Friday, June 30, 2017

The Mysterious Black Knight Satellite – Who Really Owns It?

nasa-ufo-black-nightThe Black Knight satellite is one of those space mysteries that will continue to perplex everyone. Back in the early 1950’s when it was first discovered, the U.S. thought it belonged to the Russians and the Russians thought it belonged to the U.S.  Its discovery pre-dated man-made satellites launched in space, so its true ownership remains questionable. Consequently, many claimed it had to be of extraterrestrial origin operated by beings keeping tabs on us.
This story goes way back… In 1899, Nikola Tesla picked up unusual signals from an unknown source on his high-voltage receiver in Colorado Springs which he speculated were “intelligently controlled signals” that originated “from another world.” Astronomers have reported picking up similar radio signals since the 1930s. It was Dr. Lincoln La Paz, of the University of New Mexico, who first sighted the mysterious satellite-like object in 1953.
blackknightpapersThe U.S. Department of Defense commissioned astronomer Clyde Tombaugh to look for it. Word quickly spread and a famous article about the Black Knight was published in The St. Louis Dispatch and The San Francisco Examiner on May 14th 1954.
The story highlighted an interview with retired Marine Corps Major Donald E. Keyhole who stated that Earth was being circled by one or two artificial satellites. He added that government scientists at White Sands, New Mexico, were making every effort to locate and chart these satellites to determine origin.
This news article was written three years before Russia would launch the Earth’s first satellite, Sputnik 1, and the U.S. would follow a few years later with their own.
According to TIME Magazine on Monday, March 07, 1960:
“Three weeks ago, headlines announced that the U.S. had detected a mysterious “dark” satellite wheeling overhead on a regular orbit. There was nervous speculation that it might be a surveillance satellite launched by the Russians, and it brought the uneasy sensation that the U.S. did not know what was going on over its own head. But last week the Department of Defense proudly announced that the satellite had been identified. It was a space derelict, the remains of an Air Force Discoverer satellite that had gone astray.”
This was the Cold War Era and the beginning of the age of spy satellites. Both NASA and the Pentagon quickly claimed it was space debris from their early Discoverer satellite program. The Discoverer V program was covertly part of the “Corona Project.” It was one of the first U.S. classified spy satellites in space during the Cold War with Russia. Only one problem with this explanation. Neither the U.S., nor the Russians had the capability for Polar Orbit when the Black Knight was spotted during 1953, and the first Corona launch attempt did not occur until August 13, 1959 where it fell to Earth on September 28, 1959. A successful launch would not come until 1960—so they claim.
It is interesting to note that on the heels of the Black Knight discovery, both the U.S. and Russia quickly got into the space reconnaissance business. Were they trying to get equipment up there and see for themselves what this strange alien-based satellite was doing?
According to, an Ancient Astronauts Theory website:
“Interest in the Black Knight was higher each year. In 1957, an unknown “object” was seen “shadowing” the Sputnik 1 spacecraft. According to reports, the “unidentified object” was in polar orbit, at that time. The United States nor the Russians possessed the technology to maintain a spacecraft in polar orbit. According to our research the first polar-orbiting satellite was launched in 1960. Polar orbits are often used for earth-mapping, earth observation, capturing the earth as time passes from one point and reconnaissance satellites. This would put the Black Knight in the category of an observational satellite. The only question here is, who placed the Black Knight in a polar orbit and for what purpose?
The object continued to amaze astronomers world-wide. In the 1960’s the Black Knight was located once again in polar orbit. Astronomers and scientists calculated the object’s weight to be over 10 tons, which would be at that time the heaviest artificial satellite to orbit our planet. The Black Knight’s orbit was unlike any other object orbiting Earth, as it was moving twice as fast when compared to any other man-made spacecraft.
There are also several reports that the Grumman Aircraft Corporation gave much importance to this mysterious “Satellite.” On September 3, 1960, seven months after the satellite was first detected by radar, a tracking camera at Grumman Aircraft Corporation’s Long Island factory took a photograph of the Black Knight. At that point people all over the world started identifying the object in the sky, which could be seen as a red light moving at higher speed compared to other satellites in an East to West orbit. The Grumman Aircraft Corporation formed a committee to study the data received from the observations made but nothing was made public.
In 1963, U.S. Astronaut Gordon Cooper was launched into space. On his final orbit, he reported seeing a glowing green object in front of his capsule in the distance moving towards his Spacecraft. The Muchea tracking station, in Australia, which Cooper reported the object to, picked up this unidentified object on radar travelling East to West. NBC reported this but after Cooper returned to Earth, the reporters were not allowed to ask Cooper about the unidentified object. The official explanation given to Cooper’s sighting was “high levels of carbon dioxide, which caused hallucinations.“
CloseupBlackKnightEven though Cooper was known to be sympathetic to the UFO disclosure movement, he later recanted his initial report. One can only surmise his admission really pissed off someone at NASA.
After all this time, one wonders why NASA and/or the Russians haven’t tried to capture this mysterious satellite and put speculation to rest. The American Space Shuttle has a payload to polar-orbit launch capacity of about 14 tons, and payload recovery capability of about 16 tons. Depending on the physical volume of the Black Knight satellite, it is conceivable that the object might have been recovered and returned to Earth during one of the classified missions of the shuttle. Then again, perhaps they have already attempted this. Maybe they even know the satellite’s true origin. If so, they’re not telling us and the information will most likely remain classified.
The object is still believed to be in Orbit to this day. NASA’s explanation to what the object is has changedfaces-on-mars-alien-satellites-and-moon-bases-5-unexplained-nasa-photos-explained-424309 several times and some stories have often been fused together. NASA also claims the object is a thermal blanket that got loose during the STS-88 space mission in 1998. But that mission was long after the first sighting of the Black Knight. While this thermal blanket is probably up there floating in space somewhere, along with other space junk, to explain it as the Black Knight is really a stretch.
Right now there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 man-made objects orbiting Earth. Some are multi-billion dollar military satellites, or telecomm satellites or even scientific instruments. Most are space junk off of old spacecraft and/or dead satellites. Yes, we have even polluted outer space with our garbage.
There are reports the Black Knight was spotted near the moon by the International Space Station (ISS) crew, but I haven’t seen the pics. One day this satellite enigma will finally be solved. Are we indeed being watched? One of Nostradamus’ prophecies seems to certainly suggest this. Time will tell.
NASA website – Black Knight  – Pic 1 (with magnification zoom)

Stealth Attack On USS Fitzgerald Proves US Navy No Longer Controls Seven Seas

The Official US Navy “Fitzgerald” Narrative is not only totally implausible, it’s beyond ridiculous!

