2012 Tour De France
2012 Tour De France was far from exciting. I got to follow the tour closely. Before the start, I did not have any particular interest in any cyclist. Alberto Contador was out on a doping ban for two years. Andy Schleck was not competing on injury. The only cyclists I would recognize were Fabian Cancellara, Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck and Alexander Vinokurov.
The first 7 days were predominantly flat. These stages saw Fabian Cancellara in yellow jersey. However, the noteworthy aspect was Peter Sagan. This young rider won Stage 1 (second day), Stage 3, and Stage 6. He finished at the same time as the winner in Stage 2 and Stage 4. Before the start of the race, Peter Sagan had made it clear that his goal was to win the green jersey and win a stage or two. He had won more stages than he had wished for. After winning Stage 3, he performed a running animation. He later said it was mimic of Forrest Gump played by Tom Hanks.
The first 7 days the star was clearly Peter Sagan. Even though Fabian Cancellara held the yellow jersey. An no doubt, I had become a fan of his. His performance in 2012 is phenomenal.
Now the mountain stages started in Alps. And the rankings would change. Climbers would come to the fore than riders. In Stage 7, Fabian Cancellara lost almost 2 minutes. And yellow jersey passed to Bradley Wiggins. He would retain it till the end. Stage 9 was time trial. Bradley Wiggins extended his lead over Fabian Cancellara by 57 seconds. Fabian Cancellara withdrew from the Tour after Stage 11 to support his wife to deliver their second child. In Stage 12, the peloton was led by Mathew Goss and Peter Sagan. In the final sprint, Goss obstructed Sagan. He was penalized 30 points and 30 seconds. Stage 13 was a flat stage. Peter Sagan finished it at the same time as winner Andre Greipel.
Stage 14 entered the Pyrenees mountains. 30 riders got their tires punctured as a result of nails thrown on the road. Cadel Evans got his his tire punctured thrice! Stage 18 was won by Mark Cavendish. This was his 22nd Tour De France stage win. Equaling the record with Lance Armstrong. Peter Sagan finished at the same time. Wiggins extended his lead in time trial in Stage 19. Stage 20 was the last stage of the race. It was won by Mark Cavendish. Peter Sagan finished at the same time. Bradley Wiggins finally won the Tour.
The highlights of the Tour:
Peter Sagan - the emerging star on the flats
Bradley Wiggins - showed his leadership throughout the race
I will be following both of them in the days to come.