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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Tour in 133 Characters or less - the final winners

So it comes down to this.

The top 8 are:
Winner - Stage 16 - @technowgn - Tim Kolln's the Peloton + Herbie Sykes' Maglia Rosa
2 - Stage 7 - @cycletard - Apres Velo T Shirt thanks to Apres Velo
3 - Stage 3 - @brassyn - Apres Velo T shirt thanks to Apres Velo
4 - Stage 14 - @cycletard - one year's subscription to Peloton magazine
5 - Stage 13 - @dontcallmekaty - Ultimate Cycling Boxset DVD Prize Pack - Overcoming, Hell on Wheels,
A Sunday in Hell
6 - Stage 5 - @smfifteen - choice of cap from bikesbooksbeers.ca
7 - Stage 19 - @cycleboredom - cycling recovery oils from http://www.laclinicaamano.com/
8 - Stage 10 - @sansenmag - digital subscription to Peloton

Voters winners:
1 - Deborah (entry via email) -choice of handmade cap from bikesbooksbeers.ca
2 - Edie (entry via email) - cool green, polka dot, yellow jersey themed coffee mugs from lookmumnohands.
3 - @RachelleRae - copy of Ned Boutling's How I won the Yellow Jumper

I will be in touch with you all in the next day to arrange postage etc of your prizes.

Congratulations everyone and thanks for all your entries and keeping us all entertained. Thanks also goes to the generous folks at Apres Velo (www.apresvelo.com) , Cycling Art (bikesbooksbeers.ca) and La Clinica Mano (http://www.laclinicaamano.com/)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The TDF in 133 characters or less - the finalists

So the 18 finalists are now, well, final. It's time to unfortunately whittle them down to the top 8 and receive the prize matching their GC rank.  


And that's the voters job. So how will voting work in the absence of a whiz bang voting form? Vote for your 8 favourites by ranking them (simply stage each Stage number) from 1-8 (1 = your most favourite etc) in the comments below using your twitter url or email me your top 8 at tourdecouch@gmail.com . So if you have mates who aren't on twitter but you know they'd love to enter this comp, tell them to get voting. 


If you can't remember how the stages played out, go to this cyclingnews site for the stage reports. 


UPDATED - Voters will be placed in a list and picked at random on Tuesday night (my time) - I will notify by email and/or twitter. 


The final 8 winners will also be announced at this time and informed via twitter. 


Here's the voting prizes again (scroll to the bottom for voters prizes)  if you need reminding. 


The 18 finalists:  


Stage 19  
That boy raced the cleft off his chin today. Amazing.   @cycleboredom


Stage 18 
Leopards leaping! Bert borked. Samu sadfaced. Cadel calculated. Rolland robotic. Voeckler valiant.  @brassyn


Stage 17
Tour de Carpark 2011.....where am I? @sister_ratched


Stage 16 
The breakaway was stacked, Contador attacked, Andy cracked, and Basso lacked. Thor won,there was no sun, Cuddles gained on everyone @techknowgn


Stage 15 
Voeckler flares the patron's wand as riders cross Carmague. A break with FDJ again is caught. Cav wins the sprint; Farrar cries argh   @butterflywriter 


Stage 14 
A bootylicious Vanendert to Plateau de Beille and the Tour history books: "I don't think you're ready for this Jelle"  @cycletard


Stage 13
Vultures visit; Kloedi goes Boom; Rainbows resplendent after Thor thunders and storms the mountain; Roy's raw ride wrings our hearts   @dontcallmekaty


Stage 12
AC got dropped like a rock; wasnt much of a shock, one schleck looked back, the other attacked and Voeklers the fellow in yellow @techknowgn


Stage 11
Air raid sirens in Gaillac signal Manxman Mark to launch missile causing Greipel to grapple at line as Gilbert loses grip on green. @cycletard


Stage 10

Manx missile launch failure caused German gorilla to escape from zoo peloton @sansenmag


Stage 9
Was neutralised - no winner


Stage 8
TJ takes the high road in vain and a vintage Vino runs dry. Gilbert auditions late for leading man but Rui is this movie's star. @smfifteen 


Stage 7
Sky falls, hearts break. Heads bump and swell, so too anger and bile. Press on thru pain. Abandon seems to be the hardest word. @cycletard


Stage 6
'Sky opens up, rains bring Viking reign on the slick streets of Lisieux' @cycletard


Stage 5
Cyclists kiss the tarmac by the coast, some surrendering skin before Cavendish leaves his critics high and dry. @smfifteen


Stage 4
Hell yes, GC boys come out to play early. Cadel overcomes Bert's premature celebration. @brassyn


Stage 3
Tyler reigns supreme on Independence Day, organisers celebrate by giving Cav an earlier kick in the teeth than usual. @brassyn



Stage 2
BMC's Pilot Fish can't catch Cuddles' yellow as Fabs fires on 4 cylinders in search of Andy's pony. Thor SMASHes polka dots for win!  @cycletard



Stage 1
"PhilGil. Again. Steve Bartman's French cousin sabotages Contador. @CycleHermit

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Tour in 133 Characters or less - Stages 14-15 - updates

First, check out the range of awesome products at #tdf133 sponsors sites: 
                 




Stage 14 
 
Winner: @cycletard
:

