Stage twelve: round-up

Once again, we had a cow free stage. Well, almost. For those dedicated people who were watching online there was this:

Thanks, @Catherine_G_G for capturing this moment for us!

Our Eurosport-watching cowrespondents informed us that the spills on the descent of La Hourquette d’Ancizan were due to “cow shite” on the road. We’re not sure where cowmentator Sean got his information from – on reviewing the tape I was unable to pick up any merde apart from that in the tortured metaphors streaming out of the Ps as the peloton swept down the mountain, and I was certainly unable to pick out any cows.  It also seems unlikely that cows would jeopardise the chances of their champion, Geraint Thomas, in such a way.

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Stage eleven: round-up

Stage eleven was touted as a “last chance” for the sprinters before the climbers take the spotlight.  Hopefully it was also a last chance for the riders to get their rain jackets out, although by the end of the race the rain was so heavy that nothing short of a comfortable team bus would have offered protection from the wet.  Here at HQ Les Vaches we are also hoping that it was the last of the cow-free stages.

The coverage started promisingly.  Included in the introductory montage was a shot we hadn’t seen yesterday – the group of Blondes from Thomas’ photo running alongside the peloton.  Our lovely Le Mans correspondent, parisbug, tweeted her one of her favourite photos and, naturally, I took this as a portent, rather than just a sign.

Owly Images

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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:

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Stage nine: round-up

There was very little vache action during last night’s stage, and – sadly – the crash action dominated once more.  As the riders descended the Col du Pas de Peyrol a number of them came off their bikes.  Vinokourov ended up some distance from the road in the trees and Zabriskie and Van den Broeck were amongst the riders on the road.  All three sustained injuries that took them out of the race.

The focus should have been on the battle for the yellow jersey with Thomas Veau-ckler in a GC-changing breakaway, but when a TV car swerved into the group, taking out Flecha and sending Hoogerland flying into a barbed wire fence, it became difficult to concentrate on the competition.  Hoogerland demonstrated true grit by changing into a non-shredded pair of shorts and carrying on, taking back the polka dot jersey and being awarded “most combative” rider of the day.  I’m sure none of the riders anticipate that their daily combat might include cars and motorbikes. You can watch the presentation here (warning: it will probably make you cry).  Veau-ckler has managed to wrest the yellow from the God of Thunder, who is now in 24th place overall.  Perhaps there is some sort of quantity theory of Godness in the peloton and he had to give up some of his to Hoogerland. Luis Leon Sanchez was first across the line, and is now in second place overall.  Philippe Gilbert keeps the green jersey and Cowbell is 2′ 26″ behind the new leader and third overall.

Now to our meagre cow news.

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Stage eight: round-up

The excitement in Team Vaches was undeniable: Mike Tomalaris was prepared to make an early call – this stage would be rich in terms of cow spotting.  We were not disappointed, with a variety of cows spotted all the way along the route.

These cows have a perfect spot for Tour viewing

A group of Charolais

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Stage seven: round-up

This flat stage took us through recently harvested fields where the only animal life we spotted was a family of donkeys.  They were very sweet, but trois ânes do not equal une vache.  Fortunately a Reuters photographer became an unwitting cowrespondent for us with this pic:

This vache is more interested in the bike race than in cow spotting.

Thanks to Lesli Cohen for finding this and using the #lvdt tag!

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Stage 5: round-up

As Essjaymoo pointed out in her stage preview, last night’s stage was long and flat.  It was Brittany, though, so we expected some treacherous winds, but at times last night the cycling resembled a demolition derby.  Definitely more crash than vaches.  In fact the only cow sighting I got came at 61.3km.  The group was in the distance and could quite well have been horses given that they were the featured quadruped of the stage.

Sweet pasture, but no cows

Image: Zimbio

It fell to the SBS troll DJ to liven things up between accidents.

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Stage four: round-up

Even before the race started, we had cows!  Cowrespondent Chris, of the YarraBUG Radio team, tweeted a link to the weather cam on the Brittany coast, near Morbihan.  Essjaymoo checked it out and noticed cows.

This buoyed our hopes of a cow-friendly stage and we were not disappointed.  As early as 92.6km we were able to spot some beasts not dissimilar to the above cows. They were far too indistinct to even attempt a positive ID, so naturally I’m going to tell you that my prediction was correct and we spotted Maine-Anjou.  At 65.6km we got our first sighting of black pied cattle. Could it be a group of the rare Pie Noir?

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Stage three: round-up

The best-laid plans and all that.  For all the tips we’ve been giving you on the local breeds to watch out for, our only quality sighting during stage three was a group of what looks to be Charolais.  It was a lovely group, though, and they are our mascot breed so we can’t help but be happy about that.

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