USS Fitzgerald showing major damage located toward the midsection of the ship
“The U.S. Navy controls all the oceans. We are an order of magnitude more powerful than anyone else. Undermining that kind of power can happen, but it normally takes wars, and it certainly takes generations.”[1]

— George Friedman,  Founder & Former CEO, Stratfor
The Millennium Report
The last time George Friedman uttered those words about the unchallenged world supremacy of the U.S. Navy was in early 2015 while speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.  He lost his job at Strafor — often called a private CIA — shortly thereafter. Not only was Mr. Friedman dead wrong about the long view of American naval prowess, he quite indiscreetly revealed the ultra-secret back story regarding the relentless assault on Russia by the Zio-Anglo-American Axis.  More on that here:  STRATFOR Chief Reveals Zio-Anglo-American Plot For World Domination.

USS Fitzgerald

Nothing  illustrates better just how wrong Mr. Friedman was about US naval supremacy than the recent successful attack on the USS Fitzgerald.  And make no mistake about it, this was a stealth attack with great purpose.  That purpose, of course, was to show the whole world that every U.S. warship is now a sitting duck.
Khibiny Electronic Warfare System: Russia Employs “Super Weapon” To Neutralize Entire U.S. Navy
It’s true, given the highly advanced scalar-wave weapon technology developed in Russia, no navy is safe on the high seas.  In fact, the radar, navigational, communication and weapons systems of any warship can be incapacitated with the push of a button.   The Russians proved that with the flyover of the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea in April of 2014.  Even the sailors who witnessed that unparalleled incident on the ship were profoundly affected.
 According to some specialized media, 27 sailors from the USS Donald Cook requested to be relieved from active service. (Source: What frightened the USS Donald Cook back to port in the Black Sea?)

Stealth Attack on the USS Fitzgerald

On June 17th of 2017, the USS Fitzgerald, a highly equipped Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, was involved in a collision with a Japanese-owned container ship that seriously damaged the destroyer.  The owner has refused to say where the ship was heading.  “Seven of Fitzgerald’s crew were killed. Several others were injured, including the commanding officer, Commander Bryce Benson.”[2]
Here are more telling details of the planned out ‘collision’.
At  “about 1:30 a.m. on 17 June 2017, Fitzgerald collided with ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship measured at 29,060 gross tons and almost 40,000 tons deadweight. Most of Fitzgerald’s 200 crew were asleep at the time. The collision occurred about 56 nautical miles (104 kilometres; 64 miles) southwest of her home port of Yokosuka, Japan.”[2]
The container ship ACX Crystal with its left bow dented and scraped after colliding (Hiroshi Kashimura/Kyodo News via AP)

Just how serious was the damage from this attack?

“The starboard side of Fitzgerald was seriously damaged. The container ship’s bulbous bow penetrated the destroyer’s hull below the waterline, flooding a machinery space, the radio room, and two crew berthing spaces. The captain’s cabin was crushed. Seven crewmen were reported missing after the collision, and their bodies were found the next day after rescue workers gained access to flooded compartments. Several others were injured, including the ship’s commanding officer and two sailors whom the Japanese evacuated by helicopter.”[2]
The photo at the top of this article accurately reflects the preceding damage report.  The extensive destruction to the middle of the warship was so serious that it had to be towed back to port.  This kind of collision just doesn’t happen unless it was fastidiously planned that way. And so it was.

Analysis of the Attack

What follows is a diagram of the route of the container ship which stuck the USS Fitzgerald. This route clearly indicates that the Fitzgerald was first immobilized by some foreign technology.  Then the ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship, came back around and directly rammed the Fitzgerald so that the captain’s cabin was crushed. Whoever was steering the ACX Crystal knew exactly what they were doing.

The following video clearly delineates the timing and location of each of the major pieces of this stealth attack.  When described by a former seaman it’s quite apparent that this naval assault was well planned and well executed.  “This video report is better than many others, as it’s made by an expert in accident investigation.  The ship’s electronic capabilities were blocked, and the ship was blinded, before the cargo ship rammed it. Fitzgerald was able to avoid being cut in half but sustained a serious blow on the starboard side.”[3]
The video above definitively explains why there is such a disparity in the reported times of the deliberate collision.  First the ship was immobilized, and then the ACX Crystal came back around after the Fitzgerald was surely incapacitated — weapons systems and all — to bifurcate the ship in two.  Why the massive container ship failed to sever the US warship remains a question worthy of serious consideration.

Advanced Technologies

Russia, China and other BRICS-aligned nations now possess weapon technologies which far exceed the capacity of the United States and United Kingdom (the former rulers of the seven seas) to defend against.  There have been a number of incidents (most unreported) during which Russia has demonstrated to the U.S. Navy that they are as vulnerable as “sitting ducks”.
Magrav Technology Levels The Global Playing Field
With this new understanding, it greatly behooves the countries of the Zio-Anglo-American Axis to accurately assess the true military calculus which undergirds today’s global geopolitical chessboard.  Not only is this Great Game rapidly changing, all the old paradigms are dissolving in real time.  This developing situation is not too unlike what will soon happen when Free Energy renders obsolete the fossil fuel, hydrocarbon fuel, nuclear power and hydroelectric energy paradigms.

Special Note:
The following insightful submission to TMR outlines what may be the most likely scenario.

The first time the container ship approached the USS Fitzgerald, the Fitz was still fully functional.
An airplane or drone flying overhead was responsible for the energy pulse that killed all electricity on the warship. (the whole event took place in the wee hours of the morning from 1:30 to 2:20 AM)
The container ship was required to turn back toward the Fitzgerald to do its job as commanded by whoever EMPulsed the ship.
In turning back to do the “job” the container ship did not have great positioning to destroy the vessel and so ended up only disabling rather than sinking the thing.
Thus, the CIA-planned story (aka false flag attack) could not be used as many on board the Fitzgerald saw what really happened, and survived.
The CIA plot was probably an attack by Russia or China or NK.  A contingency plan was then quickly implemented; one that they could feed to those present as a legitimate story.
The bottom line here is that this attack was quite likely a false flag operation in the tradition of the USS Maine (“Remember the Maine!”), the RMS Lusitania (World War I false flag), and the USS Maddox (aka the Gulf of Tonkin incident).


