Monday, 28 July 2008

Paris, Friday To quote our favourite BBC commentators, “This was a massive great big win for Hélène at a critical point in the race and her career!” In order to gain this advantage, she rode over the top of the much favoured Thor Hushovd as well as Oscar Freire, both of whom lost huge chunks of time. It was a case of, “Bridge to engine room – more power – and it was just there!” she was heard to say.
Rumours abounded regarding a téte á téte she was seen having with teammate Thor following the race. It seems to have been a discussion over who would be leading the Team Crédit Agricole sprinters over the line on the Champs. No one was quite sure of the outcome as neither rider has commented. This reporter has been unable to confirm the story as Team CA management are being deliberately tight-lipped. We think that Oscar and Thor were at the finish by the scruff of their racing shorts but Hélène barely seemed to break a sweat. Only the final kilometres will tell the outcome of this Tour.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Green for Helene - What now for this star sprinter?

The story of this Green Jersey contender is almost three weeks long. It involves many highs and lows. It was tough going and at times, it was thought that this rider would not make the cut. A lack of acknowledgement of the firepower inherent in her needles meant that Helene was not necessarily the rider most consider had what it took.

What style! What finesse! She saw her opportunity and cut a swathe through the peleton. Admittedly there were moments in the Pyrenees where she looked ready to quit. The agony of the constant K2P2 over and over and over was almost more than she could take. But she's such a trooper, she got through that. Then a period of relative 'calme' as we went across country and then - les Alpes and the fall.

In an unforseen incident a clip of the front wheel and she went over the edge on the downhill. Fans held their breath (pause for effect) but she was able to hold onto her bike and rejoin the race unlike Augustyn who sadly, never regained his position.

All this has been toward today, a stage win with maximum points - a first for her team in this arena. As the reporters crowd in, the team bodyguard ensures that her team mates are able to join in her celebration. She falls to her knees as her bike is wheeled away. Sobs are heard. She has waited so long for this to happen, now, to finally have achieved her's almost too much. The papers will report her victory over Oscar and Thor and print endless versions of "that" photo - who can tell what Thor said during the conversation?

The ride to Paris now will be much of an anticlimax. There are some opportunities for her but just to hold the Green is enough today. It is debateable whether she will return to her usual domestique role for the GC rider she and her teammates hope will hold yellow next Sunday. As holder of the Green, the team should support her in keeping this. Stay tuned to tomorrow's column........

Thursday, 24 July 2008


Here I am again to show the almost there Bon Chance (aka Bellini). I have button bands and collar as well as the buttons and have started the (urghh!) sewing up process. Just what is the right way to sew up a multi-coloured cardi any way?? If you use the yarn as is the colours just don't oblige by changing as required. The only real way of doing this is with itty-bitty bits of yarn to match the worked area. How much am I bothered?? Depends where the seam is I guess. Stay tuned. I hope to be wearing this to cheer the riders during the time trial next Saturday. If I wasn't typing this and freezing in front of the computer, I'd have it finished and be watching the Tour right now. Doh!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Le Tour et Cadel

Well who would have thought - only 1 second - and injured as well! I know I'm supposed to be on Team Credit Agricole (go Thor!) but my heart remains with Cadel. I winced as the docs treated his wounds while he cycled and watched keenly as he pedaled last night (Western Australian time). Kinda glad there's a rest day today as I need a break from the excitement, Cadel needs the R&R and I need an alternative to K2P2 ribbing.
Speaking of the TdF KAL, the Bellini (aka Bon Chance) moves on apace and I have almost (well two-thirds of the way anyway) done the ribbing on both fronts as well as the back. I decided that if the riders were doing lots of climbing, I should stick with the evil stuff and get it out of the way. I can always save the button bands (groan!) and the sewing up (yuk!) for the Alpine section. Quite pleased with the way the colour is developing for the front having noted in Ravelry that one knitter bought a whole extra ball to match hers. I thought part of the fun with Noro yarn was watching to see the colours change. One front is going from purple to green and the other from purple to charcoal before going green. The sleeves are kind of staggered and the back has a charcoal band in amongst the lime green ribbing before going purple. Love it! It's going to look great with black stuff (tick!) and jeans (double tick!)
You're probably all wanting to see more pictures but you will all have to wait until next weekend and the Alps for further glimpses of Bon Chance (or keep an eye on my Ravelry project page JIC!!)
A la retour mes amis!

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Le Tour - deuxieme semaine

We join our intrepid knitter on her quest for le maillot vert as she steams ahead with the 24 centimetres de K2P2 rib - who picked this project anyway??? I hate ribbing, particularly K2P2. At the pub knit this afternoon, my fingers insisted on trying the staggered look, inserting the occasional K1P2 or even K1P1 (harder to spot the mistake on that). In spite of the ribbing, I have completed the sleeves and 23cm of the 24 required prior to changing needles and stitches. I figure that I should try to complete the back before the end of week 2 otherwise I won't have enough time to actually do the finishing. And as we know, the Tour is all about the finish! Just ask Cavendish.

Team Credit Agricole are at eleventh position (go team!) but my heart is still with Cadel. I note that Team Silence-Lotto is below TCA though.... I was trying not to look as the peleton went around that slick corner in Toulouse 'cause I could see that ending in a lot of tears. C'est la guerre! I console myself with the fact that after 24 cm of K2P2 rib, the whole back piece is only 56cm total. I'm almost halfway done with it when that's finished. Ha!
A la retour mes amis!