13 thoughts on “Puncture This”

  1. Pogo – that was a great finish.  Alaphillipe did an impressive job.  Earlier he did not look like he was going to make it, then he just hung in.  I like how Sagan rode up like a tourist, to pop a wheelie to finish the day.  We know King of the Mountain and Points leader are going to be relatively fresh tomorrow.
     

  2. BB,  the last 10k today was impressive. The French have to be walking around with chests thrust out. Tomorrow is 4 cat 1s the last being the finish. Be interesting to see who still has gas in the tank. 

  3. last seen wearing a maga hat and chanting “send me home”

    NYTimes; Elusive Emu Remains at Large in North Carolina After More Than Three Weeks

    It’s 5 feet tall, weighs 100 pounds and has been running loose in central North Carolina for more than three weeks.

    It’s an emu, a flightless bird native to Australia and the world’s second-largest bird, and it’s been spotted at least five or six times since June 26, officials said.

    The elusive, feathered creature has apparently been traveling within a 12-square-mile area, crossing between Orange County and Chatham County — and staying one step ahead of animal control officials, who have approached it at least twice.

    “It’s become quite a sensation,” said Tenille Fox, a spokeswoman for Orange County Animal Services. “With all of the media coverage, we were hoping that we would be able to find an owner.”

    There have been no reports of property damage or human injury caused by the animal, officials said. Animal control officials haven’t gotten close enough to determine whether the bird is male or female — emus can run faster than 30 miles per hour, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. Officials speculated that the emu was most likely from a nearby farm.

    Local news outlets have been providing regular updates on the evasive bird, which certainly wouldn’t be the first animal to escape in recent years to attract attention. There have been many, including goats in Idaho, llamas in Arizona and a peacock in New York.

    The emu was first spotted June 26, and the latest sighting was reported Thursday morning in someone’s yard.

    While the emu did not have an official nickname as of Friday afternoon, Ms. Fox said the name “Fluffy” came up several times.

    [continues]

  4. the guardian:  How Trump’s arch-hawk lured Britain into a dangerous trap to punish Iran

    John Bolton, White House national security adviser and notorious Iraq-era hawk, is a man on a mission. Given broad latitude over policy by Donald Trump, he is widely held to be driving the US confrontation with Iran. And in his passionate bid to tame Tehran, Bolton cares little who gets hurt – even if collateral damage includes a close ally such as Britain.

     

    So when Bolton heard British Royal Marines had seized an Iranian oil tanker off Gibraltar on America’s Independence Day, his joy was unconfined. “Excellent news: UK has detained the supertanker Grace I laden with Iranian oil bound for Syria in violation of EU sanctions,” he exulted on Twitter.

     

    Bolton’s delighted reaction suggested the seizure was a surprise. But accumulating evidence suggests the opposite is true, and that Bolton’s national security team was directly involved in manufacturing the Gibraltar incident. The suspicion is that Conservative politicians, distracted by picking a new prime minister, jockeying for power, and preoccupied with Brexit, stumbled into an American trap.

    In short, it seems, Britain was set up.

     

    The consequences of the Gibraltar affair are only now becoming clear. The seizure of Grace I led directly to Friday’s capture by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of a British tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz. Although it has not made an explicit link, Iran had previously vowed to retaliate for Britain’s Gibraltar “piracy”. Now it has its revenge.

     

    As a result, Britain has been plunged into the middle of an international crisis it is ill-prepared to deal with. The timing could hardly be worse. An untested prime minister, presumably Boris Johnson, will enter Downing Street this week. Britain is on the brink of a disorderly exit from the EU, alienating its closest European partners. And its relationship with Trump’s America is uniquely strained.

     

    Much of this angst could have been avoided. Britain opposed Trump’s decision to quit the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, the trigger for today’s crisis. It has watched with alarm as the Trump-Bolton policy of “maximum pressure”, involving punitive sanctions and an oil embargo, has radicalised the most moderate Iranians.

     

    Yet even as Britain backed EU attempts to rescue the nuclear deal, Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt, foreign secretary, tried to have it both ways – to keep Trump sweet. They publicly supported Washington’s complaints about Iran’s “destabilising” regional activities and missile programme, and berated Iran when it bypassed agreed nuclear curbs.

    Crucially, the government failed to significantly beef up protection for British-flagged vessels transiting the Gulf after attacks in May and June. This was partly because a depleted Royal Navy lacks capacity to mount adequate patrols. But it was also because officials feared that by raising its military profile, Britain could be sucked into armed conflict with Iran.

     

    For Bolton, however, drawing Britain unambiguously in on America’s side was a desirable outcome. So when US spy satellites, tasked with helping block Iranian oil exports in line with Trump’s global embargo, began to track Grace I on its way, allegedly, to Syria, Bolton saw an opportunity.

     

    The Spanish newspaper, El Pais, citing official sources, takes up the story: “The Grace 1, which flies a Panamanian flag, had been under surveillance by US satellites since April, when it was anchored off Iran. The supertanker, full to the brim with crude oil, was too big for the Suez Canal, and so it sailed around the Cape of Good Hope before heading for the Mediterranean.

    [continues with details about the seizure and iran’s retaliation]

    The Bolton gambit succeeded. Despite its misgivings, Britain has been co-opted on to the front line of Washington’s confrontation with Iran. The process of polarisation, on both sides, is accelerating. The nuclear deal is closer to total collapse. And by threatening Iran with “serious consequences”, without knowing what that may entail, Britain blindly dances to the beat of Bolton’s war drums.

  5. Pogo – Several teams decided not to push today.  You are right about the French.  Have to give them a salute for going to win, especially with Macron watching in person.  One thought I have is that Sagan might decide to go for the stage tomorrow. It fits him well and it is before the Alps.
     
    My poor air conditioner is finally getting a break as the sun is blocked by the trees.  I am on standby for running a cooling shelter, I think there are enough people available though.  I am a “just in case all else fails” person right now.

  6. Facinating picture of the bullets.  If you want to get ready for the next ANZAC Day 

    Here’s the recipe for ANZAC biscuits.  I make them once a year as a tradition.

    Traditional Anzac biscuits recipe
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups rolled oats.
    • 1/2 cup sugar.
    • 1 cup plain flour.
    • 1/2 cup melted butter.
    • 1 tbls golden syrup.
    • 2 tbls boiling water.
    • 1 tsp bicarbonate soda (add a little more water if mixture is too dry)

    Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together.

    In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the syrup and butter together. Mix the soda and the boiling water and add to the melted butter and syrup.

    Add butter mixture to the dry ingredients. Drop by teaspoons on greased cookie sheets (or baking paper).

    Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes.

  7. Is it a .303 bullet fired from an Enfield and intercepted by a .323 bullet fired from a Mauser ? 
    Whatever else it was, that was a damned good shot. 

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