Either someone wants war.  Or, someone else seeks to prevent war.
While this attack on the USS Fitzgerald appears to be a typical CIA-coordinated false flag attack designed to start a war, it appears to have been a real attack perpetrated to prevent one.
In other words, it was an conspiracy within a conspiracy, and/or a false flag within a false flag. Yes, it’s really that complicated. As it frequently when one camp is trying to start a war as aggressively as the other side is working to avert one.
Will the U.S. government blame this purposeful ramming of the Fitz on North Korea? Or on Russia? Or on China? That will ultimately tell the real story.
If neither are accused, then it was a dire warning to the Zio-Anglo-American Axis not to meddle in the affairs of the Asia-Pacific Rim nations.  Nor to even think about triggering the hot phase of World War III.
The Millennium Report
June 23, 2017
Something is fishy about USS Fitzgerald story we are getting from the media
Recommended Reading
The American high-tech weapons have started to be blocked
[1] George Friedman on World War III
[2] USS Fitzgerald
[3] USS Fitzgerald deliberately rammed, nearly sunk. Who by?
*Zio-Anglo-American Axis:
The Anglo-American Axis is represented, first and foremost, by the major English-speaking countries of the world: USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel. The European member nations of NATO, such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are also closely aligned with the AAA as are all the Scandinavian countries. So are the Asian Pacific Rim nations of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar also owe their allegiance to the AAA but some of these may be changing (shown in red). The World Shadow Government is an ultra-secret, supranational organization which completely controls the Anglo-American Axis, as well as the European Union, NATO, among many other institutional entities which constitute the Global Control Matrix.
(Source: Vladimir Putin’s Russia: Perfect Foil To The Anglo-American Axis And Their New World ‘Order’)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

CNN Is Dead: Network Loses All Credibility As Producer Admits That The Entire Russia Narrative Is Fake News

Posted by Conspiracy Cafe on June 27, 2017 at

By Michael Snyder, on June 27th, 2017

Nobody else needs to dig a grave for CNN because they are doing it themselves. There has been scandal after scandal at the network, and now one of their producers has been caught on undercover video admitting that CNN has been pushing fake news stories about a connection between Donald Trump and Russia in a desperate attempt to get ratings. In other words, CNN’s entire Russia narrative has been a complete lie all along. Unfortunately for CNN, they are going to discover that once your credibility is gone it is incredibly difficult to ever get it back.

On Tuesday, Project Veritas made headlines all over the world when it released undercover video of CNN Producer John Bonifield admitting that CNN’s Russia narrative is fake news. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can view the entire video right here. Now that this video has been made public, I don’t see how CNN is ever going to recover from this. When one of your top producers admits that the story you have been pushing for months is basically a load of cow manure, it is impossible to maintain the pretense that you are a legitimate news organization any longer…

Project Veritas has released a video of CNN Producer John Bonifield who was caught on hidden-camera admitting that there is no proof to CNN’s Russia narrative.

“I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now,” Bonifield says. “Like, we don’t have any giant proof.”

He confirms that the driving factor at CNN is ratings:

“It’s a business, people are like the media has an ethical phssssss… All the nice cutesy little ethics that used to get talked about in journalism school you’re just like, that’s adorable. That’s adorable. This is a business.”

And of course this comes on the heels of three reporters being forced out of CNN for publishing a false story that attempted to link a Russian investment fund with Trump…

Three CNN employees have handed in their resignations over a retracted story linking President Trump to Russia, the network announced Monday.

The article was removed from on Friday after the network decided it could no longer stand by its reporting.

“In the aftermath of the retraction of a story published on, CNN has accepted the resignation of the employees involved in the story’s publication,” a network spokesperson told TheWrap in a statement.

President Trump has taken a lot of heat for referring to CNN as “fake news”, but after the events of the past several days he has been completely vindicated.

And once news broke of three reporters being forced out of the network for a false story about Russia, he took a bit of a victory lap with this tweet…

Wow, CNN had to retract big story on “Russia,” with 3 employees forced to resign. What about all the other phony stories they do? FAKE NEWS!

This is such a shame, because I always liked CNN’s election coverage compared to the other networks. John King always did such a great job breaking things down county by county, and Wolf Blitzer always made things seem so dramatic.

But now it is exceedingly difficult to see any sort of a future for the network after all of this.

And of course other major news outlets have been guilty of pushing fake news about Russia too. The following comes from the Intercept…

Over and over, major U.S. media outlets have published claims about the Russia Threat that turned out to be completely false — always in the direction of exaggerating the threat and/or inventing incriminating links between Moscow and the Trump circle. In virtually all cases, those stories involved evidence-free assertions from anonymous sources that these media outlets uncritically treated as fact, only for it to be revealed that they were entirely false.

But with CNN it has always been on another level, and we now have a top insider on tape admitting that a connection between Trump and Russia is being pushed even though there isn’t any evidence. In fact, Bonifield says that CNN CEO Jeff Zucker has been personally pushing this angle himself…

“Just to give you some context, President Trump pulled out of the climate accords and for a day and a half we covered the climate accords. And the CEO of CNN (Jeff Zucker) said in our internal meeting, he said good job everybody covering the climate accords, but we’re done with that, let’s get back to Russia.”

I can’t imagine that Zucker gets to keep his job now that this has been revealed.

It may not happen immediately, but look for him to be shown the door in the not too distant future.

All along, Trump has insisted that this whole thing with Russia has been a “witch hunt”, and that is what I have been saying too. And it turns out that Bonifield feels the exact same way…

“I just feel like they don’t really have it but they want to keep digging. And so I think the President is probably right to say, like, look you are witch hunting me. You have no smoking gun, you have no real proof.”

If this doesn’t kill “the Russia story”, I don’t know what will.

This whole thing has been a massive charade from the very beginning, and the big news networks have been endlessly pushing it for ratings.

In their zeal to destroy Trump, they have “jumped the shark” and have destroyed their own credibility instead.

Once upon a time, most mainstream journalists at least attempted to pretend that they were being objective, but those days are long gone.

Today, it is absolutely imperative for all of us to understand that everyone has an agenda. In other words, every single person that you see on television is trying to get a message across. So instead of taking in news and entertainment passively, we need to have our filters up and we need to be thinking for ourselves.

Fortunately, episodes such as this one tend to awaken a lot of people, and more Americans than ever are sick and tired of the lies and misinformation that they are constantly being fed.

From the no shit ....dept

Image result for pic of pissing away $

National Security Work Leaves Plenty Of Time For Games, Outside Employment, And Sexual Misconduct                 ~ hehe "some" of OUR finest gov. "workers" & folks how many "more" R WE THE TAX~PAYERS ...paying ?  HUH Image result for pic of pissing away $


