Awesome / Tour de France

  • Winning the race is a moment of awesome for practically any rider.
  • Eddy Merckx's win in 1969. He won not only the yellow jersey for the general classification, but also the points classification, the mountains classification, and the combination classificationnote . His margin of victory in the GC? 17 minutes, 54 seconds. And this was his first Tour de France. (He would go on to win four more.)
  • Johnny Hoogerland was crashed into a barbed wire fence at about 40 km/h, and had to get 33 stitches in his legs. He still managed to complete the 2011 edition of the race. Badass. Video here.
  • Thomas Voeckler's way of riding in the 2011 edition.
  • Cavendish and Renshaw's victory on Champs Elysees in 2009. Renshaw was Cavendish' lead-out man, where he managed to finish second after the Brit. Champs Elysees is seen as the biggest sprinter stage the entire year. Video here, go to 3:40 for said sprint.
  • Filippo Simeoni's way of defying Armstrong's dominance in the peloton in 2004. Almost nothing good came of it, as he didn't quite have this skill to deal with the strong US Postal team. The one good thing was that Simeoni gave a big middle finger to a man who was a bit of a tyrant in the pack back in his days.
    • Michael Rasmussen defied Armstrong in 2005, but he did have the skill to back it up.
  • Pantani's record time at Alpe d'Huez, 37 minutes and 35 seconds, set in 1997 after a full stage. What's so awesome about that, aside for holding the record? In 2004, the climb up Alpe d'Huez was a time trial, which Armstrong won. Armstrong didn't beat Pantani's record though, being only one second slower.
  • The entire race in 2009 was one huge CMoA for Alberto Contador. He started out having a shared captaincy of his team with Armstrong, ending up obliterating all competition and showing Armstrong who was the boss.
  • Andy Schleck's stage victory at Galibier, attacking with 60 km to go and winning the stage by 2 minutes.
    • The actual plan was to have Andy attack, wear down the other GC-competitors trying to catch up, then have his brother and teammate Fränk counterattack and win this way. Plan didn't work out, but the Schleck brothers and their Leopard-Trek team were probably happy either way (Fränk finished second on that stage).
  • Stage 9 of the 2013 edition became a crowning stage of awesome. Attacks from the beginning by riders capable of doing stuff in the general classification, in order to wear down the Sky team, in a highly paced and exciting stage, where the plan somewhat succeeded (Froome got isolated, but stayed with the big guns). Stages like this is why cycling fans love the sport.
  • 2014 became this for French cycling. A second and a third place on the podium, as well as a sixth place. Two of said riders were in contention for the white jersey as well, meaning that they have plenty of time to improve.
    • An awesome race for the winner, too; Vincenzo Nibali won the race with a time gap over seven and a half minutes—the largest such gap since 1997—and held the yellow jersey for all but two stages. Even if Froome and Contador had been at their full capacity from beginning to end (they had both been forced to withdraw by the end of stage 10 due to injury), Nibali would have been a difficult rider for them to catch. Speaking of runaway wins, Peter Sagan won the green jersey by 149 points despite never winning a stage.
  • Any time a rider refuses to wear the yellow jersey. In many cases it also counts as heartwarming, since it's generally out of respect for the rider who lost it.
    • In 1950, the Italian teams, including race leader Fiorenzo Magni, pulled out of the Tour after stage 11 because they felt threatened by the spectators (they had punched and kicked Magni as he got up from a fall caused by them pressing in). The new leader, Ferdi Kubler, elected not to wear the yellow out of respect. Kubler went on to win the race that year.
    • Eddy Merckx refused to wear the yellow jersey on stage 15 in 1971, after his rival Luis Ocaña crashed on the previous stage, out of respect for his rival. He even considered quitting the race, not wanting to win from Ocaña's bad luck. Merckx went on to win the race.
    • In 1980, Bernard Hinault left the race with a knee injury after stage 12. On the following stage, Joop Zoetemelk did not want to wear the yellow jersey out of respect and tradition. Zoetemelk, previously known for having finished second five times, went on to win the race.
    • Greg LeMond refused to wear the yellow jersey on stage 6 of the 1991 edition, where Rolf Sørensen had crashed near the finish line and broken his clavicle, which forced him out after completing his stage. LeMond refused to wear the leaders jersey because he hadn't earned it. Indurain won that year; LeMond finished seventh.
    • In 2005, Lance Armstrong initially refused taking the yellow jersey from compatriot, and former team mate, David Zabriskie after the team time trial, however race organizers forced him to wear it.
    • In 2007, Alberto Contador got the race lead after a harsh Kick the Son of a Bitch move against Michael Rasmussen by ASO and UCI. Some sources say that ASO didn't want the yellow jersey to be worn on stage 17, other sources say that Alberto Contador did not want to wear it. It's a known fact that ASO and UCI did not like Rasmussen, while Contador is usually a friendly and respectful person.
    • In an echo of the 1991 incident, in 2015 Tony Martin crashed in the last 3 kilometers of stage 6, breaking his clavicle, but getting up and finishing the stage. He withdrew afterward, leaving Chris Froome ahead in the general classification. Froome declined to wear the yellow jersey for stage 7, wishing Tony Martin a good recovery. Froome eventually went on to win.

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