10. Like A Fine Wine.: Forget the "triumph" of winning the team classification, Garmin-Cervelo's real achievement in this year's Tour was being able to successfully helpTommy Danielson morph into a top 10 grand tour contender after all these years. All of the tough breaks he's experienced following his promising victory at the 2005 Tour de Georgia may finally be turning around - to say nothing of the undying belief that directeursportif Jonathan Vaughters has maintained on his behalf.
Crash caused by motorcycle Alberto Contador's teammate Nicki Sorensen collides with a motorcycle.
Crash caused by motorcycle
Alberto Contador's teammate Nicki Sorensen collides with a motorcycle.
8.Winning Yet Not Winning: One of the big question marks hovering over this year's event was the incredulity surrounding HTC not being able to secure a 2012 sponsor, while simultaneously winning stages at the biggest cycling event in the known galaxy. Rumors now have it that the panic might be over for the uber-successful, but nothing has been confirmed.
7. To TT Or Not To TT: That seemed to be the question considering the less than stellar showings at the Grenoble TT by specialists like Fabian Cancellara and Levi Leipheimer. Granted Cancellara had probably already given his all on behalf of the Schlecks, while Levi's motivation had to be somewhat sapped considering his team's run of bad luck. And dark horse fave Robert Gesink apparently didn't learn as much as he told the newspapers that he did when he ran the same course during the Criterium du Dauphine.
6.The Fight For White: The French had more than Thomas Voeckler's epic ride to crow about at this year's Tour. What could be better than having a fellow countryman in yellow? A Frenchman taking a stage victory at the top of Alped'Huez. Heck, his name was even Pierre. And with Pierre Rolland putting in a respectable time trial in Grenoble and receiving final honors in the white jersey competition for best young rider, tongues are already beginning to wag with respect to his chances at a future podium placing.
5. Spotted Carrot: Salvaging the pride of the Spanish was none other than Samuel Sanchez, who was one of seven suitors for the King of the Mountains Jerseyduring this year's Tour. The 2008 gold medalist did the business on Luz-Ardiden and took second on the Plateau de Beille. By the time he crossed the finish atop the Alped'Huez he had the polka dot jersey competition sewn up. 5.Sky's The Limit?:Having finally departed Paris with his garment of choice, what can't be said about Mark Cavendish's sprinting prowess at this point that hasn't been said a million times over? This year's Green Jersey winner can still make it look easy as he did on the Champs-Elysees, so perhaps the only lingering question now is how Cav will fare if he indeed does bid the boys who brought him to the line again and again farewell and head to the bluer skies of..er Team Sky for 2012.
4. Crash Boom Bam!: Apart from the travesty that was the mob hit on Juan Antonio Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland by the members of French TV, crashes in this year's tour played such a factor that probably should have warranted their own jersey classification. If that were the case Team Radioshack might warrant that award, having lost virtually all of the depth it brought to this year's Tour due to spills. Bradley Wiggins, Dave Zabriskie, and the list goes on. Put it down to nerves, careless spectators or the difficulty of the course, but top shelf bike racing comes with risks, and this year's race proved that out in spades.
3.Three Strikes.You're Out: As the @Totalcyclist tweeted out following the conclusion of theTour, the Grenoble TT was only the final "dagger" in Andy Schleck's Tour de France dreams this year. The challenges he continues to face as a descender, and as an inexperienced team leader on the road made up the deadly triad that cost him the victory that was the sole focus of his season. The good news is that he'll be back to try again next year, hopefully more ready to play to his strength and destroy his rivals in the mountains "every" chance he gets.
2. Voeckler: If there was ever a more emblematic defense of the maillot jaune drop us a line, because otherwise Thomas Voeckler may own that distinction for quite some time. Every time a seasoned Tour commentator intoned the words "Well, Voeckler will surely surrender the jersey tomorrow." the Cycling Godsresponded by giving the Frenchman just the amount oomph he needed to hang on to yellow. Some say it had to do with an overall cleaner race, but more importantly it had to do with heart of the Europcar rider. If the race had a VIP, he was it.
Evans: "A dream come true" Cadel Evans revels in his 2011 Tour de France victory.
Evans: "A dream come true"
Cadel Evans revels in his 2011 Tour de France victory.