FOIA terrorist Jason Leopold has scored another win, securing a copy of an Intelligence Community Inspector General's investigation from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It's the sort of thing that's rarely released, most likely because it comes from the inner sanctum's inner sanctum. Maybe this one just seemed too damning to keep secret -- not for the ODNI or the Intelligence Community, but for the unnamed (well... redacted) ODNI employee who was caught abusing all sorts of policies, procedures, and laws while on the clock.
The investigation report [PDF] opens with a list of five violations affecting all areas of the employee's work. And also possibly some violations of other employees.
Subject engaged in conflicts of interest
Subject engaged in improper or unauthorized outside employment
Subject engaged in falsification and misrepresentation
Subject misused government information and information systems.
Subject engaged in sexual misconduct while on duty
So, a very busy employee, albeit one not actually doing much to fulfill the job description. When she wasn't working for the government (which was apparently most of her shift), she was working for up to 14 other companies. The report says the employee "averaged in excess of five hours per day on personal affairs and unofficial business."
What she was supposed to be doing was managing secured databases/sites and providing budget planning. What she actually did was handle work for outside companies while collecting a paycheck from taxpayers. This included companies currently being used by the IC as contractors and those seeking to win government contracts -- contradicting the information she gave supervisors and presented in disclosure forms. Even with this additional, conflicting workload, she still found plenty of time to do nothing.
A counterintelligence analyst remarked of [redacted] in an assessment of the audits from May 2010 to May 2013, "I have highlighted the subject's game playing, and noted the trends. Subject appears to use specific gaming sites for a set period of time and then switches to a new site ... There do not appear to be any major gaps in time where subject was not visiting some type of gaming site."
Working for fifteen employers is far less of a strain than I have been led to believe
When confronted with the issue of illegal executables, games, and inappropriate chats on her account during the interview, [redacted] admitted that she spends approximately "all day" on Facebook and plays games at work from four to six hours per day. She also admitted that she engaged in sexually explicit Sametimes with a contractor for the first year of her employment with ODNI.
The bar has been raised for wasting time at work. Between the games and providing some sort of assistance to fourteen outside companies (and engaging in sexual misconduct), the employee also found time to repeatedly access government databases for personal reasons. One of her favorite Privacy Act violations targeted the IC's most famous/infamous former member.
Between June 10, 2013 and July 2, 2013, [redacted] ran JPAS [Joint Personnel Adjudication System] record searches for Edward Snowden 357 times under three of her accounts (Link Solutions, Augusta Westland, and Twin Soft Corporation) while at ODNI facilities during duty hours. According to the Defense Manpower Data Center's Manual on JPAS Account Management, one of the most common JPAS user violations is "querying the JPAS application for 'celebrity' records." This policy is explicitly forbidden in the manuals for JPAS. In the case of 357 unauthorized JPAS queries, [redacted] violated the Privacy Act.
Between June 10, 2013, and May 19, 2014, [redacted] ran JPAS record-searches for her own record 442 times under four accounts (Link Solutions, Augusta Westland, 99999 Consulting, and Wheeler Network Design). 324 of the 442 JPAS violations in this case were performed while at ODNI facilities during duty hours. According to the Defense Manpower Data Center's Manual on JPAS Account Management, one of the most common JPAS user violations is "querying the JPAS application for your own record." This policy is explicitly forbidden in the manuals for JPAS.
Unfortunately, the report doesn't say what happened to this employee. Some of the IG's conclusions are redacted while others only say the investigation confirmed abuse of systems or violated policies. Her outside compensation also drew the heat of the IRS, which stepped in to examine her tax returns -- which she filed on the clock using an IC computer. It's been confirmed Snowden's privacy was violated, but I would imagine the IC feels he won't be filing a lawsuit anytime soon. It's difficult to believe this person could still be working for the government, but it's far from impossible she's still collecting a taxpayer-funded paycheck somewhere. The wheels of bureaucracy grind slower than the wheels of justice and this combines a little of both.
Mysterious vanishings come in a variety of flavors, or “species,” if you will. There are those people who just simply disappear into thin air, never to be seen again, more rarely those who spontaneously cease to exist in practically full view of others, those who leave perplexing clues in their wake, and sometimes those who actually seem to come back, often with decidedly strange or puzzling stories to tell. Yet there are others still, which merge facets of all of these into a twisted hybrid of the weird; those who vanished without a trace, wove a web of mystery around them, and then suddenly reappeared only to deepen the unexplained quality to it all. These are the people who walked off the face of the earth, walked back, but all was not what it seemed, creating a complicated tapestry of mystery, deceit, strange imposters, and just plain weirdness.
In April of 1922, little 2-year-old Pauline Picard was playing on her family’s farm in the rural area of Goas Al Ludu, near Chautelin, in the Brest district of Brittany, France, when she mysteriously and abruptly went missing without a trace. When authorities were notified and the farm and surrounding vicinity thoroughly searched, there was turned up no sign of the vanished girl or where she could have possibly gone, and more extensive searches branching further out equally got nowhere. Frustrated authorities were forced to conclude that she had been kidnapped, but there was no evidence at all as to what had become of her. Pauline had just seemingly blinked out of existence.
As the days went by with no trace of Pauline and no leads to go on, any hope of ever finding her slowly began to fade. Then, a few weeks after the baffling vanishing, a young girl matching Pauline’s description was found wandering about out on her own in the village of Cherbourg, located around 300 miles away. The mysterious mute girl was placed in the care of a local hospice and considering the uncanny physical resemblance and lack of any apparent parents, authorities became convinced that they had found the missing Pauline Picard. Police contacted the girl’s parents and showed her a picture of the girl they had found, causing Pauline’s mother to break down in tears and proclaim that it was indeed her lost daughter.
The area of Goas Al Ludu
The overjoyed parents made the trip out to Cherbourg in order to be reunited with their vanished daughter, but this meeting would prove to be rather odd indeed. Although the girl at the hospice looked exactly like Pauline, she seemed to not recognize her own parents in the slightest, and seemed somewhat uncomfortable and even scared in their presence. On top of this, she also allegedly had an entirely different personality, mannerisms, and remained mute throughout, not saying a word to anyone. Although it was all rather weird, everyone present attributed it to mental trauma over whatever had brought her all the way out there and what had happened since her disappearance, and she was at this point still assumed to be Pauline. Her parents would bring her home, upon which neighbors also recognized the girl as Pauline. Numerous newspapers at the time reported of this fortunate reunion and it was all considered a success story. However, the girl’s return would only set off a new series of bizarre events and mysteries.
The girl’s arrival at the home saw her stubborn inability to speak continue, and this was still at first thought to be merely because of shock and trauma, but she also still showed many differences in personality and continued to seem to have no memory at all of the house she was in or the people she was now amongst. It also almost seemed to the family as if she did not even understand the Breton dialect they were speaking to her. Just as Pauline’s parents were beginning to suspect something was truly off about their daughter, things began to rocket further into the realm of the strange.