A bootylicious Vanendert to Plateau de Beille and the Tour history books: "I don't think you're ready for this Jelle" 

Honourable mentions:
@dontcallmekaty 
Panache Plateau GC = Game of Chess? Fireworks fizzle but Jens! adds snap crackle & pop; TV & team triumph; Jelle doesn't wobble


UCI under fire! Riders insist Voigt's heart and spirit give him unfair advantage. Calls for Yellow Jersey to be classified a PED

@Bikezilla1   
Good day for Jens: picnicked w/spectators, impersonated Spanish riders, ate photog heart, drove the group &; ended w/a smile

@techknowgn
Jens crashed not once, but twice;while the GCers, they mostly played nice. kinda strange seeing so little change in a mountain range


@butterflywriter
Hommage to Casartelli,then big break broke as the Beille beckoned. Andy's attack shook but only sweat, Contador sought shelter


Stage 15 


Winner   @butterflywriter 


Voeckler flares the patron's wand as riders cross Carmague. A break with FDJ again is caught. Cav wins the sprint; Farrar cries argh 


Honourable mentions:
@smfifteen
They carve open crosswinds, peloton-pulling, annul attacks & launch that winning kick - Cav's keen team advance the green dream.


@brassyn 
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......Cav 


@cycletard
The long and winding road dragged on til the HTC express roared into the station @ Montpellier delivering the Green engine that could


@techknowgn
racing like greyhounds, barking like them too; Tyler tries but Cav flies & HTC train kept its schedule with just 1 stop

The Tour in 133 Characters or less - Stages 9-13 - updates

Firstly, thanks to #tdf133 sponsors - Apres Velo, Bikes Books and Beers, and La Clinica A Mano


Stage 9 - I neutralised the comp due to the crazy crashes. Judging the "best" summary of crashes didn't sit right with me. Sorry folks

Stage 10 -
Winner: @sansenmag:

Manx missile launch failure caused German gorilla to escape from zoo peloton

Honourable mentions:
@techknowgn 

Mostly rubber side down they rode; Cavendish missed his train & couldn't grappel Greipel. The tour wears its training bra 1 more day

@smfifteen 

PG derails the HTC train, solos in vain. No-kick Cav kicks himself as Gorilla nicks victory. TDF confirmed as “shit small race

Stage 11 
Winner  - @cycletard

Air raid sirens in Gaillac signal Manxman Mark to launch missile causing Greipel to grapple at line as Gilbert loses grip on green.

Honourable mentions:

@wilko602 
One of @MarkCavendish best wins last night. HTC did all the chasing all the hard work and totally outclassed the others

@smfifteen
Six slick escapees strive to make sprinters go Boom but Renshaw’s return sees HTC’s green-eyed monster secure the jersey he covets

Stage 12 

Winner - @techknowgn

AC got dropped like a rock; wasnt much of a shock, one schleck looked back, the other attacked and Voeklers the fellow in yellow

Closely following:
@butterflywriter

The Beijing king triumphant reigns the polka dots too he takes, while the lion roars in tri-couleur and the Welsh enjoy their cakes

@cycletard 

Slipped betwixt two slips of Schleck, a Spaniard struggles as a Basque battler brings Bastille Day glory to the clan of the carrots

@



Stage 13 -

Winner 

@dontcallmekaty 

Vultures visit; Kloedi goes Boom; Rainbows resplendent after Thor thunders and storms the mountain; Roy's raw ride wrings our hearts  

But there were a lot of good ones:
@butterflywriter
Jeremy Roy the King of Hearts and Thor Hushovd the Ace of Clubs bet the house with two French Kings and Belgian Spade

@cycletard
No miracle at Lourdes; vultures spell doom for Klöden; Boom as a Norse god wages war on a newly-crowned king and hero of the mist.

@sansenmag
On breakaway day/Roy soars into polka dots/Moncoutié does not/Thor roars to stage victory/Mountain goats play possum in Pyrenees

@wilko602
Good to see Thor continue Cadel's legacy in the rainbow jersey and stick that jinx where it belongs.

@brassyn
Big boys hold station as Thor hammers J-Roy's heart. Next target: his Garmin contract. PhilGil ignores the memo.

@sitdowninfront
Roy showed heart as Thor took the Mountain by both hands & ROARED. The Peloton nodded quietly in approval for the Rainbow Stripes

@techknowgn
Klodis back leaves Levi alone; Lars cracks with a Boom and Thor brings the Thunder on Aubisque

That's so TDF - rest, recuperation and raids

A day or so before the rest day last week, Matty Keenan on commentary duty asked about Alberto Contador “How does he sleep at night?” One of Contador's fears is the appearance of not Didi in the mountains but the Man in the Carpaccio Mankini “He haunts my dreams…a beefy borat bikini is not something any man should see…I’ve not seen him yet, but you wait for the Alps. You think a costume like that is not possible?"

Contador also revealed that he fears the Schlecks. Why? Because “there are two of them.”  But can't Contador remember the 1-2 egg and spoon race Andy and Frank had going on at the Plateau de Beille? He does know they're not twins right and therefore the evil multiple birth (er, hang on) thing doesn't apply? 

No that's not it, he's afraid of what Phil Ligget revealed - afraid of again being the meat in the Schleck Sandwich.  He remembers last time It was not a pleasant experience. 

