Ed. Note: We've enlisted the quill of Paved columnist Stevil Kinevil to update us regarding all the happenings in that bike race over in France--except he hasn't watched any of it. If you missed last week’s installment, you can catch up here.
By Stevil Kinevil
Stage 8 -- When last we were together, no one had yet won The Tour's 7th stage. [SPOILER ALERT!] It was Sagan. Once upon the podium, Captain Pervington Grabbyhands wisely kept his mitts to himself. With today's stage entering Port de Pailhéres, (which is French for 'route to the wheelchair') it got real damn climby, and Voeckler rode with his tongue out.
Columbian powerhouse Nairo Quintana executed what may have been the Tour's first 'Hand Down' (handing a bottle to a spectator) while simultaneously channeling Marco Pantani and climbing with the power of a goat on crank.
Chris Froome took top honors, however, and upon establishing a 51-second lead with his finish, exclaimed, "I must be among the happiest men in the world today."
Upon further investigation, I found he was actually the third happiest behind Harvey Davis of Denver, Colorado, who, after four years of feeling chilly, finally found his favorite sweatshirt, and Lars Markham of Oslo, Norway, who spent three days in the hospital and was finally discharged after almost being laid to death.
Stage 9 -- The panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, lit. “black and white cat-foot”), also known as the giant panda to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda , is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora the panda’s diet is 99-percent bamboo. Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.
Dan Martin got chased by someone in a panda suit at this year's Leige-Bastogne-Leige. Judging on the amount of time I’ve spent inside similar suits, I would imagine it smells terrible in there.
Dan also won today's stage.
Stage 10 -- Spaniard Luis Maté assisted in a five man break that lasted seemingly through the entirety of the stage (190 km, as the Oompa Loompas around the water cooler would tell it.). Sure, Kittel won, but Maté has a braided tail on the back of his head, thereby proving that New Wave isn't dead. And, in the big picture, which is more important? Winning a stage, or New Wave? That's right, New Wave is more important.
Stage 11 -- Today was the individual time trial, which, for those not in the know, looks a lot like a triathlon but without the running, swimming and people who haven't the slightest idea of how to ride bikes. Quickstep's Tony Martin went all tough-guy on everybody to take the win--and it should be noted, wore a cycling cap atop the podium--though Froome is still in the overall lead. It was also confirmed that urine had been thrown on Mark Cavendish by a spectator. Initial reports indicated that "he was super not stoked". This act could have been in response to his previous day's hockey check in the final sprint of Kittel's teammate, Tom Veelers, or it could have just been Peta Todd marking her territory.
Stage 12 -- I woke up super duper early and went on a bike ride with a couple friends. In the two or so hours we were in one another’s company, not a single word was uttered regarding The Tour Day France. Opting to keep the good times rolling, upon returning home I took a bath, put on a union suit, drew in a sketch book for a while before eventually falling asleep on the sofa with my cat. I'm pretty sure somebody won today's stage, but I'll be damned if I know who. If I was a betting man, I'd say it was probably that Kittel guy. He's real fast.
Stage 13 -- I'm typing this on Thursday, so in order to get things straight, I'll take a look into my crystal ball. I see lots of people standing along side of 173 kilometers of flattish road. I see some cows in a field, I see a young woman holding a sign declaring that 'God Hates Wind Chimes', and due to the stage's short climbs, I see the peloton's finest sprinters with elbows sharpened all taking one another to task. As far as a stage winner goes, I have no idea, nor will I until tomorrow night if I happen to catch some information on the internet between trying on some shoes I just bought, and burning dinner. What I can guarantee is that they were wearing a stretchy suit, tap shoes and are very active on Twitter.
The brave few who are reading this will probably know however, and I encourage you to send me an email telling me all about it...
Or better yet, just keep it to yourself so the surprise can remain fresh until I watch it next month on YouTube.