Tour de France 2013: Bad crashes and cookery courses - on the road with the Tour’s riders

Alasdair Fotheringham recalls the early bus stop, Thomas’ remarkable bravery and the power play that put Froome in yellow

Best mountain attack

It has to be Chris Froome on France’s toughest climb, the Mont Ventoux. Remaining seated, he dropped cycling’s finest and effectively won the Tour.

Cheesiest TV introduction

French TV’s pre-Tour coverage featured cookery classes on how to make quiches, live from the start line. Makes you wonder what they have for the Six Nations – baking baguettes?

Gutsiest rider

Earned hands down by Sky’s Geraint Thomas for riding through the Tour with a cracked pelvis. “My mum wants me to stop,” he admitted, but the Cardiff rider made it to Paris.

Unluckiest Brit

David Millar came within a whisker of taking another yellow jersey 13 years after he first wore yellow, but just missed out.

Most famous team bus

Orica-GreenEdge unintentionally got their bus stuck under the stage one finishing canopy. Not the ideal start for the Australian team, or the centenary Tour.

Classiest stage win

Joint award. Dan Martin after his gutsy attack 30km from the finish in the Pyrenees on stage eight and Mark Cavendish after Saxo-Tinkoff and Cav’s Omega Pharma-QuickStep squad ripped the race apart on stage 13.

Nastiest crash

France’s best overall hope, Jean-Christophe Péraud, broke his left collarbone in a training crash on the course of the stage 17 time trial in the morning. He decided to race on nonetheless, and then slammed into the tarmac at 80kmh with the same shoulder taking all the impact.

Best stopover

A hotel perched in Asco, a village at the top of a 30km climb through a valley gorge in one of the remotest corners of Corsica. The usual overnight Tour stopover in a grubby chain hotel in an anonymous industrial estate could, for once, be forgotten.

Most surreal spectators

Somewhere deep in Corsica’s mountain ranges, 30 or so bright pink fluffy life-size model turtles, complete with price labels, gazed at the TV cameras in a long line from the roadside. Strange beyond words.

Best freebie

In recession-struck France, gone are the days of towns giving us Tour journos bottles of brandy, tennis balls or flower-shaped vibrators all the better to remember them by. A bright yellow plastic belt from the Alpe d’Huez ski station, this year’s most generous offering, just doesn’t hit anybody’s spot – alcoholic, sporting or the more personal type – in the same way.

And the bonus prize goes to...

The 2013 Tour route. Challenging, well-balanced, neither overly mountainous nor too favourable for the time triallists. More of the same in 2014, please.

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