Favorite Moments of the Tour De France 2012

Favorite Moments of the Tour De France 2012

I’ve been fascinated by the Tour De France this year, my first year of following the event. The past 3 weeks have been an amazing display of power, but of also other little nifty things that has me hooked. 
I’ve tried to compile some pictures/moments of my favorite memories of the event.
The first day I watched the Tour (Stage 3), without an understanding of the rules, the etiquettes, the teams, the sprinters, the climbers, the team leaders, etc etc; I saw Fabian Cancellara get the Yellow Jersey. Well … I will admit that his looks got me hooked even before I finished watching the stage.
Andre Greipel winning the stage. But see his teammate behind celebrating – *that* is why I love this picture/moment. And this was the moment I wondered why someone else who didn’t win was celebrating the person who won!

I don’t really “like” this photo, but it is a sample of how bad the crashes this Tour were.
Wiggins congratulating Nibali after a hard stage ride. He didn’t have to do it, and it seemed to take Nibali by surprise.

Thibot Pinot (youngest in the Tour at 22) won stage 8, but it was the wild and excited antics of his team manager aptly named Madiock that got everybody talking.

Cadel Evans (R), the 2011 TDF Champ thanking George Hincapie after Hincapie saw him through a rather rough day in the Pyrenees. A very heartfelt gesture, IMO. 
There have been plenty of stage winners, but none taking it all in as serenely as Voeckler, who rode into down from the mountains and savored every moment of his triumph instead of rolling in across the finish blindly. And .. he rode “old style” – no radio, no bike computer, no HR monitor. Just rode his heart out.

Stage 17 that had everyone’s partners in a #wagwar! There needs to be a whole new post about this, but since experts have written all about it, I’ll just sit back and enjoy the drama.

Does this picture describe how these two felt at this exact moment? 
The hilarious thing about this tweet – David Millar was riding the Tour (won a stage), and having fun over the catfight between Wiggins’ wife & Froome’s Partner with Cavendish’s partner jumping in.
Failed drug tests – Innocent until proven guilty; unless you are a cyclist. (Frank Schleck)
I couldn’t find any pictures of this on the net, and I need to figure out how to freeze  my TV frame long enough to take a picture. Stage 17 – Nibali joined the breakaways but sportingly shook hands with Valverde (stage winner) and dropped back; else the sky team would’ve chased down breakaways.
Cavendish had an insane sprint victory in Stage 18, and the joy with which his teammates hugged him was a joy to see; especially since Wiggins had helped set up the sprint victory.
I’m usually all for the underdog, but this moment of Teejay Van Garderen passing (after starting 3min late) 2011 champion and Team Leader Cadel Evans was surreal. 
This has me cracking up every single time. Wiggins and Froome after TT. Contrary to reports that they dont like each other, looks like they had us all deceived (just kidding) :))

George Hincapie led the Peloton out onto Champs. This was his 16th TDF and last. Usually the winning team does it, but they got Hincapie to, a marvelous gesture.
Missing one injured teammate, but they all made a great team. And have taught me so much about the team sport of cycling. 
And of course this – the winners podium. 
I don’t know what it is about the Tour that has got me hooked so much. To spend 3 hrs/day for 3 weeks watching it on TV and then to spend more hours reading up on it. I’m already having withdrawals! 
For the followers of the Tour – What are your favorite moments this year? 
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