Parading down the Champs-Élyées

(being part two of the final sprint challenge)

Good evening and welcome to Stage 21 of the the 2008 Tour de France, the leg from Étampes to the Champs-Élyées in the heart of the nation’s capital, Paris.
Yesterday’s time trial was a momentous affair with both Carlos Sastre and Bernhard Kohl riding the stage of their lives, and Cadel Evans showing how the lack of support from his team during the race had finally caught up with him, with the one-man show failing in its attempt to complete a fairy tale ending. He will keep his second place overall riding into Paris today, remaining Australia’s highest ranking cyclist in its history of competing in the Tour.

And as a Tour, what a marvellous race it has been. The closest in years, with some amazing climbs, beautiful scenery and nail-biting finishes. And with all this (and the sleep deprivation taking its toll on this side of the world), I bring you the photos caught as this contender for the year’s maillot pois aux rouge rode into Paris.

We first caught sight of the project in the distance – its striking features and unmistakable forest green jersey flashing in the sunlight
Then, when it came past a familiar landmark (Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Almanac), we realised it was bigger than we thought (blocking out to 145cm in diameter)
As it rode closer, we were able to marvel at the beauty of the colour, the lace patterns and the sumptuousness of the completed object –

The fine detailing in the pedal/arrow/ and leaf motifs that made the lace bands of the blanket
It carried on past us, and we marvelled at the depths of colour as the light and shadow played on its surface as the perspective became skewed in the sudden sprint for the line to the roar of the Parisienne crowd:

To be greeted on the podium not only a sprint winner (thank you everybody, thanks Katie for the yarn), but also the other completed FO’s from this year’s Tour – the Team Quick.Stitch wrist warmers, and a béret commuting project for the Magpie – completed and blocked on the 25th.

The gratitude of the Couverture de Forst is great and it thanks all well-wishers and observers for their comments and support during this gruelling race. It came to life briefly to inform me that has taken a liking to mountain challenges, but presently prefers meandering through the leafy oak forests of the Loire valley eating Soupe à l’oignon Gratineé and fondling its crack yarn for now – it just wants a little time to recover… before next year.

This concludes our coverage of the Courverture de Forst’s challenge for the Queen of the Mountain jersey in the 2008. Stay tuned for progress on its team mates in their quest for honour at the Ravelympics starting 8 August 2008. (Go Team Oz!) Thank you all, until next year, Good night.