Ok – it was a little while ago now in the life of the tour, but it did catch my eye.  Again, hardened atheists – this time some atheist journos – were turned once again into believers because of Contador. This time, they accepted without question Riis’(who is a god) explanation of the Karpets incident. Remember the opening press conference with Saxobank, remember everything before that point? They wouldn’t believe a word Riis said. This time though they believed Contador’s saddle got caught up in Karpets' handlebars. They believe anything that makes Contador look shit, right?

With the second day soon approaching, I thought it fitting to discuss what happened last rest day so we know what to expect this time around:: 

Diary of a French media dilemma, written by a generic French media representative – 

“rest day lull – expect boring press conferences, what can Berty, Andy and Cuddles and their DS’s say they haven’t already said.  “My sore knee is waiting for..the Pyrenees, if not then, the Alps,”  “Molly wouldn’t carry the Schlecks to Paris either, even if they were fatigued and she was a Saint Bernard with a Swiss Flag on her torso”   or “our parents said we could get a pony if we cross the line together in Paris…and when that happens we’ll salute like this    (tip my hat to cyclismas cartoon there for the mum and dad thing).  We can’t even cover Jensie’s foray into Twitter – our government forbids favouring any sort of product – we wouldn’t defy a law like that we’re too ethical….
(the L’equipe yellow phone rings) “hello random French journo…French lab here. Yes, the urine has not yet even settled, but I think I’ve got your first positive.” 
Me: “How about the B sample, have you told the appropriate people, does the rider or the team yet know?”  
“merde, non. You  know my first call is always to you guys, you or ARD.” 
Jackpot….a rest day to boot. Somebody got Overlord’s memo.”
So what was the reaction from the team “we have decided to take Alexandr Kolobnev out of the tour.”  

But what about his B Sample? “I mean…Kolobnev has decided to retire from the race…” 

Considering all this, Tourdecouch turns now to a song dedication for Kolobnev.  Probably was going through Millar’s mind too once upon a time. 






We’ve seen already how the Leopard-Trekkies have a Vanity Van of Food Consumption. Stuart O’Grady then revealed their other marginal gain gainer. O’grady’s Auto Bus of Booze

“How does this save you time Stuey” 

“Well, we have everything here, it’s decked out like a bar but it has bunk beds for all of us and all our suave LT kit… It saves us time because we don’t have to roll back to our hotel, we can just wake up, get into our kit and voila, we’re ready for the next stage.”

“But what about curfew, remember what happened with Riis last year?”

“What you talking about, Andersen stays here with us and whips us all up recovery bloody marys and panache cakes (*copyright Cycleboredom).  

And what is it with the word panache? Since it was covered early this year by excellent blogger Cycling Tips, it’s caused hysteria among the twitterarti.  

“Omg, I need panache…quick quick quick…I haven’t had any since…Gilbert’s last win. I’d never heard it before this, I used to just say, great racing, or some other such apt description…but quick I need some panache I need some……” said unidentified MAMIL/MAFIL. 

Voeckler has panache as does Roy, Hushovd, Hoogerland, anyone else who attacks whether it works or not. Cavendish wins alot with flair, but he doesn't have panache, apparently. And according to some on twitter, not only does Cadel have no panache, he doesn’t have any honour.

I mean, what’s honourable about coming second in 07 virtually with no teammates to Discovery, or honourable about coming second in 08 against CSC/Saxo /Riis et al? I mean…what was I thinking. And let's not forget these people are comparing modern GC'ers to one day/week races. These same people are after a clean-er peloton, but again have been drinking the panache koolaid which makes them forget that nearly everyone was on something once and they've been taking and re-inserting their own blood since the early 80s. And even if they weren’t, they’re on something now which makes them forget that while it’s fun to remember halcyon days and compare generation to generation…it’s probably inaccurate. 

More expected rest day interview type questions and answers:
“So Riis, what do you think about the Schleck 1-2 the other day?” a not Kimmage/Bonnie/Lionel journo asks

(Riis, holding back the laughs) “It’s a lot like the film Waterboy. Remember how the coach stole Henry Winkler’s play book? Looks like Anderson/Nygaard stole mine.” 

“Yes,but in that movie, Henry is a loser. Why are you so relaxed and laughing then?”

“Firstly, I think I stuck a few of the pages together, so that’s why they attack in odd places. He used it in Flanders and Paris Roubaix and for the Schlecks in LBL. And also because, remember, Henry Winkler imagines cute animals when he fears people…I look at Nygaard and I see someone like me, a cute bald bear…Fabian, I see as Kimba the white lion and Schlecks I see as unicorns…and Kimmage a fluffy cute bunny.”

“What about Jens, he’s a hard man”

“I just imagine I’m listening to him talking instead…he always makes me go, awww, how cute. Makes me forget that the road bends to his will.”

Finally, the Vomatron award – I think we have a winner and it looks like no one is likely to take the award away: last week, Simon Gerrans revealed that a photojournalist on the back of a moto was suffering motion sickness and showered them with that morning’s brioche. To this person, hope you’re ok. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Tour in 133 characters or less - stages 5-8 update

Stage 5 - Winner:
'Cyclists kiss the tarmac by the coast, some surrendering skin before Cavendish leaves his critics high and dry.' @smfifteen


Honourable mentions: 
@sansenmag Crashtastic course; Frenchtastic breakaway; Berto biketoss; Nicki S in moto mess; Cav outsprints PhilGil on hill; Tommeke woebegone


@velocentric crash after crash, lots of (road) rash and Cav wins the dash. 








