Cycling's best, worst and strangest victory salutes

A selection of the sport's infamous gestures

It's the crowning moment of a race, a career and a lifetime of hard work: a gesture filled with emotion made at the end of an extreme effort. 

Perhaps few have had the variety in their finishing flourishes as Mark Cavendish. Simply because his latest gesture has got everyone talking about them, here's a collection of memorable finishing poses taken from the Cyclingnews archives.


Sometimes winning can be the best revenge, and what better way than to show your feelings to the world than in front of the hordes of photographers that crowd the finish line at the race?

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) gives an obscene gesture aimed at his detractors after winning stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie.

This one will go down in the history books: Mark Cavendish flips off his critics after a Tour de Romandie stage in 2010. Photo: AFP

Pavel Tonkov flipped off the world after winning a Giro d'Italia stage in 2004.

In 2004, Pavel Tonkov gave the Italians a piece of his mind after he had to fight his way back to the top of the sport for three years after his failed experiment with the Mercury team. Photo: Sirotti

Judith Arndt gave the finger when she took second at the Olympic Games in 2004.

Long before Cav delivered his two-fingered salute, his now HTC-Columbia teammate Judith Arndt gave Germany's selectors the one-fingered version after taking the silver medal at the Athens Olympics. She had a much nicer salute when she won the World Championships a few weeks later. Photo: AFP

The organisers of the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart tried to keep Paolo Bettini out of their race on suspicion of doping. He was allowed in, won and fired back on the line with an imaginary shotgun. Photo: Roberto Bettini

The importance of the team

Lance Armstrong's memorable 1995 Tour de France stage win

Two days after Motorola teammate Fabio Casartelli's death on the Portet d'Aspet, Lance Armstrong leaves no doubt about who he's dedicating the stage win in Limoges to. Photo: AFP

Bernard Hinault and Greg Le Mond ride to the summit of Alpe d'Huez raising each other's arm aloft.

Hinault and LeMond ride to the summit of Alpe d'Huez raising each other's arm aloft. Or was that just the Frenchman's way of ensuring he stayed ahead of the American to win the epic 1986 Tour stage? Photo: AFP

On his Tour debut last year Brice Feillu makes a fundamental blunder for any Tour stage winner as he forgets to zip up and make clear who's sponsoring his team to be there. Photo: Roberto Bettini

Salute failures

Erik Zabel demonstrates the "I've won, oh no I haven't" celebration at Milan-San Remo in 2004 as Oscar Freire very unsportingly decides not to celebrate at all but focuses on reaching the line first. Photo: Roberto Bettini

Mark Cavendish' salutes got strange when he tried an Oakley tribute

Mark Cavendish' salutes got strange when he tried an Oakley tribute. Photo: AFP

Mark Cavendish claimed this 2009 Tour of California salute was a tribute to his lucky shorts, but chamois-cream maker Dave Zabriskie insisted it was done on a bet to promote his DZNuts product. Photo: Jon Devich

Jimmy Casper had won a few races before his 2006 Tour de France stage win, but it didn't show.

Jimmy Casper had won a few races before his 2006 Tour de France stage win, but it didn't show. We're pretty sure he regrets this particular salute. Photo: AFP

Iconic salutes

Johan Musseuw's 2000 Paris-Roubaix salute was a tribute to his nearly ruined knee.

No, Johan Museeuw's not celebrating victory in the 2000 Paris-Roubaix with an impromtu version of the hokey-pokey, but pointing out the left knee that was so badly injured in the same race two years before that he almost lost the leg. Photo: AFP

Mario Cipollini would win by such a large margin sometimes he'd check to see if anyone was still there.

 Mario Cipollini frequently won by such a large margin he would look back as if to say "where'd you all go?" Photo: AFP

Alessandro Petacchi won so many stages in 2003 that he began counting each one. He ran out of fingers by the Vuelta.

 Alessandro Petacchi won so many Grand Tour stages in 2003 that he tried counting them in his salute each time. He ran out of fingers by the end of the Vuelta. Photo: AFP

Alberto Contador's 'pistolero' salute is his standard. Photo: Roberto Bettini

Odds & Ends

Cav had to get another mention due to the range of his celebrations last season. Marking the arrival of new sponsor and phone producer HTC by "making a call" was genius. We were disappointed, though, that his rumoured plan to ride over the Champs Elysées finish line brandishing the cover of his autobiography never happened. Photo: Roberto Bettini

Robbie McEwen had a little fun with this "running man" number in the 2006 Tour de France. Photo: Roberto Bettini

Chris Horner gave an odd 'karate kid' style salute after winning a Tour de Suisse stage. Photo: Sirotti

Carlos Sastre pulled his baby's "dummy" (pacifier) from his pocket and put it in his mouth as he won the Tour de France stage at Ax-3 Domaines in 2003.

Carlos Sastre pulls out his daughter's dummy as he clinches victory at Ax 3-Domaines in 2003. Seven years on the Tour is heading back there and we're intrigued to see what the Cervélo leader might pull out of his pocket if he wins there again… Photo: AFP

Juan Antonio Flecha's Robin Hood salute was a tribute to his name, which translates as "arrow"

Juan Antonio Flecha, whose name translates from Spanish as 'arrow', could have got a part in the latest Russell Crowe blockbuster take on the Robin Hood story. Photo: AFP

Filippo Simeoni stopped and lifted his bike after winning a Vuelta stage in 2000.

Long before he'd attracted Lance Armstrong's ire, Filippo Simeoni was best known as the guy who lifted his bike aloft to celebrate victory in the 2001 Vuelta stage into Cuenca. Photo: AFP

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