It’s over for another year.
The greatest annual sporting event, the Tour de France, is now done and dusted for another year.
As the descendant of convicts shipped to Australia on the First Fleet by the Brits, it pains me to see Bradley Wiggins crowned as the 2012 champion and Cadel Evans relegated to 8th position, some 16 minutes behind.
Having said that, all credit to Wiggins. He dominated the race perhaps more than any other cyclist in recent years (Armstrong included).
The (dull) race for yellow
Perhaps it’s just me.
Perhaps it is because the yellow jersey left France on the shoulders of a Brit. But I confess that the race for the yellow jersey was, in my view, the most dull in recent years.
Wiggins got hold of the jersey in the 7th stage and arrived in Paris still with it on his shoulders some 15 days later.
Thankfully there was some interesting characters and events to spice up this year’s race. Here is my pick ~
1/. That the winner was the 2nd best climber on his team
I’ll have to consult more experienced Tour-viewers than I.
But is this the 1st time the winner of the Tour de France was not the strongest climber in his team?
I was very impressed by Chris Froome’s performance this year.
He not only managed to stick with his ‘leader’ in the mountains, but showed signs of being able to drop Wiggins – more than once – in the mountain stages towards the end of the race.
2/. The thumb tacks
Every year there is some external factor (other than the weather) which influences the race.
The inevitable dog that strays onto the course or (last year) the media car which struck a group of riders.
But this year, the humble thumb tack become a key player when some @#$$%^& (insert your own word) spread them on the road near the summit of the climb in stage 14.
The climb was entertaining and engaging in its own right. No wider than a single lane road, the peloton picked up the pace ahead of the climb as they jockeyed for position (knowing that they would have difficulty passing once on the climb).
Then to see Cadel have to stop and wait for a tyre at the top of the climb as the other general classification contenders took off on the descent was nerve wracking. And then Cadel stopped a second time. And then a third time (which was combined with the comical footage of the BMC Team Manager slipping in the gutter beside the road).
Wiggins and other the leaders are to be applauded for neutralising the stage (except for Pierre Rolland who claimed he didn’t know what had happened and instead went on the attack…)
3/. Jens Voight – the Chuck Norris of cycling
The oldest man in the Tour, 40 year old Jens Voight, didn’t just sit at the back of the pack and take a relaxed tour of France. He was often spotted at the front of the pack, or in the break away, pushing the pace.
As if that wasn’t enough Jens’ tweets made for entertaining reading ~
Ok that officially a very hard day, gotta admit. More than once i yelled at my legs” shut up legs” believe on that on.
— Jens Voigt (@thejensie) July 11, 2012
I just realised today that beyond pain there is a whole new universe of more pain….
— Jens Voigt (@thejensie) July 16, 2012
Pretty sure the Queen is not following me on twitter but if she does- please give Bradley a knighthood. He was legendary this 3weeks.
— Jens Voigt (@thejensie) July 21, 2012
4/. The new wave – Peter Sagan
22 years old.
His first Tour de France.
3 stage wins.
Sagan with his engaging finish line celebrations brought life, colour and excitement to an otherwise dull tour.
Did you see his wheelie – without hands – up la Planche des belles filles?
And, if that isn’t enough, the dude had a bell on his bike.
5/. Wiggins and the ‘c’ word
I’m still not sure how I feel about this.
Part of me admires his utter disregard for the norms of society and what is considered acceptable language and behaviour (that’s just my inner black sheep coming out to play).
But part of me can’t help but feel that in some way, his comments – which you can read about here – in some way show disrespect to the event and the jersey.
Either way, it certainly gave the media to talk about.
I’d love to know what you think. Scroll down and type in the comments below, your answer to this question ~
What was your biggest highlight (unexpected or otherwise) in the Tour?
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