Stage 6 - Winner:
'Sky opens up, rains bring Viking reign on the slick streets of Lisieux' @cycletard


Honourable mentions: 
@sister_ratched 'Andouiletes! Tripe sausage todger action...Radioshack desperately seek attention, in Lance's absence? 


@sansenmag 'Rain comes and goes away as Norwegians own the day: Eddy loses stage virginity as Thor keeps jaune jersey; alas, Levi rues gravity.' 


@kernelofwisdom ' Levi's genes are stone washed today' 


@sitdowninfront This announcement was brought to you today by the letter T Test-Toss-terone for the man with a good bike throw.


Stage 7 - Winner:


@cycletard 'Sky falls, hearts break. Heads bump and swell, so too anger and bile. Press on thru pain. Abandon seems to be the hardest word.' 


Honourable mentions:
wilko602 'a colonoscopy would be more enjoyable than watching this stage.' 


smfifteen 'Brad collared by fate, Britain loses Hope. Too quick to judge! Cav outpaces Greipel. Happiness replaces grief.'


Stage 8 - Winner


smfifteen 'TJ takes the high road in vain and a vintage Vino runs dry. Gilbert auditions late for leading man but Rui is this movie's star.'


Honourable mentions:
technowgn ' TJ climbed the mountains high, Costa would vino deny, Hushovd gave a glorious try, tomorrow heads up to the sky.'


brassyn: Costa victorious as leopards watch and wait. Cadel ever more ominous. Thor smashes himself to keep yellow.


Again, more comp details here and here

Saturday, July 9, 2011

That's so TDF - The Muppet Show

ibikelondon.blogspot.com

Kermit: It's the Muppet Show! (cue theme) - with special guests Bruyneel and Peeters.

(Statler and Waldorf sing their bit as usual)

Why do we always come here
I guess we'll never know
It's like a kind of torture
To have to watch the show 


Kermit: Hi-ho Kermit the frog here.  But first up this evening - Animal Boonen. (Animal is rubbing his head gingerly) Oh Animal. You look a bit...sick, do you think you can perform tonight
Animal Boonen: Ride Bike...Ride Bike.
Kermit: hmmm ok. Maybe he's not ready to perform tonight. OK, then how about you Beaker Horner?
Beaker Horner: Meep meep
Kermit: hmmm.....Oh, well, sounds like they cant go on. Peeters and Bruyneel, what do you think?
Peeters: Bugger the doctors, I let the riders make up their own mind. They're the ones who know their bodies the best. Leaving the tour is something a doctor can't decide, it is after all the tour, which I reminded Boonen three times when he came back to the car today.
Kermit: OK - and Johan?
Johan: Ditto Kerms. Pretty fortunate for me they choose to go on when they can, what with all the shit I'm in.
Statler: Ha.
Waldorf: What's so funny?
Statler: How could riders decide for themselves if they could ride on or not? Cyclists aren't the sharpest tool in the Lezyne box.
Waldorf: What do you mean?
Statler: Well, many of them take cancer drugs but they don't have cancer, they cite footprints on the moon quote, but don't believe the moon landing happened, and they see obstetricians but they don't have vaginas or a uterus. Bah hah...although, some of them are right c...
Animal vomits.
Sam the Eagle - This is not wholesome. This is not cultural.


Looks like German broadcasters ARD and ZDF are getting some abuse in regards to their quest for  wholesome entertainment. After pulling TDF coverage in 2007 after another scandal, they scaled back to just a daily wrap up show. Next year they won't even show that..ever again. They cited insignificant viewer interest but with their alleged emphasis on doping, it's not hard to see the reason is doping. It's also not hard to see why there was little viewer interest if their emphasis was on doping. 'Yeah, we want scrutiny, but show us some fricking bike racing.' Kloden has a point about how it seems only cycling's navel is gazed at by insiders and outsiders. But then so did the guy he @replied the f word to. What was it he said again? Something about the Freiburg report? Here's also an analysis of this issue in Fabianese about the Womens' World Cup dope bust.


But the muppets forget one thing. If the media had to cover these positive tests at the Women's soccer world cup, it would also mean they'd have to cover....women's sport.

Speaking of not wholesome and Radioshack, in Stage 6 we were treated to what @sister_ratched described as 'Andouilettes! Tripe sausage todger action...' Yes it was Radioshack nature break. Apparently, lots of riders were fined that day for the very same thing, but Radioshack somehow escaped. It was probably because like me, the Commissaire who had to watch that footage to make a decision ran screaming from the TV. I too did not want to take in what over 20 years of 'preparing' (copyright, the Flammecast) for races had done to those codger's todgers. All I can say is I'm not sure I could look at Cassoulet in the same way again. 


And finally- today's That's so TDF was brought to by the letter G. (sorry about the Jim Henson crossover)


Was he talking about the Vanity Van of Food Consumption (copyright Brassyn) - also known as the Magic Disco Biscuit Truck - or the guys from Hide the Toblerone. 





