matt Keenan on the commentary.  Last night though things were a bit shady, a bit “online betting bizarre”. Matt’s dulcet tones started the commentary as usual, to be replaced by Phil and Paul… only to be replaced by Matt Keenan again! wot? When P&P returned they casually mentioned going for a cup of tea.  Some of us mentioned that perhaps the horrible gastro bug that seems to be making it’s way around the peloton had reached the commentary team.  Right then – on with the race.

Today Little Tommy Veau-ckler proved time and time again that he was wearing that polka-dot jersey because he was the best climber. Kessiakoff tried many attacks; sneaking around him, a long sprint time, a short sprint time, just going as hard and as long as he could, waiting for TV to make a move, making the move himself. Nothing worked. TV crossed the summits first and cleared up the points. these two battled each other, fog and stupid spectators to finalise the polka dot jersey comp.

Wiggo did what Wiggo does, and Sky kept the peloton under control for most of the race. But I doubt if Wiggo had a happy day in the team bus as when the drizzle started he had to go and get HIS OWN RAIN VEST! woah!

Valverde took control of the race and won the stage convincingly.  Nibali and Leeky-gas (not a Welsh team as Injera reminded us) tried but were thwarted by the pure power and professionalism that is Team Sky.

Some parts of the stage featured no attacks, no fog, no Vache … thank goodness P&P had #chaingate to fall back on – remember the time when Andy Schleck’s chain slipped off and … *snore*

Vache!

(Thank goodness)

 

74.8

74.7

58.7

Closing Montage

 

#trolldj

  • “Days Like This” – Van Morrison “When it’s not always raining – there’ll be days like this” – Misty, foggy, and I reckon a bit cold.
  • “Here Comes Your Man” – Pixies with pics of Tommy Veau-ckler clearing summits
  • It’s Not Where You Start” Rowlf (Muppets) “Its not where you start it’s where you finish”
  • “Mission Impossible Theme” – pics of Cadel 🙁

 

And no … I’m not mentioning naked guy.

 

Stage 16: Round-up

I guess the question is, can anyone/anything stop the yellow wiggle? I spent quite a lot of last night’s stage waiting in breathless anticipation for the attack that didn’t come until just before the final climb. When it did it came from Nibali, who actually managed to make Wiggins sweat a teeny bit.  Liquigas actually put the foot down at one stage, with Basso setting the pace for Nibali.  I’d forgotten Basso was even riding this tour.

So barring any unfortunate accidents the Yellow Caboose has run a text book tour campaign and will well deserve the winner’s spot. But tonight, the story was about the winner of the stage, and the loser. Tommy Voeckler (Veau-ckler to #TeamVache) finished ahead of Sorensen and Izaguirre in what can only be described as  a bloody hard slog.  Tommy’s facial expressions as he drove on and on became as much a part of the commentary as Jens’ age and “Nibali” mispronunciations. But his tongue must have super powers as he took home another stage in gurning style, earning himself the most combative award for the stage.

At one point I was distracted by something and when I looked back at the screen I saw close ups of trees and someone working their way through the branches – for a moment I thought the live stream has been taken over by Bear Grylls… but no – Chris Horner had taken a detour into the undergrowth. He appeared unharmed though and continued on after shaking the dirt from his ears.

The climbs were HC (have cheese?) and the descents were fast and furious; at one stage the bike riders were travelling faster than the moto carrying cameramen.

A large group of breakies was whittled down to 2 by the hard climbs and at one stage there were 6 groups displayed on tour tracker. One of these groups was labelled Group Evans, but we didn’t see the best from Cadel.  Suffering from a stomach bug (he’s not the first one to mention that in this year’s riders) he was obviously pained to be dragging himself over the hills. Bugger. TJ was in the break and held on to give himself a lead of 3:48 over Pinot in the Young Rider classification.

Good thing I was also on #VacheWatch. And luckily, SBS got into the spirit and provided live streaming from 7:30pm. If they have, we would have had an almost Vache-less stage.  As it was we got to glimpse many Vaches generally ignoring the riders.

This is what I was looking for …a Betizuak in front of snow-capped mountains and .. glitter!  Right.  Thanks @jaybeenesq for the postcard from your last jaunt to the Pyrenees.

 

 

I did tweet wondering where the cows were, and threatened to post pics of horses that we saw instead, but then an amazing thing happened.  Oh yes, as the riders went higher we came across more and more cows! Well that makes sense really as it’s mid-summer and they go higher as the snow melts.  Der.

138.9 km Vache on the crest.

135km with sheep in the background – just cause we can

135km closeup girls!

I really wish SBS had been broadcasting as this lovely Vache was video worthy (or at least a better pic) – appearing from nowhere to walk along next to the peloton for a bit, completely unperturbed by the action.

