Tour 2010: Stage 20

The final kilometres of this year’s Tour were played out in traditional fashion in Paris. Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) won his fifth stage, and also became the first rider ever to win on the Champs-Elysées two years running. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) was second, which gave him overall victory in the green jersey competition.
Alberto Contador (Astana) won the Tour without winning a stage and having been pushed every inch of the way by Andy Schleck. Could we see a change at the top of the sport next season? One man who’s definitely heading for the exit, this time for good, is Lance Armstrong, who finished an anonymous 23rd – not the glorious last hurrah we’d have liked to have seen from the seven-time winner.
It’s been a great Tour, and for the first time in years, I’ve enjoyed it from start to finish. So, inspired by my blog-pal Chloe, my closing entry in this three-week poetry marathon is a retrospective of the entire event in haiku; one for each of the 20 stages.
Thanks for joining me on the road to Paris.


Twenty-two times nine
Slaves to the clock. One stands; cries
‘I am Spartacus!”


Stage, one; countries, two.
On the run into Brussels
Petacchi sprouts wings.


Spa cure for the blues:
Chavanel is in yellow;
France is feeling good.


On a day in Hell,
Cobbles claim men’s bones and souls.
But Thor’s in heaven.


As the Champagne flows
For Petacchi once again,
Has Cav’s bubble burst?


So the lead-out train
Gets it right. And suddenly
Cav is back on track.


First Cav couldn’t win
Now it seems he cannot stop.
Two down, three to go.


Second time around
Taking yellow the hard way.
Chapeau, Chavanel.


As the road heads up
Schleck breaks free of gravity.
Shades of Charly Gaul.


On the Madeleine
Sandy’s out there on his own.
Still is at the line.


Where Beloki fell
Paulinho makes no mistake
Keeps his winning Gap.


Cav makes it thirteen
Beats Robbie, Cipo, Zabel
Along with the rest.


Alberto goes clear;
Andy loses by a hair.
Shape of things to come?


Vino’s comeback win,
But his past means this is not
One to Revel in.


Riblon wins alone:
After three lean, unseen years
The Ax man cometh.


Centenary day
In the Pyrenees. Vockler
Leaves them on a high.


Peyresourde, Aspin,
Tourmalet, Aubisque. Such names
Don’t scare Fédrigo.


And then there were two.
On the highest, hardest road
They are on their own.


Sprinters call it home.
Cav blazes into Bordeaux,
Claims a vintage win.


Schleck is cast to fail.
Doesn’t read the script. Almost
Forces a rewrite.


Number five for Cav,
Three for Contador. For Lance
It’s seven and out.

Longjumeau-Paris Champs-Elysées, 102.5km
Won by Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia)

Maillot jaune: Alberto Contador (Astana)
Maillot vert: Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini)
Maillot au pois: Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
Maillot blanc: Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank)
Team classification: Radio Shack
Lanterne rouge: Adriano Malori (Lampre-Farnese Vini) @ 4h 27m 03s

8 thoughts on “Tour 2010: Stage 20

  1. Wow – this is absolutely fantastic!!! I can’t believe how well you have made this work! Haiku takes a long time, even for just 3 lines, so I know you’ve worked really hard on this…and the result… it’s amazing!

    Have you ever tried a poetry form called Cinquin?? I only recently heard of it but thought I’d give it a whirl. You could do it with your eyes closed! 😉

    Have a good evening blog-pal.

    Chloe 🙂

  2. It actually came together quite quickly (about an hour start to finish) so thank you for a really good idea! Haven’t tried cinquain; the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted is the sestina, which drove me nearly demented. Villanelles are good fun, though. Thanks again for the feedback and the inspiration.

    • I am very impressed that it only took about an hour…that almost sounds impossible to me. I can write regular poetry in that kind of time frame – sometimes – but Haiku seems to be more time consuming for me.

      Anyways, I think I need to google ‘forms of poetry’ because I had no idea there were so many out there! At the moment, I would not even know a ‘stanza’ if it hit me in the face… 😉 feel the need to get educated on the subject!

      • Stephen Fry’s book ‘The Ode Less Travelled’ is a good intro to the various poetic forms. His style can get a little wearisome, but I learned a lot. Trust me on the villanelles.

  3. Absolutely brilliant – you’ve finished the Tour on a real high!

    It has been a pleasure to have shared this Tour with you – roll on the next race! (But first, some sleep …)

  4. Many thanks, Tim – what a race it was. I’ve really enjoyed our correspondence-by-comment the last three weeks; I’ll stay tuned for your thoughts on the rest of the pro cycling season (can’t promise I’ll ever ‘get’ footbal though!) Brittany beckons now, so prepare for a stack of seaside-related stuff in a couple of weeks’ time! Cheers.

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