I know everyone has one of these lists and I love lists anyway, so here’s my top 5 moments from this year’s Tour.
5. Orica GreenEdge winning their first stage and wearing yellow. The pressure on this team to produce something could be felt as far away as here in Australia. The boys just had to get some runs up on the board after their fairytale debut season last year and their endless near misses last year. Yes, it is still disappointing that Goss has not produced what so many of us are hoping for, but Gerrans’s victory over Sagan was magnificent and to see him and Impey in yellow was fantastic for Aussie and South African fans.
4. Stuey O’Grady pacing Cadel Evans on stage 19. They may be compatriots but they are not on the same team and yet, here is Stuart O’Grady, one of our most successful cyclists, telling Evans to ‘Get on my wheel and I’ll help you up the climb’. O’Grady is often talked about as being the captain of the OGE team, but on Friday night, he proved himself to be the captain of the Australians in the race.
3. Andy Schleck riding until the end and staying with the peloton on the flatter stages. Yes, he couldn’t match it with them on the mountains, but that does not equate to failure for the Luxemberger. His final time trial was also surely a success for him. He’s not terribly good at the ITT but to put in such a respectable time must be very encouraging for him. Importantly, he’s finished the race and he’s rode reasonably well over the three weeks. It was probably too much to expect him the stay with the main contenders over the big mountains but I think we can say, we’re beginning to see flashes of the Andy of old.
2. Nairo Quintana, the young Columbian climbing superstar in the making was a fantastic participant in this year’s race. He wasn’t afraid of the maillot jaune, attacking several times throughout the race. Quintana is such a naturally talented climber that he is sure to light up further Grand Tours. He even nearly smiled as he summited first on stage 20 at Semnoz. What a great Tour debut for the young man riding for Movistar.
1. Marcel Kittel and his magnificent quiff! I don’t know what I find more impressive, the German’s exciting sprints or his perfectly coiffed quiff. Seriously, though, his four stage wins were highly impressive, especially as we were robbed of his talents last year when the young German had to withdraw from the Tour due to illness. Kittel also has the honour of ending Cavendish’s run on the Champs Elysee, preventing the Manx Missile from making it five in a row. The powerful German is without a doubt now amongst the world’s top sprinters and we all have to be excited about that.