The 100th running of the Tour de France concluded today in the twilight on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
I can’t really vouch for any of the riders, but this has been the cleanest Tour to date (last year I listed my Top 5 Non-Doping Moments), with the exception that the French press is always looking for doping in any foreign rider who’s winning.
There were quite a few highlights, many more than 10, none-the-less here are my Top 10 moments from the 2013 Tour de France, in no particular order.Cavendish vs. Veelers: The Crash
During the final sprint of Stage 10, Tom Veelers’ a leadout man for Marcel Kittel, was brought down by a clash of shoulders with Mark Cavendish. After review, race referees exonerated Cavendish, but from the moment it happened to the moment of exoneration and since, social media has seen it very differently.
The French win on Double d’Huez
Stage 18 featured six mountains including climbing the famous Alpe d’Huez twice and it was conquered by Frenchman, Christophe Riblon. There wasn’t much for the French to cheer on in their race, but having one of their own conquer the double d’Huez had them in a French Frenzy!
During the first two weeks of the tour Peter Sagan, went out on breaks to grab up intermediate sprint points and he was near the top for a lot of the sprint finishes, which all boiled down to a Jersey that he clinched on points by stage 16.
Quintana has arrived and he’s styling in Polka Dots and White
Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is a name to watch out for in the 101st running of the Tour de France. Winning the penultimate stage in this year’s tour cemented his white jersey as the best young rider and vaulted him into polka dots as King of the Mountains just 11 points ahead of overall winner Chris Froome
In the Pyrenees, Froome topped the highest mountain in the tour first, in the Alps he had his second mountain top finish and topped all it off with a win in the mountainous time trial. Three stage wins for the strongest rider in the field. This gives Team Sky back to back Yellow Jersey winners, with Froome winning after taking over the team leader position, from last year’s winner Bradley Wiggins.
The Fall of Alberto Contador
His attacks in the mountain passes were thwarted and over the last four days in the Pyrenees he fell back and looked mortal. He seemed to enjoy the tour but he wasn’t up to the task and fell off the podium on the last day. Is this the end for him? We’ll find out next year.
Stage 16 was a picnic as between it and stage 21 on the Champs-Élysées were some of the toughest mountain stages we’ve seen back to back to back to back in the Tour de France ever.
The race to be the King of the Mountains was the most highly contested
Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle, Pierre Rolland, Blel Kadri, Christopher Froome, and Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas all wore the Polka Dots at some point. It wasn’t until the penultimate day that Quintana took it for himself for good. It changed hands between these five riders many times. It was quite the story line to follow.
10 times around and around. This time around the Arc de Triomphe instead of just in front of it as in years past. Kittel holds of Cavendish and Greipel in a very close finish. This finish was followed by the parade of Team Sky and their leader and Tour winner Chris Froome. Will we finish in the setting sun again? I don’t know, but it was beautiful.
Celebrating 100 Tours along the way
As a television spectator, the Tour organizers put together quite the press package reliving some of the most memorable moments in the history of the tour for commentator exposition. It seems they took the time to put them together to celebrate the tour in a very nice way. They also invited over 300 former Tour finishers to partake in interviews and commentary along the way.
That’s it until next year for the 101st running of the Tour de France.