Picking up from the last post on the Tour lows, here are my top 5 Highlights of this years Tour de France.
#5 Team Sky’s clinical display
Dave Brailsford got a lot of giggles when he announced that Team Sky wanted to win the Tour de France with a British rider within 5 years of the launch. Look who is laughing now. It took them 3 years. As much as this years parcours suited them, you still have to win the race on the road and they smashed their opposition. This really was a clinical display. I don’t know how often I have heard the term marginal gains in the past 3 weeks. All those small gains have combined to make a formidable team. Where BMC, the other “Super Team” have spent up big as well, it really looks like a case of a Team of Champions (BMC) vs a Champion Team (Team Sky). As much as I have been critical of this years race as a spectacle, the sheer dominance of team Sky has been something to respect. Kudos to them.
#4 Aussie Team in the TdF.
As an Australian cycling fan, it has been a hell of a site to see an Aussie team at the Tour de France. Even 5 years ago I wouldn’t have thought it possible. What Gerry Ryan and Matthew White have achieved is fantastic. They didn’t quite acheive their dream of the green jersey with Matthew Goss, but they were right up there, and that is a hell of an effort for their first Tour de France. Lets hope Gossy can snag a win on the Champs-Élysées. Well done to all the riders involved.
#3 The Youngsters
Check out this list of names. TeJay Van Garderen, Peter Sagan, Thibaut Pinot, Rein Taaramae and Edvald Boasson Hagen. All of them under 25 years old. There are exciting times ahead for cycling when you have the calibre of riders like that lot and they are still to peak. Sagan lit up the first week winning stages people weren’t really expecting him to win. TeJay caught his team mate and reigning champion in last nights ITT, Cadel Evans. More on Pinot shortly.
#2 Cav storming home Stage 18
I can’t put into words this sprint from Cav. This was my #2 highlight of the 2012 Tour de France, it really is that good. Watch this video.
#1 FDJ teamcar in win
This seemed all very surreal when I watched the highlights the morning after it happened. Out front on the bike was a 22 year old, Thibaut Pinot, about to take a stage win for FDJ and for France. He looked composed and calm, crossing the line with arms raised. How could he be so composed. Not more than a few minutes earlier, a 53 year old marc Madiot, directeur sportif of FDJ-BigMat, was hanging out of the car screaming “allez allez allez!!!” at the top of his voice and all but French (see what I did there?) kissing another passenger in the back of the team car. It truly was a magic moment. A moment when you really see how much a stage wins to one of the smaller teams. Even when I watch it now I still get a lump in the throat. Chapeau Marc, chapeau Thibaut. Truly a great moment and my favourite in this years Tour de France.
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As usual, I would love to hear what people think. Do you have a favourite highlight or lowlight. Let me know in the comments below. And thanks for taking the time to read this blog.