Some people have labelled the 101st edition of the Tour de France as the battle that never was. Nibali may have never had the chance to prove himself against Contador and Froome after abandoning early in the race, but the point is that he made it to the end of the race and showed his dominance against the competitors who were left. He took the race by the horns on stage two and instead of hiding until the mountains, he took chances and made his time well before and led the Tour for eighteen days out of twenty-one. Nibali’s racing was smart and tactical, but did it with instinct and flare which made him exhilarating to watch. His Astana team was strong, but once the race hit the high mountains he was left alone to attack instead of having teammates around him to neutralise his competitors. In short, I felt we were treated much more exciting racing in this year’s Tour de France than we saw in the past two editions. What a show we would have had if Contador and Froome had only managed to hang in there…
On the final stage around the Champs-Elysées it was déjà vu of 2013 where Marcel Kittel took the win three weeks after he took victory in Yorkshire on stage one. It seemed like a year ago. This was Kittel’s fourth win at this year’s Tour and it stands out as Germany’s most successful Tours. Along with Tony Martin’s two stage wins and Andre Greipel’s stage six victory, Germany took seven wins in total. And German TV stations still don’t broadcast the Tour de France there.
Thank you for tuning in over the past three weeks. As always, we’ve enjoyed being able to showcase these spectacular images from the Tour de France as well as putting together the rest of our coverage. It’s always a hollow and empty feeling the week after the Tour has completed, but we have some great stories coming up this week. We hope to see you back!
Read the full race report and results from Stage 21 of the 2014 Tour de France here.