The 100th Tour de France

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013 by Travis Cody in

They started on Corsica with three free-for-all days when the stage winner also won a day in the yellow jersey.  Sprinters were in control of stage wins in the first week until the peloton hit the Pyranees.  Then as they say, the heads of state took control of the race as the general classification riders charged up mountain finishes.

It was quite a spirited race, but when Chris Froome of Team Sky won Stage 8 on Ax 3 Domaines, he never looked back.  He broke the entire peloton on Mont Ventoux, becoming only the second man to win a stage in yellow on that mountain, and established a lead that would waver by seconds but never truly be challenged through the final stages in the Alps.  He won the Tour by more than five minutes and was simply the strongest, most all around rider of the peloton.  Froome was born and partially raised in Kenya but races under a British license since his father is from England.  Froome is the second British rider in a row to win the Tour de France, following last year's champion and teammate Bradley Wiggins.  And Froome finished runner up to Wiggins last year after many observers thought he was the stronger man.  This time around, as the clear favorite on Team Sky, he got the chance to act on it.

It was fitting and proper that a French rider, Christophe Riblon of Team Ag2r La Mondiale won the historic double climb of one of the most famous mountains in Tour history, L'Alpe d'Huez.  One time up the 21 switch backs is always epic, but the riders had to scream down a dangerous descent of the Col de Sarenne, on a road deemed by many of the riders to be too dangerous, then climb right back up those same 21 switch backs.  It was a memorable day for Riblon, considering he misjudged a corner on that descent and rode into a bog just off the road.  He didn't go down, kept himself calm, and rode back into the race and the eventual stage win, the first and only for a French rider in the 2013 Tour.  He was also named the most combative rider of the entire Tour.

Youth was well served in 2013.  Columbian Nairo Quintana won the best young rider competition by finishing 2nd overall to Froome in his first Tour experience.  He is 23 years old, rides for Team Movistar, and also took home the polka dot jersey as king of the mountains.  He won the penultimate stage on Mt Semnoz to take the points lead in the climbing competition.  In his first Tour, he attacked the mountains early and often before he learned that three weeks is a long time...I'm sure he'll be a bit more discerning about when he jumps the field in the years to come.  Barring injury and assuming improvement in his time trial ability, Quintana is a rider who can certainly challenge for yellow in the future.  After all, he only missed it by five and half minutes this year.  Andrew Talansky of the US (2nd as best young rider and 10th overall), Michael Kwiatkowski of Poland (3rd as best young rider and 11th overall), and Roman Bardet of France (4th as best young rider and 15th overall) are all under 25 and road strong Tours in supporting roles for Garmin-Sharp, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, and Ag2r La Mondiale respectively.

Marcel Kittel announced his presence for Argo Shimano by winning the first stage in a strong sprint.  He won 3 more stages, including the final sprint on the Champs Elysees to close out the Tour, unseating Mark Cavendish who had won the previous four final stages.  Cavendish did win 2 stages for Omega Pharma-Quickstep and finished second in the green jersey competition.  But the most consistent man in the points race for sprinters was Peter Sagan of Cannondale.  He is more versatile than his competition, able to climb minor hills, slip into break aways, and compile sprint points out on the course during each stage.  Then he finishes sprint stages in the top three to hold his points lead.  He won the green jersey by a grand margin, repeating his victory from 2012.  Sagan is 23 years old, while Kittel is 25 and Cavendish is 28.

I watched every stage of the tour and enjoyed it very much this year.  There are so many wonderful young riders to follow and enjoy.  They ride in the shadow of the doping generation that came before them, and they have to answer all of those questions over and over again.  I want them all to be clean, truthful, hard working competitors.  Until controls prove them not to be, they get that benefit of the doubt from me.

Well done to all the riders who finished the 100th edition of the Tour de France.


  1. Akelamalu says:

    I don't follow the race but I do know, being British, that Chris Froome won. :)

  1. I'm sure I would enjoy it if I got myself involved in it. I've just never really watched any sport other than football.

  1. I have never been a fan of this race... just does nothing for me...but I have other friends who wait for it each year...

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dang! I thought PTO meant you would take a break from posting. I came for a peek and I see I am behind on your blog. Hope your are getting some chill time. GGG