134.7 km

130.5 km snacking away

130.5km Lovely isn’t she?

79.3 Cows on the right, sheep to the left!

A good night’s spotting all round really.

#trolldj

  • “I’ve Got My Mojo Working” – Manfred Man. Tomas Veau-ckler working his mojo, his tongue, his facial expressions, anything to get him over that line.
  • “The Ending is Just The Beginning” – The Living End.
  • “Foreign Land” – Eskimo Joe.
  • “Every LIttle Bit Hurts” – The Spencer Davis Group – Cadel, showing the strain, trying his hardest, giving it his all.
  • “Far From Over” – Frank Stallone.

Field Art: Ever-loveable smiling sheep!

 

= = = = = = = = =

We’re lucky to have LVDT supporter (and jersey sponsor) Will, from Two Wheel Tours as a cowrespondent again this year and he snapped this gorgeous cow on the slopes of Tourmelet.

Check out Will’s albums over on his Facebook page.

Stage 15: Round-up

I guess you can blame me.

I was lucky enough to score a rest day of my own on Sunday night with Injera taking over the recap reins for the evening (thanks!). Today we’re back to my usual drivel and I guess I’m being punished by Le Tour Overseers as we experienced a very tedious stage. Very late in the telecast I did a twitter roll call and was really proud that some many of #TeamVache had hung in there to spot until the end of a seemingly interminable transition stage. If you haven’t joined us yet on twitter, follow us here and use the hashtag #lvdt plus a km mark when you spot cows, fake cows, men in cow pyjamas, cow patterned wellingtons …

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Stage 13: Round-up

Oh I’m so conflicted!  Last night’s coverage gave us what I think was possibly the best cow spotting of the tour so far, with added bonus Paul Sherwen commentary. But it was the only cow spotting for this stage.  Does that make it a good stage for #TeamVaches or a bad stage?

The riders were cycling for almost 5 hours today, through some uninspiring scenery. Eventually Michael Morecow got bored with it too and sped away front he pack in an attempt to get to the finish and into the showers first. From 60 km out he battled alone, through cross winds that split the peloton and on his way up the Cat 3 climb at the end of the stage, only to be caught by the peloton and bumped.

Andrew Greipel took home his third stage win for this tour, closely followed by Peter Sagan and Edvard Boasson Hagen.

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Stage 12: Round-up

Oh I don’t know – am I tired, flat, sick of being awake in the middle of the night?

Last night seemed .. well .. tedious. Longest stage of the tour this year (226km), started high, and ended up low and flat. Flat… maybe Injera is on to something?  Tonight was the night for the breakaways and a group of five stayed away to earn some points and some team pride for Garmin Sharp. At 35 years of age, and with the retirement of the teams GC hope Ryder Hesjedal earlier in the tour, Scot David Millar was released from “team” duties to see what he had left in his legs on the 45th anniversary of the death of British cyclist Tommy Simpson during a tour stage. A classic “cat and mouse” sprint and the end saw Millar out-play Peraud to win the stage.  Millar has joined the group that I now think are pushing for a new race jersey competition, shall we call it the grey jersey, for the best riders over 35?

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Stage 11: Round-up

I think we have to give that set to Team Sky (to continue an analogy that may not go any further).

A bad day for Cowdel which I’m not sure he will be able to recover from – but as they say – anything can happen and it’s still a long way to Paris. The yellow wiggle didn’t have it all his own way though, appearing to struggle again at the end of the climb.  Best laid plans of Cowdel to attack and attack again all came to nought. It was a long way out from the finish that the first attack came (around 60km) and it ended up being too far out. I hate to sound like a hyper-patriotic Australian but I do wish there were a couple more tough climbs in the next few days, but there’s not. Then again – maybe I don’t. Maybe Cadel just isn’t as fit as he needed to be after that long rest from competition. And maybe the Pyrenees will sort Wiggo out. Who knows!  All I know is I have stocked up on snacks and wine and am looking forward to a weekend on the couch.

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Stage 10: Round-up

Advantage Wiggins?

A new Col for Le Tour, but the stage didn’t pan out the way I expected. In the end I think the summit of Col du Grand Colombier was too far away from the finish line for it to truly be the game changing stage I’d hoped for.  Team Sky looked strong and were certainly strong enough to keep Wiggo out of trouble and he arrived home at the same time as Cowdel. Still we get to the see the longest, slowest “sprint” finish in memory.

A fast start to the stage at an average of almost 50km/hour for the first hour. Two smaller breakways, including one featuring green jersey holder Peter Sagan,  were caught up leaving a group of 25 riding out front and preparing for the first climb where early dotty points were won by MoreCow, Grivko, TheJensie and Veau-ckler.

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