Stage twenty-one: round-up

The individual time trial rendered me inarticulate; it should come as no surprise that the confirmation of Cadel Evans as winner of Le Tour has not resulted in me being any less of a gibbering mess.

The basic facts, then, in case you have been out of the news loop and have for some reason come here to catch up:

  • Cadel Evans (BMC) is the first Australian to win the Tour de France and relived the experience of being in a Schleck sandwich, this time on the podium in Paris, between second place-getter Andy and GC number three, Fränck.
  • Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) won the stage and the green jersey.
  • Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) took the King of the Mountains award.
  • Pierre Rolland (Europcar) won the white jersey.
  • Jérémy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) won the “Super Combative” award and the informal award for the most extravagantly-pronounced name by Sherwen and Liggett.
  • There are no cows in Paris.

Stage eighteen: round-up

Stage 18 was the first of the last, or the last of the first, or the stage that would determine everything, or the stage that would determine nothing, depending on who you listened to or even what particular time you tuned in to their comments. “Oscillating wildly” seems to sum up some of the pundits.  Whatever the result foretells, we are hoping it is not a precedent for the last of the cow spotting as we saw representations but no real ruminants.  We know there were cows about, as Jane managed to pick out a cow icon on one of the roadside signs as the riders climbed past, but they stayed away from the cameras.


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Stage seventeen: round-up

Yesterday’s stage was not much for cows; in fact, the only non-human life we saw was captured in this image by cowrespondent Bill:

Life is probably the wrong word in these circumstances, as by this stage I think the life force had departed this little bug.

We did hear cowbells throughout the stage, which must mean there were cows around, right?  When I wondered aloud what the purpose of cowbells were, my viewing companion responded that they are so “the farmer can hear the cows running away”.  Now every time I hear the bells I imagine a farmer saying “there go the cows again, Beryl”.  This is what happens when I don’t have visuals to distract me…

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Stage sixteen: round-up

We had anticipated that this stage might be devoid of cattle and we were not wrong.  Fortunately les agriculteurs ensured that Team Vaches’ bovine vigilance wasn’t in vain with their field art.

Thanks, @LacusCurtius, for the #lvdt tweet - you made it easy for me to find this in the recording!

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Stage fifteen: round-up

It was only appropriate, in hindsight, that the stage from Limooooooo would give Team Vaches the Tour’s best bovine experience.  Of course, it didn’t start promisingly.  The landscape the peloton rolled through was notable for the absence of pasture, dominated by the vines of the Languedoc.  Paul helpfully informed us that the vines produce 130,000 hectalitres of wine per year.  “Well that should keep Paul Sherwen in stead for the rest of the Tour de France,” was Phil Liggett’s dry rejoinder.  It was at about this point that the helicopter gave us a long view of the terrain to come.

Sky shot – not a vache in sight.

That tweet was enough to persuade me to set the recorder and abandon for the evening.

See: Cows with Guns for what happened next…

After the excitement of the Cow tribute, the rest of the stage was a bit of a blur (yes, even watching it in replay – once I’d seen that fabulous montage I had to remind myself to keep watching the race!).  The wind continued to attack the peloton as they battled towards Montpellier and the breakaway wasn’t able to keep the sprinters, eager for a last bit of glory before Paris, at bay.  Cowvendish was able to take the stage victory and keeps the green jersey.  There was no change for any of the “heads of state” or jersey holders, so they will all go to the rest day almost as satisfied by the stage as Team Vaches.  Almost.  I’m not sure they will be on quite the same high…

The montage is up at SBS Cycling Central. Vive les vaches!



Cows with Guns

School night, peeps, off to bed… keep me posted with cow sightings #lvdt [ir]
July 17, 2011

My timing was impeccable.  Even if I’d seen this tweet from earlier, I’d have had no idea of its significance:

May have just completed the most ridiculous/awesome work of my career. Will go to air tonight.
July 17, 2011
But it all soon became clear.  Or clear-ish.

Stage fourteen: round-up

It was the last stage in the Pyrenees and we had our sights set on the cattle, of course. There were reports of cows at 114.2km and 112km from those in Team Vaches who were watching the web coverage (thanks Kate and Andrew), but when the SBS coverage began at 101km the route was barren of bovines. The recap editor missed a chance fo show us the earlier cows, for some bizarre reason focussing on the climbs we’d missed.  Huh.  There was a sense of resignation, another cow free stage. At least Paul Sherwen was thinking of the geologists among us, discussing a source of chromium in the mountains. And then:
Well, what would be rather nice if we could spot round here, there is a very well-known rare race of cows, the belle Gascon.  They’re actually white cows, but the youngsters have a brown coat.
This alone would have made the stage a winner for Team Vaches, but it was about to get better.  A sighting!

Paul Sherwen will have to talk about cows more often - he conjured these up!

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Stage thirteen: round-up

Riders are approaching KM 0. It’s hot for a change. Watch out for cows that roam free on the Aubisque and Soulor.

That tweet from The Inner Ring is just the kind of thing Team Vaches wants to read as a stage starts.  After a number cow-free stages we were keen for #trolldj to go back to being a distraction from, rather than the focus of, our nightly viewing.  Our hopes had also been raised when we received this photo from cowrespondent David, taken on the road to Lourdes in 2008:

After the Taste Le Tour segment, my only cow-related concern ahead of the coverage starting was that we had no cheese to accompany what promised to be a riot of ruminant spotting.

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