In what's hopefully the final chapter on the shambles that has been the organisation of my work placement this summer, I got my confirmation call today that I'm indeed starting a work placement. Unfortunately, I'm starting a week Monday, instead of this Monday, which causes me a fair amount of trouble. The issue with starting this Monday was that I'd be working up until the Friday with the Strasbourg trip at the weekend, meaning I'd be going late, because I'd ideally be travelling on the Thursday or something, not the Saturday or the Friday evening. Now that it's a week later, it not only means that I'd pretty much definitely not go to Strasbourg because I'd have to be back in time for work on the Monday as well, but it also means it clashes with the Reading festival, which starts on the Thursday of the following week.
Now I really want to go to Strasbourg, but ultimately if I had the choice of missing it or not fulfilling my placement, I'd probably just miss it. Reading however is a slightly different issue, given I've paid £120 to go to it, bought my ticket back last September, and I've been vaguely looking forward to it since the line-up was announced. I only need four weeks, not six, so my basic options are to either not do the last week or two of the placement, or to maybe try and get a couple of weeks off around Strasbourg and Reading and then do the last two weeks of my placement in September. Still not really sure how it's going to pan out (which is annoying when I'd rather get the travel stuff to Strasbourg sorted sooner rather than later), but I'll be fairly bullish about it, given that I'd place most of the blame about the placement starting late with Nuvia, rather than myself. I also don't really see why it'd necessarily be too much hassle for them if I'm doing six weeks spread out over eight weeks, rather than just consecutively.
One benefit at least of starting a week later is that I'll be able to watch another week of the Tour de France live, because it's been fairly decent so far. The stages have all been fairly flat so far, so I've only been watching the last 30-40km of each stage given that everything before then is pretty boring. Things should pick up at least once they hit the mountain stages next week though.
It was nice to see Cavendish win today and yesterday, especially given his really poor start to the Tour. I can't see him picking up the green jersey by the end of it at this rate, but you never know. It was also nice to see him drop his hostile, arrogant attitude and show a bit of emotion and a slightly more tender side to himself after the race. I was browsing around some of the main French newspapers and sports magazines last night (as they tend to give the best coverage for obvious reasons), and I found it fairly funny how much focus they had on Cavendish's tears on the podium after winning the race. I especially liked the minor headline in a L'Equipe article of "Le bad boy pleure comme un gosse" (the bad boy weeps like a child).
The guy has a bad press, and it's mostly his own doing for things he's done and said, but I also think that it's slightly unfair on sportsmen in general when they're interviewed straight after the race, when they're still high on adrenaline and caught in the moment. I think Cavendish has got plenty of shitty press for things he's said which he'd probably take back if he was given a bit more time to cool down and reflect on things. I think he showed yesterday that he has a softer side, and he's not quite the asshole that he's projected to be. He's had a really tough year, he blew it in the stage on Wednesday, and clearly felt that he let his team down massively on that stage. He probably started to doubt if he actually could win a stage this year, and I think all that relief after a hard year spilled over and then some yesterday. But he won by a mile yesterday, and clearly had his confidence back to do the same thing again today, so it could be he's not completely out of the green jersey competition just yet.
It's also pretty awesome to see a British rider currently wearing the white jersey as well. Geraint Thomas did really well over the cobblestones earlier in the week to get to the top, and it'll be interesting to see if he'll keep it for much longer into the Tour. Personally I reckon Andy Schleck will take it from him fairly soon, but it'd be an awesome surprise if he can keep himself high up in the classification over the next week. It'll be also pretty interesting to see the battle for the yellow jersey pan out over the next week. I reckon Contador will probably win it overall, but Wiggins and Andy Schleck are right up there with him, and Armstrong definitely isn't too far back to be ruled out either. It's hard to really make any sort of predictions when there haven't been any stages so far with major climbs though.
I also noticed yesterday how epic Sunday is going to be for sport. The British Grand Prix, followed by the Tour de France, followed by the World Cup Final. I'll be in front of the TV pretty much the entire afternoon and most of the evening, and it's going to be awesome.