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.
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.
A good night’s spotting all round really.
- “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!
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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.