Thank you and goodnight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

That's so TDF - I saw your crash,I'm a karma believer

Lots of strong reactions from riders yesterday about the parcours so far.  Sprinters want GC'ers to bugger off and form their own Tour de France, race radio proponents (except Vaughters who is still screaming beside the bus about the TTT win) think the course is way too dangerous,and others aren't saying anything at all because they're still picking Bretagne bitumen from their wounds. But after reading and hearing a lot of the reactions it's all starting to sound like, well I don't know what it sounds like because it's only a sound dogs can hear.

It could be said all of them (including the ASO) are right, and all of them (including the ASO) are wrong. But when it comes to remembering the annals of this tour, will we remember Contador and Braijkovic crashing, what Renshaw, Cav, Horner and Bruyneel said after the race, or will we remember Cadel edging out Alberto Contador, Cav sprinting up a lump (much to Feillu's chagrin) without his traditional lead out man, and Boonen (ride of Stage 5 just before Cav) battling home to make the time cut.

I saw Contador's crash, I'm a karma believer 
With boos from the outset - not in the ampitheatre, the opinion poll leading into the tour - it was quite clear the French wanted their pound of flesh from Contador. It is now available for them to buy from the official ASO merchandise shop online. It was also quite clear on Twitter there was worldwide jubilation after Contador's crash. It's amazing how a skinny kid who just wants to ride his bike - and is officially sanctioned to do so - can enrage and unite so many people and also do the impossible - turn atheists into karma believers.

Other observations - I bet Greipel feels just like Cadel did all those years at Omega Pharma Lotto. It was quite clear that the only thing stopping him on Stage 5 was Philip Gilbert, who it was at least publicly revealed anyway, was only targeting stages 1 and 4. That makes him a sad..Gorilla.

#firstwordproblems - expensive bike not doing what Wiggins and Contador want it to. #thirdworldproblems - Beijing Bicycle.

The Global Doping Police
Speaking of Garmin - were we really, does it matter? - they won the TTT only a few days ago and Hollywood's already made a film about it.


The Vanity Van of Food Consumption (Trademark - @brassyn- yes nyvelocity,trademarked  )
The coiner of this phrase, Brassyn, said 'say what you will (quite validly) about Sky last year, but at least they didn't have the Vanity Van of Food Consumption (copyright).' What are you talking about you ask? This. I can just see tomorrow morning before the stage start, Voigt and Stuey trying to get Andy away from the mirror. "C'mon Andy – we have to get to the start.' 'Hold on I want to look at this picture for a bit longer, I’m transfixed….it’s beautiful…I’ve never seen such beauty before.' Was Andy never to be seen since?

Almost the Vomatron award - Was Team Sky's video about rainforests.  But the way Gerraint Thomas says 'Green is the new black' is too cute for me to throw up me carrots.

Phil and Paul clanger - Sherwen after Contador's thumbs up to the TV after his crash. Thumbs up sign 'to the spectators...obviously the Spanish spectators..... to let them know I'm ok.'

SBS clanger - (via @cycleadagio) - this ad played during last night's (and others probably) coverage from the cycling network.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Stage 4 - The Tour in 133 characters or less #tdf133

Quite a few entries today.  But after much deliberation, the winner is: 

@brassyn again with: 
"Hell yes, GC boys come out to play early. Cadel overcomes Bert's premature celebration.'
Again @Wilko602 just misses out today with:
"Wouldn't mind knowing what Alberto Contador is using for his teeth whitening...Dulux, British Paints.'

Cycletard just misses out on second and rounds out the podium with: 
Cuddles beats Contador by a scant six inches. Remember, it's not what's in your meat that matters, but how you use it....'
Honourable mentions:
@butterflywriter Yes, if there had been another K, AC may have outlasted Cadel. Grimaces could be because he was not liking wet shorts.

@sprintingforsigns in a bid to make the first week exciting again, the organisers take a note out of the Classics to add some spice to the race.

@Cyclehermit Burghardt & Big George schlepp Cadel up Mur for win, Contador grits his teeth to find Giro form, Thor honors Yellow in fine fashion.

Unofficial honourable mention:
Not a pro this time, but a tweet I somehow came across from a guy who didn't know about the comp but now he does
@richtwits expecting a population spike in 9 months, everyone is rooting for @CadelOfficial. Jolly good show chap.

Please keep tweeting, Brassyn's won two in a row now, catch her napping in a crosswind.



Again, more details here and here

That's so TDF - Cuddles

So let’s recap. The major favourite loses time on the first day, the TTT was darn tooting exciting right til the last team rolled through (will OPL come last? I thought biting my nails), Farrar finally wins a stage with Thor yellow jersey leading him out, then two GC contenders go for it on Stage 4.  

Chapeau Christian Prudhomme, chapeau. Yes, chapeau Cycling Weekly from us francophiles– we’re here, our “bidons” are full of Belgian beer, get used to it.

Well, of course, he didn’t plan that spectator crash which saw Contador at a handicap from day 1, but no prologue, the TTT, and the non cobbled classics like action has been spectacular. 

Your heart would not be beating if you talked about stage 4 and didn’t talk about the salute. Cadel’s almost saying “Contador, you’re in enough trouble mate, this is NOT going to go down well with the crowds, especially those who know “that’s so not PRO” to do when it’s that close.”  