At around this point, a local farmer named Yves Martin allegedly approached the Picards to ask if they really thought that the girl they had taken home was their daughter, before apparently lamenting “God help me, I am guilty,” and shambling off with a crazy look on his face. The not surprisingly unsettled parents contacted authorities and Martin would later be admitted to a mental asylum. Even more disturbing was a gruesome discovery made not long after, when a local came across the severely decomposed naked body of a little girl with a neatly folded pile of clothes next to her not far from the Picard farm. The corpse was in quite a dire state, missing its hands, feet, and head, which coupled with the advanced state of decomposition made it difficult to identify, and it would later be found that there were stab wounds present on the body as well, indicating that the girl had been brutally murdered.
Pauline Picard
Adding to the whole mystery was that the ravaged body was found in a place that had been searched before, and locals claimed that they had passed by there frequently without anyone ever noticing anything amiss, leading to the idea that the body had been placed there rather recently. Meanwhile, Pauline’s parents were baffled that the clothes folded next to the body seemed to be those of their daughter, in fact the ones she had been wearing the day she had gone missing, even though they thought that she was alive and well in their home, adding a further sheen of weirdness to everything. There was also purportedly found the skull of an unidentified man lying nearby the corpse, although it could not be ascertained who it belonged to or what connection it had to the grisly find of the girl’s body, if any.
Although the body could ultimately not be identified, with the location being so close to where Pauline had gone missing, the presence of her clothes at the site, and the strange behavior of the girl from Cherbourg, there was the rumor that the corpse was actually that of the missing girl, and that the one now in the Picard household was someone else. Indeed, even Pauline’s parents began to believe this, and the girl who had been staying with them was relocated to an orphanage, with uncertainty still hanging over who she really was.
The case leaves many questions in its wake, such as who was the girl with such a strong resemblance to Pauline found wandering about in Cherbourg and why had she been alone? Why had she never been reported missing? Was she really Pauline all along, perhaps suffering from some sort of amnesia, and if so how had she ended up in a town so far away? Who did the body of the girl that was found belong to and was it really that of Pauline or someone else? If she was someone else, then who was she and where did she come from? What connection did the skull have to the case and who did it belong to? What did Martin’s cryptic admission mean, if anything? These are questions which remain unanswered, and the girl who had reappeared to the family has never been identified one way or the other.
Another case which occurred even earlier than that of Pauline Picard is also weird in many respects. On August 23, 1912, a family named the Dunbars, consisting of Father Percy, mother Lessie, and two children Bobby and Alonzo, went on a fishing trip to Louisiana’s Swayze Lake, around 25 miles from their home in Opelousas, Louisiana. At some point 4-year-old Bobby Dunbar wandered away from his family, who were having lunch at their cabin, after which he proceeded to vanish off the face of the earth. Police immediately launched a large scale search for the missing boy, but all that was found was a set of footprints leading towards a railway, after which they stopped. It was largely assumed at the time that Bobby had been abducted, but it was never found just who had done it or where he had been taken.
Bobby Dunbar
Months later, in April of 1913, a man named William Walters was found in Mississippi with a boy matching the description of the missing Bobby Dunbar, and when apprehended he maintained that the name of the boy who he was with was actually Charles Bruce Anderson, and that he was on his way to meet the boy’s mother, Julia Anderson. Police were nevertheless suspicious, and when Bobby’s parents arrived to take a look at the boy they were immediately convinced it was their missing son, even though he seemed to have no idea who they were. Amazingly, the boy was released to them anyway, and the mother would later claim that as she bathed him she recognized his distinctive moles and a scar that he had had, further cementing the certainty that he was indeed her thought to be lost son.
In the meantime, Julia Anderson showed up to dispute this, insisting that the boy was her own son, but she was shown to demonstrate a profound lack of sense of what her own boy even looked like, unable to pick him out of a line-up of 5 other boys, and this was seen to be rather suspicious. Not to mention, Anderson had apparently had 3 children out of wedlock, which was quite the taboo in those days, making her look all the worse. Adding to the whole mess even more was that she had let her son go off with Walters for so long. The court eventually ruled that the boy was Bobby Dunbar and he was sent to live his parents, who were ecstatic that their lost son was home, while Walters was charged with kidnapping.
The whole thing became quite the sensational court case at the time, and many witnesses actually came out of the woodwork to support Walters. Many of these were citizens of the town of Poplarville, Mississippi, where Walters had spent a lot of time, and they claimed that the boy had been around since before Bobby Dunbar had even gone missing. Of course Anderson was there as well, still fiercely adamant that it was her own son. In the end, after a highly publicized courtroom drama unfolded, the court ruled that custody was to be given to the Dunbars, and Walter was convicted of kidnapping and slapped with a life sentence, which would be appealed 2 years later by the efforts of his lawyer but would not go to trial again. Walters would spend the rest of his life telling anyone who would listen of his innocence. Anderson would move to Poplarville and become a nurse there, all the while insisting that her son had been stolen away from her by the Dunbars.
The real Bobby Dunbar on the left, and the potential imposter on the right
The boy in question went on to be raised to adulthood as Bobby Dunbar, eventually getting married, having four kids of his own, and dying in 1966 having lived a full life. In later years it was claimed that throughout his life “Bobby Dunbar” had on occasion reached out to and met with the Anderson family, although it is uncertain if this is true or what his reasons might have been. Then, in 2004, the whole debate would be put to rest by a DNA test requested by Bobby’s own granddaughter, Margaret Dunbar Cutright, who was sure that he had been a true Dunbar and wanted to prove it once and for all. The DNA from Bobby Dunbar was compared to that of his cousin, and the results shocked everyone. The boy who they had raised as their own was shown to have had no blood relation to them at all.
This in some sense exonerated Anderson and Walters of any wrongdoing, but it still did not prove that it was Anderson’s own son, as she had long claimed. Indeed, the whole thing only deepened the mystery. Although we now know that the man who died in 1966, who everyone had thought to be Bobby Dunbar, was actually not him at all, it has left us with multiple questions, such as if he was not Bobby, then who was he? Was he Anderson’s son as she had claimed all along? Also, if he was not who he was thought to be, then what became of the real Bobby Dunbar, who vanished back in 1912? Did he die or was he kidnapped and still alive somewhere? How did the courts and authorities get everything so mixed up, and how had no one in Dunbar’s family ever caught on to the fact that he was not really their son? These are questions with answers we may never know.
Another creepy and rather unsettling case of vanishings and imposters is that of 13-year-old Nicholas Barclay, who on June 13, 1994, went missing after going off to play basketball with some friends in San Antonio, Texas, in the United States. Shortly before this vanishing, he had called his brother Jason from a payphone to ask him to come pick him up, but had hung up when his brother refused. That would be the last anyone heard from him, and despite intensive searches it seemed as if Nicholas Barclay had simply stepped off the face of the earth.
Nicholas Barclay
