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He slowly churns to earn prize

Times Staff Writer

Was Nick Nuyens, proud Belgian and professional cyclist since 2003, up to the task Monday at the Tour de France?

Certainly, the pressure was on as the peloton passed through Diksmuide, Belgium, about 60 miles from the stage’s end. Here, last would be first.

Local officials decided to whip up attention by giving the last Belgian at that point 250 kilograms (about 550 pounds) of butter. Nuyens, of the Cofidis team, was the last Belgian through, and therefore, the winner.

His accomplishment brought to mind Linda Richman, the character once played by Mike Myers on “Saturday Night Live’s” Coffee Talk skit.

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Nuyens rode “Like Buttah.”

Trivia time

What was the age of the oldest winner of the Tour de France?

Having a cow

Euros sure are into all things dairy.

When Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon crown -- all those years ago, in 2003 -- his giddy Swiss countrymen dug deep and gave him a cow, Juliette.

She didn’t stay around long enough for his fifth Wimbledon title, having been sent to the other side for not producing enough milk, according to various media reports.

No one really wanted to hear about Juliette’s demise though. It has to do with the way the public sometimes deals with steroids in baseball or other unpleasant personal issues in the news.

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“Pretend it never happened. And why not? People don’t want to know how the cow was slaughtered, they just want to eat a good steak,” wrote Norman Chad of the Washington Post last year. “Most sports fans believe ignorance is bliss, as long as they get a good game for the price of a ticket.”

Calling all ducks

And in the category having absolutely nothing to do with hockey and the Stanley Cup ... this news release hit, via e-mail, on Tuesday afternoon, promoting the state’s annual duck-calling contest Aug. 4 in Modesto: “Have you ever wanted to represent your hometown by blowing your favorite duck call? Now’s the time to compete. You must be a California state resident for more then six months to compete. Winner qualifies to compete in the world duck-calling contest in Arkansas.”

Hamilton Tigers capers

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News: Hamilton quarterback Timmy Chang’s football helmet disappeared after a home-opening Canadian Football League loss to Toronto on Saturday night.

Arrested: One fan with suspect judgment who allegedly attempted to leave the stadium with Chang’s helmet.

Reaction: Dude, ever heard of Ebay? Chang probably never had these sorts of problems when he played in college at Hawaii.

Trivia answer

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Thirty-six. Firmin Lambot won it in 1922.

That was his second victory. His first came in 1919.

And the man who became the first rider to wear the yellow jersey, indicative of the race leader, was born in Florennes, Belgium. Wonder if he liked butter?

And finally

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Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Jelena Jankovic, finding a way to inspire her partner Jamie Murray in their final: “I was saying, ‘Hit a good return, you’re going to get many kisses.’ ”

--

lisa.dillman@latimes.com


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