Maybe deep down Contador knew too - it wasn't the lame-o pistol. Bar the thumbs up thing now and then, Cuddles doesn’t really have a signature victory salute. Andy has one - the Tiesto hands in the air disco dancing victory salute that’s as uncoordinated as his time trialling. So what should Cadel do – what about something alluding to his nickname. Hugging himself as he crosses the line? No? But I can imagine it “Oooh…here comes Cuddles, Schleckette – NOW you know who I am?  I know who you are -  you haven’t won the tour yet either. You need CAS to win a tour..”  That’d be some trash talk.    

The award for Thor Thorness goes to - Thor.  5th.  Nothing else to say. 

Speaking of Thor, Garmin have revealed to Esquire what Thor eats – and surprisingly no it’s NOT gravel. 

Leopard Trek asked Linus how his day was.Without a shred of fan girl there’s only one word that comes to mind when you see Linus. Beautiful.  How does he keep his hair like that? The answer. Zabriskie, take note.

Sprinter bitch slaps

After probably almost causing a crash yesterday and Cav saying so, Feillu called Cav arrogant. He says Cav while having a brilliant burst of speed, a lot of power and a great aerodynamic position, is only the strongest sprinter because of his team. Feillu prefers Hushovd or Pettachi as he feels similar to them, especially Thor “because of our favoured route profiles..and then in term of discretion.”  Can anyone tell me how discrete was Feillu's team car moto pacing him back to the peloton after the bike change at about 10kms to go?  He even motioned for them to go faster, faster. Thor and Cav meanwhile will forever remain DQ’d from the St 3 intermediate sprint.  Anyway, Cav has other worries. :(    

Phil and Paul “colourful” clangers - last night – Phil: Anthony Charteau has had a “retarded” season…. 

Sites to check out: Veeral Patel's blog should be on your daily list anyway, but just in case it's not, here's his post and photos from today's stage. And Pez has quite an enjoyable read about Brittany at TDF time.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Stage 3 - The Tour in 133 Characters or less #tdf133

Just a really quick post today as having a manic day.

Congrats @brassyn - you took the podium step today with:

"Tyler reigns supreme on Independence Day, organisers celebrate by giving Cav an earlier kick in the teeth than usual."
Like Romain Feillu, @Wilko602 just misses out today with:

Great stage of the Tour down Under last night. Stunning view of a dirty Yarra from atop the Westgate Bridge was a highlight. #tdf133
 Robbie Mcewen wins the unofficial comp with:

Congrats to Tyler and his teammates. Cool, calm, collected, confident, disciplined, organised. That's what it takes.
Others who didn't win were still awesome. Keep tweeting all.

Again, more details here and here

That's so TDF - Fabianese as a Second Language

At one point during last night's stage on the couch, I looked away to read a few things for what I thought was just a moment. I awoke to my find my face stuck to my iphone.  Oh dear, what did I miss?

"Why is my stepdaughter leading the peloton in France (which looks a lot like Lake Burley Griffin right now) and how did the UCI approve her sweet mongoose bmx?" I asked sleepily. The screensaver was on and it was scrolling through my husband's photos on the media centre. This - and the tractor bikes - was as exciting as last night's stage got - until about the last 10kms.   

Bernie Eisel must be suffering still from the TTT crash because he peeled off surprisingly early. The initial look Tony Martin gave him, I thought he was going to get all policeman  on his arse.  HTC went way too early for some reason which left enough space for Garmin's train not to look ridiculous like it has in other years - although that was also largely down to Thor.  Tyler gets maximum points for making me teary - for the W of course but also post interview when he started to tear up speaking about Thor leading him out. He said (paraphrase) "How often do you have Thor Hushovd, World Champion and the yellow jersey leading you out." Woah. That's really nice. 

But that - not Tyler thanking him, but Thor leading anyone out - actually rankles some people - like it did me the whole classics season when they left Thor in the cage. Thor in yellow makes up for it, but it did get a little under my skin when commentary/post stage analysis last night said it was like Lance's domestique Victor Hugo Pena who was in yellow in 2003, who then worked for Lance. Thor,domestique?  

It looks like yellow jersey love has seen Thor bury the hammer with Cav. After the ridiculous ruling about their minor headbutting Thor offered this gesture:

In other UCI anally retentive news, they sent out a new video about how TTT and road bikes must be set up. Here it is  Let's hope the UCI doesn't take over the Naked Bike Ride like it wants to with skateboarding.

The "You say Leo-pard, I say tom-ate-o file." Forgive me if I'm wrong, but telling a journo or a commentator how they should pronounce a team name when that name is English, unlike say Euskatel or Liquigas, is surely asking for trouble i.e. how many would adhere to the rules? But it appears many don't say "lep-ard" anymore even if the way they say it isn't as per the Leopard Trek press release  i.e. "lay-o-pard". 

It seems many respect it like it's culturally significant and sensitive without the team really explaining why layopard. However, Paul and Phil tried to explain this cultural significance last night. Where does lee-o-pard come from, Paul asked rhetorically as he was about to tell us. Apparently the rich guys who own Leopard-Trek, were sitting down over a couple of cups of Kopi Luwak and were thinking of a name. They named it Leopard after the Leopard tank first introduced in 1965 in Germany.