At the time it was first thought that he had simply run away from home. Nicholas was well known for being an aggressive and troubled boy, often accused of shoplifting, frequently violent towards his own mother, and always making general drama around town, which had landed him in trouble with the law on more than one occasion. Indeed, right before his disappearance he had been scheduled to appear before a juvenile court on charges that he had not only broken into a convenience store, but had physically menaced one of his teachers. One private investigator on the case named Charlie Parker sums up Nicholas’ bad behavior nicely, saying:
The teachers were having a great deal of trouble with him. He was erratic, he wasn’t going to school he was fighting back he had hit one of the teachers. The neighbors told us that they wouldn’t allow their children to play with him. He cursed his mother, he struck out at his mother.
He had also frequently run away from home before for short stints, and it was thought that he would drift back eventually, especially with no money and not having packed anything to bring with him, but this was not meant to be. Barclay would remain missing, and various ideas swirled at the time, including that he had run away for good or even been attacked and possibly killed by his own brother, but there was no evidence of any of this. Then, in October of 1997, a full 3 years after the mysterious vanishing, Barclay’s mother, Beverly Dollarhide, was contacted by authorities notifying her that her missing son had possibly been found in Linares, Spain, of all places, after a young man matching her son’s description had been found huddled in a phone booth. He had then managed to convince authorities that he was the missing Nicholas Barclay and they had been holding him ever since.
The boy was identified by his sister, Carol Gibson, also called Carey, who had flown out to Spain to see him, despite some glaring oddities. For instance, he now spoke with a thick French accent, which he attributed to the years he had spent around Europe. He was nevertheless moved back to his family, proceeding to apparently assimilate back into his old life, and although he acted quite differently from before and had missing memories, this was just blamed on his traumatic experience. Indeed, he had quite the dramatic story to tell regarding his long disappearance and reappearance in Spain, claiming that he had been kidnapped and forced into a child pornography ring where he had been abused and imprisoned before managing to escape. Some physical anomalies that he displayed since being found was that his eye and hair color were different than before, which he explained as chemicals that had been poured into his hair and eyes by his captors to torture him and render him unrecognizable.
Despite the physical and personality differences, he was accepted as the family’s lost son, and over the next few months Nicholas continued to assimilate and even seemed to be regaining some of his lost memories. However, there were those who sensed that something was not quite as it seemed, including Nicholas’ brother, Jason, and private investigator named Charlie Parker, who first heard of the case after being called in to check it out by the producer of a documentary program looking into the family. It would be Parker who would eventually start to peel back the layers to get to the whole creepy truth about what was going on when he looked at pictures of Nicholas Barclay and the boy found in Spain and realized that they did not have the same ears. This was seen as quite a profound discovery, as the ears are said to be a good indicator of a person’s true identity. Parker would say of this find:
I had not heard about this story. It had not been in the paper. This producer just told me they wanted me to check it out. Well, I went right on over to the house.It just so happened there was an old picture of Nicholas Barclay on the wall. I looked at the picture and saw blue eyes, but this boy’s eyes were brown. Then I went over and asked the cameraman to zoom in on his ears. You see, I remembered Scotland Yard had used that method to trace the man who killed Martin Luther King.
Parker became quite obsessed with the whole affair after this odd discovery, and he doggedly pursued the theory that the boy the family had taken in was not their son, although they steadfastly insisted it was. Eventually, Parker managed to get a court order out to take DNA and fingerprints tests on the boy after he admitted he was not Nicholas when confronted, and these tests turned out just about as he expected. This was indeed not Nicholas Barclay, and even more bizarre, it turned out to be a notorious serial impersonator named Frédéric Bourdin, who had a career of having taken the identities of over 500 children all over the world and was known by his criminal nickname “The Chameleon.” Bourdin had heard of the Barclay case, read up on it, and made his move, managing to trick everyone in the process.
The findings led to a 6 year prison stint for Bourdin on charges of passport fraud and perjury, but he would go back to his old ways soon after being released, including taking the identities of at least two more missing boys, before finally dropping out of the game to settle down and have kids of his own. Oddly, throughout it all the Barclay family chose to hang on to the idea that Bourdin had really been their son, even when faced with incontrovertible evidence that he wasn’t, going so far as to try and keep Bourdin with them even as he was tried for being a proven imposter. This has actually led to one of the most persistent theories as to what became of the real Nicholas Barclay; that he was killed by his brother Jason and his death covered up by the family.
Frédéric Bourdin
Nicholas and Jason had purportedly always been at odds with each other, not getting along and often arguing or fighting, and it has been speculated that one such fight had ended with Jason killing his brother in a rage. Since Jason was a known drug user and his family feared losing both of their sons, it is surmised that they had kept the death secret. When they had the amazing stroke of luck of some con man trying to impersonate their dead son, they had then jumped on it as a chance to weave a charade that Nicholas was still alive and further cover the death up. This would explain why they were so willing to wholeheartedly accept Bourdin’s story hook, line and sinker, despite all of the anomalies and inconsistencies, as well as why they would so strongly stick to the fraud even in the face of such overwhelming evidence against it. In fact, Bourdin himself has further fueled this theory by offering insights into the way the family had treated him during his life as Nicholas Barclay, saying:
They knew I was not Nicholas. They didn’t believe a word that I said. But they were good at not showing it. I remember in Spain, Carey did everything for me. When I didn’t know something, she told me. That’s the house we used to live in. That’s my daughter, your niece. Do you remember that? Remember that, remember that, remember that, over and over again. She wanted to put it in my head so I would never forget. She couldn’t say that I wasn’t her brother. Did she believe it or not? If you ask me, no. She did not believe for a second that I was her brother. She decided that I was going to be her brother. They killed him. Some of them did it, some of them knew about it, and some of them choose to ignore it. I wasn’t worried about Nicholas coming back no more.
Jason was considered a suspect in the disappearance of Nicholas for a time, but his death by cocaine overdose put an end to this line of questioning and obliterated that lead. The family always denied any of this, of course, saying that they had fallen for Bourdin’s story simply because they were so overjoyed by getting their son back that they had blindly accepted him as their own. What happened to Nicholas Barclay and why did his family take in a boy as their own despite the fact that he was 6 years older than their son and didn’t look or act like him? In the end there have been no further leads or evidence as to what became of Nicholas Barclay, and the true reasons behind his vanishing or what happened to him have remained an impenetrable mystery. The whole bizarre and riveting story has been made into a 2010 film called The Chameleon, by French director and screenwriter Jean-Paul Salomé, and a 2012 documentary on Bourdin’s involvement in the case titled The Imposter, directed by Bart Layton.
What are we to make of these cases? While it may seem in some of these accounts the imposter is clear, in others not so much. In all of them it remains unknown what happened to the real vanished people or what became of them. These cases serve to bring up just another facet of the bizarre world of unexplainable vanishings. These are the people who seemingly evaporated from existence and may or may not have come back from their mysterious journey, only to leave further enigmas in their wake. These accounts are sure to remain cloaked in mystery and creepiness.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Stages of the 2017 Tour de France

Overall, this is one of the most wide-open Tour de France routes we’ve seen in decades—here's what makes it so (and what we can expect)        ~ hehe I LOVE  ... the tour !!!  FRANCE u's lucky bas~ terds  ( maybe 1 day OUR tour will B right up there ? :)  )      Like the route this yr ....hope it is ex~cit~ing  & SAFE !

June 26, 2017
Stages of the 2017 Tour de France.
Photograph courtesy of PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images
When the route of the 2017 Tour de France was unveiled last October, it was immediately clear that the Tour’s organizers did their best to create a course that would encourage aggressive racing and risk-taking. They did this with fewer mountaintop finishes and shorter individual time trials, which means it will be harder for one rider or team to race conservatively by building a lead early, then sitting back and defending the yellow jersey through Paris.

One has to think that the organizers had Chris Froome and Team Sky in mind when designing such a race. Froome showed us last year that he’s not afraid to take a risk or two himself. But this year’s course means he might be forced to do that more often. It’s also a route that looks—on paper at least—to favor Romain Bardet, the Frenchman who finished second to Froome last year. A wiry climber who’s also one of the sport’s better descenders, Bardet should have no trouble with the Tour’s mountains and certainly sees several stages that suit him. And even though he’s a weaker time trialist than Froome, fewer time trial kilometers should help him limit his losses against the clock.

Overall, this is one of the most wide-open Tour de France routes we’ve seen in decades, one that will certainly generate exciting racing and a few surprises. Here’s a stage-by-stage preview of what to expect. 