So they want to be seen as this strong mighty clunky military machine rather than the sleek animal? Perhaps it was meant to avoid comparisons to the animal such as "Can Kim Anderson really change his spots?"

Or maybe it's because they just want to blow shit up*.Surely that explains the name, but the pronunciation - lay-o-pard?  Well it does actually - at least the way Phil and Paul say it.  Listen here . If it's after the tank it looks like it should be pronounced lee-o-pard. But how does that explain lay-oh-pard?  It's not a mystery I'm going to spend any more time trying to solve anyway.

FSL - Fabianese as a second language - Or the Leopard pronunciation could simply just be a version of Fabianese. Fabianese is officially now a language - Spartacus says so:

The Fabianese English was first spoken and created by Fabian Cancellara, but which @sitdowninfront first gave a name to.  Look at pretty much any one of Fabian's tweets and you'll see an example of it. 

The Times - three days in and  I don't know how many more sleepless nights to go, seems the talk on twitter about Contador just won't go away. They're still talking about the Saxo pre event press conference.'Look what he said to Kimmage purple monkey dishwasher.'. Kimmage is the anti-Lance of the anti-doping obsessed. I do admire him and his balls especially when he asked questions while most swooning journos were, well swooning. However, Contador did need to be asked the question and probably a few more - or at least his people should have been expecting it and been better prepared. His answers didn't satisfy many, and it probably didn't Kimmage.

I'm not meaning to sound offensive or mocking here, but how much questioning does Kimmage do of himself regarding the kingdom he is a part of working for the Sunday Times particularly after the latest allegations of Murdoch's News of the World hacking missing girl Milly Dowler's phone. Of course it's a separate paper etc etc, and Kimmage has to earn a living. But at the end of the day, his articles help bring in revenue for Murdoch who at the very least can't get HIS house in order in regards to this hacking issue. The media stable Paul Kimmage is a part of also allowed him that access last year with Team Sky - were there heaps of hard questions asked when he was there? Again, I don't mean anything and OF COURSE doping also needs scrutiny, but it's good to have perspective sometimes. 

Favourite pics of today 

My fave pics of today are this  - Tyler, and this - Cadel, in polka dots, wearing a cycling cap, reading L'equipe.
   
Again, check out Veera Patel's photos from today and here's Kristof Ramon's from the TTT yesterday.


*(UPDATED - this link doesn't appear to be playing on mobile devices)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Giro Donne - Stage 3 - 'Roller Coaster'

More winngingest this year (?) than Gilbert - Marianne Vos is back in pink. A hard stage by the looks of it and totally suited to her. I'm not trying to give an account of every stage here, just trying to put into the one place where you can go for as much coverage on the race as you can rather than try and find it all yourself if you don't have the time to go looking.

Here's quite a big chunk of the stage on this vid via _Pigeons_ who summed it up in one tweet 'Seriously, st 3 #GiroDonne had everything - course profile like teeth of a comb, scenery, great racing, and Marina Romoli'

Podium cafe's account here where a lot of riders' tweets etc have also been collected.

Garmin has a summary and photos of st 1-3 here.

CJ Farquharson's photos here at womenscycling.net - they're the same ones as Rachel Neylan's link to the Giro Donne website, but why not increase traffic for these guys.  There's also a great report on their site too.  Here's my fave photo - Marina Romoli (former Pasta Zara presenting the Maglia Rosa, who's been in a wheelchair since being hit seriously by a car last year, followed by this one of Shara Gillow in the Maglia Rosa in a break, and this of Vos winning.

Shara Gillow lies fourth, with her Bizkaia Durango teammate Ruth Corset in 12th.

Stage 2 - The Tour in 133 Characters or less #tdf133

 A real photo finish! Even harder to pick a winner today.

Congrats - Cycletard had the slightest fraction of a tyre in front:
 BMC's Pilot Fish can't catch Cuddles' yellow as Fabs fires on 4 cylinders in search of Andy's pony. Thor SMASHes polka dots for win!
Very closely followed by @Wilko602 with:
Woke up with a sore back...probably to do with my TTT position on the couch.
And  @brassyn:
Astana disco-shimmers, Carrot trundles, Bernie sadfaces, Fabian tows, Phil banana's, Cadel fights & Garmin conquers.
Honourable mention:
Cycle Hermit Stage 2: Thor trades chicken pox for jaundice. @Vaughters crotchshot on podium.

Unknowing pro cyclist unofficial winners:
Greg Henderson “oooohhhhhh. out of the jersey by one measly little second. that would rip your nighty”

Keep tweeting everyone for your chance to win some cool prizes.  Stage 3 - flat with potential for cross winds - what can happen??


Don't forget details of the comp and the prizes are here and here.

That's so TDF - Team Time Trials and Tribulations

TTT time! Who could forget the last one in 2009?  Agritubel’s disco helmets and whole teams falling in ditches. One of the teams was Skil-Shimano and poor Koen de Kort still painfully remembers.

While there were no disco helmets, there were big green golf balls and disco outfits.  And while whole teams didn't fall into a ditch, Saxobank rode the whole stage looking for one to hide in. Not because of more time lost but because of the boos Contador, WADA, Riis,sponsors, RFEC, the Spanish Government, Spanish cattle farmers, cows, UCI, CAS and the media all helped to produce and made them suffer.

Meanwhile the Schlecks, who are just as bad at time trials as Saxo's Noval and Hernandez, managed to gain time on Contador, carried by Spartacus, Linus and Fuglsang. And this is how Andy looked immediately after the stage.

Let's hope he was later able to take part in Leopard Trek dinner debates such as 'did the moon landing happen'. It seems Frank is a non believer because in reply to Christian VDV,who said something like of course the landing happened, it was the USA – even more American exceptionalism than you can point a Team Time Trial helmet at – Frank said this. Perhaps Cav and his WAG might lift up the brows - and the eyes - of discussions. Funnily enough though, look at the quote on Frank's Twitter profile. 

While whole teams didn't crash, poor Bernie Eisel did on the first corner. But he made the time cut despite wounds so he gets the Jens Jens-ness award for today.  

Now on to the TTT presentation.  We all remember the Badger's formidable reaction skills and strength at keeping people off the stage who distract from riders glory. If you don't, here's a reminder. So how the hell did he let this happen then? Yep, that's the Vomatron award for today.

On a lighter note, here's some fan pics and photos from non GW like photographers.Well worth a look.
Fan, Mark Pinsent  and photographers Veeral Patel and G Cameron at Pez Cycling. Check out Cameron's pic of the UCI magically changing/adhering to rules. 
 



Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another Australian puts on the Maglia Rosa

Here's  Australian Shara Gillow in the Maglia Rosa, which she earnt after riding most of the stage as part of a 14 rider breakaway which was whittled away to just three including Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss), and Sharon Laws (Garmin-Cervelo), Shara attacked in the last 300m.

Womenscycling has the best report and photos from the stage, and Team Jayco AIS has quotes from the new Maglia Rosa wearer. Can't yet find any highlights or other photos.

Go Shara!! Australian cycling is alive and well.

Boozey Le Tour - Part 1-Kalimotxo



Over the next three weeks, I endeavour to drink the alcoholic beverages TDF teams' countries are known for....Thank goodness there's a few from the same country, or I'd need a new liver.

Tonight - I travel to Spain, specifically the Basque region.  Kalimotxo

Why the Basque region and not say start off with France? I can't think of a better way to honour a team with the potential to have the most influence on the peloton in the first week, crash wise, Euskatel Euskidi and especially at a time when they are probably their most nervous, just before the Team Time Trial.

Recently in the office, 20 something Ron said to colleague 21 year old Jack (not their real names) "tried your red wine and coke at my party the other night. Loved it." I'd never heard of it, however it made sense to me just like sangria. Another colleague Sue (also not her real name) was mortified. "You can't do that to red wine!!" Jack who knows his wine says "Well you obviously don't use a good quality wine. I used to drink this all the time in Spain, it's just like Sangria only with Coke."  Sue said "I spent a lot of time in Spain, I had lots of sangria but I never came across that," perhaps thinking this was something a 21 year old stumbled upon one night half conscious with nothing in the house but boxed wine and coke. "Well, did you go to the Basque region." "No" "That's where I drank it."

Since then I've wanted to try it. Here's more info from wikipedia and below a recipe I got from here.

Verdict - tastes a lot like Sangria.

Recipe:

Ingredients
ice
red wine (it can be any kind, but I like to use a Spanish red, like Rioja)
coca-cola
lemon wedge, optional for garnish
Directions
  1. Place the ice in wine glass or goblet. Fill with red wine until about 2/3* full. Top with coke. If using, squeeze lemon and drop in. Stir with a straw, bar spoon, or finger. Enjoy!
Makes 1 drink.
*The proportions are totally up to you. If the drink tastes better with equal parts red wine and coke or 3/4 wine and 1/4 coke, make it that way.
Topa!! Bring on the TTT. 

The Tour in 133 characters or less - Stage 1 #133 - Winner

This tweet should've been a shoe in for #tdf133 -
"started the stage across a road laid down by Moses, thru a swarm o bugs, got mooned by Borat and half the peloton hit the deck.luv the tour."  rider and new to Twitter's Stuart O'Grady
Cav also tweeted an honourable mention "Just saw today's last kilometre. Gilbert humbled everyone with the equivalence of pulling down his pants to reveal a 13 incher #YIKES." 

Only, they didn't know they had entered and plus they're pro so no stage win for them, that's the way that goes.

So drum roll please...the winner of Stage 1 #tdf133 is:

"PhilGil. Again. Steve Bartman's French cousin sabotages Contador. @CycleHermit

Honourable mentions and I suspect one of them is sure to take a stage win in the next 18 stages):

Forget Evans, forget the Schlecks, forget Contador...bravo to the BMC team for riding hard and keeping their man at the front. @Wilko602
"Omega Pharma outdo the carrots, rest of peloton follow suit. Total PhilGilHill. @brassyn 
"Tickling Trout on Eurosport tops Versus "popelling", carrot crashes, Ligget racial slur expands Anglo Empire" @cycletard
Keep tweeting everyone for your chance to win some cool prizes.  The TTT is surely to give you a lot of material. Let all your tweeps know about the comp too.


Don't forget details of the comp and the prizes are here and here.