Tour de France, 2017, Stage 1
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Stage 1 - Düsseldorf to Düsseldorf, 13km - July 1
For the third time in the last four years, the Grand Depart of the Tour takes place outside of France. This year’s race begins in Düsseldorf, Germany with a short individual time trial. The stage looks tailor-made for the home favorite, Tony Martin, a four-time world time trial champion who’s also won four time trials at the Tour throughout his career. He’ll face stiff competition from men like Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin, both of whom finished ahead of Martin when a similar stage opened the 2015 Tour in the Netherlands. And don’t be surprised if Chris Froome’s name appears near the top of the results. With only two short time trials in this year’s Tour, the Briton will use Stage 1 to try and gain an early advantage over his General Classification (GC) rivals.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 2
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Stage 2 - Düsseldorf to Liège, 202 km - July 2
Stage 2 spends most of the day in Germany, but bids Auf Wiedersehen! to the country on its long ride to Belgium. Liège sits in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes, a hilly region that traditionally suits climbers and attack-happy puncheurs. But Stage 2 has a flat finale, which means the Tour’s field sprinters will get their first chance to shine. Look for Germans Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel to try and fight-off their homesickness by winning the first road stage of the 2017 Tour.
RELATED: A Day in the Life of a Tour de France Rider
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 3
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Stage 3 - Verviers to Longwy, 202 km - July 3
Stage 3 starts in the Belgian town of Verviers, but finally brings the Tour into France. Expect the sprinters to take a backseat at the end of this 202km stage, as a short, steep climb to the finish at the Longwy Citadel should determine the day’s winner. Expect riders who excel in the Ardennes Classics to shine, men like Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde and Quick Step’s Dan Martin. GC contenders will need to pay attention as well: Froome finished second on a stage with a similar finish in 2015. The time bonus he received was enough to give him his first yellow jersey of that year’s Tour.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 4
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Stage 4 - Mondorf-les-Bains to Vittel, 203 km - July 4
After three straight 200+km days and with a summit finish on tap tomorrow, Stage 3 could be a day in which the peloton decides to take it easy.  Soon after the start in Luxembourg, expect a breakaway to gain a large gap before the sprinter’s teams—who could care less about the next day’s finish atop la Planche des Belles Filles—bring it all back together for a field sprint in Vittel, the home of the Tour’s bottled water sponsor. Wind could also play a role late in the race, so teams will need to be attentive in case crosswinds break the race into echelons.
RELATED: The Best Tour de France Road Bikes
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 5
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Stage 5 - Vittel to La Planche de Belles Filles, 160 km - July 5, 2017
Perhaps in a bid to shake things up a bit earlier than usual, the first major summit finish of the 2017 Tour comes only five days into the race. La Planche des Belles Filles first made its appearance in 2012, and it made an immediate impact by giving Froome’s first Tour stage victory and Bradley Wiggins his first yellow jersey. But with the climb coming so early this year, tactics will play a major role. Defending the yellow jersey takes a toll on a rider and his team. So with two-and-a-half weeks still to race, don’t be surprised if the team that wears yellow by the end of Stage 5 tries to hand it over to a non-contender in the days to come. By doing so they’ll save themselves for what’s still to come.
RELATED: 6 Can't-Miss Stages of the Tour de France
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 6
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Stage 6 - Vesoul to Troyes, 216 km - July 6, 2017
Stage 6’s gentler profile should give the peloton a bit of a rest after Stage 5’s showdown on La Planche des Belles Filles. A breakaway will certainly establish itself it early, but expect teams with sprinters to ensure that any escapees are caught before the stage finish in Troyes. With more mountains on tap for the weekend, this is the first of two chances for the sprinters to win another stage, so expect to see men like Kittel, Greipel, and Mark Cavendish giving it everything they have.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 7
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Stage 7 - Troyes to Nuits-Saint-Georges, 214 km - July 7, 2017
Another day for the sprinters, Stage 7 takes the Tour through the vineyards of Burgundy. Crosswinds could be an issue in the final hour of racing as the course changes direction five times before the finish in Nuits-Saint-Georges. If the winds breaks the race apart, a small, select group could battle for the stage win, making this a perfect stage for Peter Sagan.
RELATED: A History of Tour de France Nutrition
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 8
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Stage 8 - Dole to Station des Rousses, 187 km - July 8, 2017
The first of two hard stages in the mountainous Jura region of eastern France, Stage 8 doesn’t count as a true summit finish, but it might as well. The summit of the Category 1 Montée de la Combe de Laisia Les Molunes comes only 12km from the finish line at the Station des Rousses ski resort, and the roads the riders will take to get there are rolling. So any gaps by the top of the climb will be tough to close before the line. It’s a good day for a breakaway to go the distance, especially if it’s filled with riders who lost a lot of time during the Tour’s opening week. But this could also be a key GC battle in a Tour that favors risk-taking opportunists. 
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 9
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Stage 9 - Nantua to Chambéry, 181 km - July 9, 2017
With six categorized climbs including three Hors Categorie or “Beyond Category” summits, Stage 9 is a monster. In past Tours, a stage like this would have been the focal point of a weekend in the Pyrenees or Alps, but in the Tour’s modern era, anything goes. So the race stays in the Jura for this climb-fest, the first of which summits only 3.5km after the race begins in Nantua. Riders hoping to get into the day’s long breakaway will warm-up on trainers before the start, readying themselves to attack from the gun in what could easily be the most exciting stage of the Tour’s first week. With so much climbing on tap, this could be a day for someone to try and build an early lead in the Tour’s King of the Mountains competition. And if the Tour’s GC favorites reopen their fight, expect it to take place on the final climb of the day, the steep Mont du Chat, whose summit comes about 25km from the finish line.
Rest Day 1 - Dordogne to July 10, 2017
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 10
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Stage 10 Périgueux to Bergerac, 178 km - July 11, 2017
After a plane ride and a Rest Day, the Tour resumes in Périgueux with a stage whose profile favors the sprinters. That said, the last time a stage finished Bergerac (in 2014), a breakaway succeeded when Garmin’s Raimunas Navardauskas held-off a chasing bunch to take a thrilling stage victory. But that stage came late in the race and was much longer, giving Navardauskas a better chance to stay away from an weary peloton. This year’s stage is much shorter and comes right out of a Rest Day, so the sprinters’ teams will be fresh and ready to make the most of the opportunity.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 11
11/21 Photograph courtesy of Bicycling
Stage 11 - Eymet to Pau, 202 km - July 12, 2017
Stage 11 brings the Tour to the foot of the Pyrenees with a stage finishing in Pau, a town that’s hosted the Tour 68 times, third to only Paris and Bordeaux. Sprinters will certainly be licking their lips at the stage’s gentle profile, but they need to be careful as breakaways do succeed here. In 2012 France’s Pierrick Fedrigo won Stage 19 in downtown Pau by out-sprinting his breakaway companion, American Christian Vandevelde. And with a tough day in the mountains coming tomorrow, many teams might be content to just sit back and let a breakaway go the distance.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 12
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Stage 12 - Pau to Peyragudes, 214 km - July 13, 2017
Of the Tour’s two days in the Pyrenees this year, the first is definitely the toughest. A long stage that starts in Pau and doesn’t hit its first climb until about halfway through the day, it’s a stage that could see a breakaway of out-of-contention climbers fight for the stage win while the GC battle wages behind them. While “only” finishing atop a Category 2 summit, it’s what comes before that matters most: the Hors Categorie Port de Balès and the Category 1 Col de Peyresourde. That’s three summits in a span of only 45km. If men like Nairo Quintana, Alberto Contador, and Richie Porte want to test the strength of Froome and Team Sky, today’s the day to do it.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 13
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Stage 13 - Saint Girons to Foix, 100 km - July 14, 2017
Stage 13 is an interesting one that could produce some of the most exciting racing we’ve seen so far this Tour. First of all, it takes place on Bastille Day, France’s Independence Day, which this year falls on a Friday (so the route should be packed with vacationing fans). Secondly, it’s incredibly short (101km) which means fast, aggressive racing from start to finish. Lastly, it features three Category 1 climbs including the vicious Mur de Peguere, a climb whose final 3.5km are some of the steepest in this year’s race. It’s the perfect stage for someone like last-year’s runner-up Romain Bardet. The Frenchman will love both the climbs and the descents, and could provide an early start to the Bastille Day fireworks. 
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 14
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Stage 14 - Blagnac to Rodez, 181 km - July 15, 2017
The first half of Stage 14 is bone-flat. But after the intermediate sprint in Rabastens, the going gets much more difficult, as a relentless series of hills and valleys will keep the pack from getting into a good rhythm. This could make it hard for the peloton to catch any breakaways. If it does, expect a reduced bunch to fight for the win on the uphill finish in Rodez. It’s a perfect day for men like Peter Sagan, Michael Matthews, and Greg Van Avermaet, who took his first Tour stage victory here in 2015.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 15
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Stage 15 - Laissac-Sévérac l’Église to Le Puy-en-Velay, 189 km - July 16, 2017
Like many stages in the 2017 Tour de France, Stage 15 offers a profile that’s hard to characterize. It begins with a tough Category 1 climb up to the Aubrac Plateau, which should provide the perfect launchpad for a breakaway to escape. It then undulates across the top of the plateau before descending back down to the town of Prades. Then it’s back up again—this time to the summit of the Category 1 Col de Peyra Taillade. The Tour’s organizers put this stage on a Sunday for good reason: it will be aggressive, tough, and unpredictable. The riders will be thankful for Monday’s Rest Day.
Rest Day 2 - Le Puy-en-Velay - July 17, 2017 
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 16
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Stage 16 - Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans sur Isère, 165 km - July 18, 2017
Coming out of the Tour’s second Rest Day and looking ahead to the Alps, the sprinters’ teams will be eager to try and take advantage of this stage’s relatively flat run to the finish in Romans. But the day begins with 20km of climbing followed by another 50km of undulating roads. A breakaway might establish a lead that’s too big to close, which could leave men like Kittel, Greipel, and Cavendish waiting until Paris for their last chance to win a stage.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 17
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Stage 17 - Le Murre to Serre Chevalier, 183 km - July 19, 2017
Stage 17 may not be a summit finish, but with four categorized climbs on tap including the infamous Col du Galibier, it doesn’t have to be in order to shape the outcome of the Tour. This should turn out to be a typical Alpine slugfest with the Tour’s GC favorites doing everything they can to separate themselves on the Galibier. A 28km descent to the finish ends the stage but the Galibier is long enough and hard enough that riders might not rejoin the leaders if they’re dropped. It’s the third week, so we could see a group of out-of-contention climbers escape to fight for the stage and points in the King of the Mountains competition. Poland’s Rafal Majka has won three mountain stages and two polka dot jerseys in the last three Tours—he’s probably had this stage marked since the Tour route was announced last year.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 18
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Stage 18 - Briançon to Izoard, 178 km - July 20, 2017
The Tour’s last day in the Alps brings the race’s final summit finish—and it’s a doozy. The Izoard isn’t as long as the Galibier, but it features a steeper average gradient. As the riders climb higher the road gets steeper, and the landscape takes on an eerie, desert-like quality. If the race is close, expect to see deeper teams—like Movistar—try and send riders on the attack on the Category 1 Col de Vars, the penultimate climb of the day, in an attempt to put pressure on whichever team is leading the race and perhaps isolate the rider wearing the yellow jersey. On the Izoard it will be every man for himself as the Tour’s climbers try and capitalize on their last chance to gain time before the Tour’s final time trial. If Froome ends the day in yellow, it’s game over. As the strongest time trialist of the Tour’s GC favorites, if he avoids losing time here, the Tour will be his. 
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 19
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Stage 19 - Embrun to Salon de Provence, 220 km -  July 21, 2017
Imagine being one of the 150 or so riders left in the Tour. You’re two days away from finishing the race. You’ve survived five mountain ranges. Yesterday’s stage ended with one of the most fearsome climbs in the Alps. So what does the Tour give you? The longest stage of the race. And it’s not easy. The tired peloton won’t see a flat road until about Kilometer 200. By then it might be too late for the sprinters’ team to reel in the day’s long breakaway.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 20
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Stage 20 - Marseille (ITT), 23 km - July 22, 2017
The past few Tours have ended in the mountains, but this year’s concludes with a short individual time trial in downtown Marseille. Tour organizers hope that the the Tour’s unpredictable parcours will mean a few riders start this stage with a chance to win the Tour. Anyone who hopes to be successful will have to have at least a minute or two on Froome, the fastest of the Tour’s remaining GC contenders.
Tour de France, 2017, Stage 21
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Stage 21 - Montgeron to Paris Champs-Élysées, 105 km - July 23, 2017
The final stage of the 2017 Tour de France begins in Montgeron, the town that hosted the start of the first Tour de France way back in 1903. Back then, the stage covered an incredible 467km from the outskirts of Paris all the way down to Lyon. This year, the riders face only 105km, most of which take place on the traditional finishing circuit along the Champs-Élysées. The stage opens with champagne toasts and photo opportunities, but ends with the most intense field sprint of the Tour.