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2013 Reader Poll: Tour de France voted best stage race

By:
Zeb Woodpower
Published:
December 20, 2013, 13:51,
Updated:
December 23, 2013, 01:59
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 20, 2013
Race:
Tour de France
The winner of the 100th Tour de France, Sky's Chris Froome

The winner of the 100th Tour de France, Sky's Chris Froome

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Grand Tours clear favourites with Giro second, Vuelta third

For the second year running and 11th year in total, Cyclingnews readers have voted the French grand tour the best stage race of the year. The 100th edition of the Grand Boucle was a clear winner in the poll while the other grand tours of 2013 rounded off the podium.

After dominating the traditional pre-Tour stage races, Chris Froome became the first rider born in Africa to win the Tour de France. In a show of strength, Froome won three stages and became the first rider since Eddy Merckx to win atop Mont Ventoux wearing the maillot jaune.

While the race also saw an exciting GC battle between Froome, Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriquez, there were several highlights scattered across the three-week race.

One of the defining images of the 100th Tour was the Orica-GreenEdge bus wedged underneath the gantry of the stage one finish line. With a flat stage opening the race, sprinters such as Mark Cavendish and André Greipel were chasing the yellow jersey and a stage win. The race was thrown into chaos with the finish line moved then moved back to its original place, causing a mass pile-up and derailing the favourites.

Marcel Kittel won the depleted sprint for the first of four stage wins as he mounted a serious challenge to Mark Cavendish's title as the world's fastest man. The sprint classification was an exciting affair with Kittel, Cavendish, Greipel and Sagan all taking stage wins. Sagan lacked the top end speed of Kittel but rode a tactical race to win his second consecutive green jersey.

While many would have looked at Stage 13 and thought an afternoon nap was more exciting, it proved to be one of the most decisive days of racing in a grand tour in recent memory. Saxo-Tinkoff, Belkin and Omega Pharma-Quick Step all put the hammer down in the crosswinds to form a break. Alejandro Valverde was the biggest loser on the day as Belkin capitalised on the Spaniard's ill-judged wheel change.

Valverde's teammates sacrificed themselves to get back into the peloton to no avail. Rui Costa may have seen his GC hopes similarly disappear, it allowed him the opportunity to chase stage wins and he duly obliged by taking two.

With his team leader's hoped dashed, Quintana became the weapon of choice for Movistar. He lit up the cols of the Tour and was the only climber to seriously challenge Froome on the ascents. The Colombian revelation ended his debut Tour by finishing second overall and winning both the young rider and mountain classifications.

Joaquim Rodriguez added a Tour podium to his palmarès but it was the performances of Froome and Quintana that attracted the most coverage and interest. Alberto Contador showed glimpses of his best at various points as he threatened to dance away on his pedals.

With Froome wresting control of the race by taking yellow after Stage 9, it appeared the race was a foregone conclusion although cracks would appear in Team Sky's armour in 2013. The Sky-controlled peloton of 2012 didn't quite eventuate with Movistar and Garmin regularly testing the strength of the 'Sky bots.'

One of the most exciting stages in 2013 occurred in the Pyrenees on the road to Bagnères-de-Bigorre with Garmin attacking from the moment the flag dropped. The stage was won by Dan Martin with Richie Porte cracking and Froome having been isolated as his team fell around him. Porte was sitting in second place on the morning of the stage but lost 18 minutes having looked like he was in top form the previous day.

The second most popular stage race as voted by readers was the Giro d'Italia. A seriously weather-affected race saw a dominant Vincenzo Nibali blow away the competition for his second grand tour win. Bradley Wiggins entered the race with aspirations for the overall but abandoned midway through with a knee injury. Rigoberto Uran became the Sky leader and finished the race in second palce overall.

Having only announced that he would race the Giro five weeks before the start in Naples, Cadel Evans completed a grand tour podium clean sweep as he finished third overall.

The third race overall on the readers' poll was last grand tour of the season, the Vuelta a España. Chris Horner's overall win was a surprise to many due to his age. A tussle with Nibali went the way of the American who also won two stages and the combination classification. Although Horner is still trying to find a team for 2014, he was a main protagonist in the Spanish mountains in creating dramatic racing.

Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Tour de France 40.7%  
2 Giro d'Italia 23.6%  
3 Vuelta a España 21.9%  
4 Amgen Tour of California 4.3%  
5 USA Pro Challenge 4.1%  
6 Tirreno-Adriatico 1.9%  
7 Paris-Nice 1.4%  
8 Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile 1.1%  
9 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 0.5%  
10 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 0.5%  
Edward Winkler 10 months ago
I enjoyed the Giro and the Vuelta both, more than the Tour. Froome was awsome, but appeared to be riding while watching his power meter for three weeks. I only wish I had ever been capable of doing what he did, but it was boring on TV. The Vuelta was exciting till the Angliru, and those days in the horrible weather were great at the Giro.
Erik Jonsson 10 months ago
Vuelta, Giro, Tour for me
nepetalactone 10 months ago
If entertainment throughout a 3 week race is what you're after, I don't know how anyone could rank them any other way!
Jade Cleveland 10 months ago
1. Tour 2. Vuelta 3. Giro. The Tour is always the tour. I actually enjoy the vuelta more than the giro, probably since it's wide open.
Raoul Duke 10 months ago
The Tour IS always the Tour, its epicness, but I find the Giro overall more exciting, I have viewer fatigue by the time the Vuelta comes around. Harder to find to watch in the socially retarded country of Canada than the other races.
Raoul Duke 10 months ago
I slam my own country for total lack of knowledge and showing on TV anything other than NHL hockey, Canadian and American football, baseball and golf. Doesn't matter that, for example, soccer, bicycle racing, MotoGp etc have a global audience larger than the country's population, I'll bet you could ask 10,000 Canadians who Eddy Merckx or Valentino Rossi, among many other names are or to name an event and you would be very lucky to find one person who could give you an answer other than I don't know. Was impressed that now we get to see the World Cup soccer recently though
two20john 10 months ago
The right decision. For scale, drama and the sheer majesty of cycling only the Tour will do. I can't wait for next year's edition.
WildspokeJoe 10 months ago
Stage 13 of this year's TDF was one of my favorite all-time stages. But I enjoyed the Vuelta more because the outcome was in question throughout.
Cance > TheRest 10 months ago
The poll reflecting the geographic distribution of CN users just a tiny bit lol... TDF would probably just be a top 5 race if you asked me. 1.Vuelta: was most exciting, had the most great stages. 2. The giro introduced a new challenger to Sky's dominance in Nibali, but was more like a 2 week race (I actually found the first week with all the rain and Wiggins problems to be the most entertaining. 3. Tirreno Adriatico: gave hope for a brighter future for cycling with Nibalis win. 4. Tour De Suisse: Can't say I cheered for Costa, but the race was very open and great. Plus Sagans mtn stage win does it for me! 5. TDF: VERY predictable. Contador not reaching his top form was a major letdown. On the plus side, JRod, Quintana and Sky's sudden lack of control
nepetalactone 10 months ago
+1
StuartNisted 10 months ago
How The Vuelta didn't win I'll never know. When Tony Martin nearly won that stage I was on my feet shouting at the TV! One of the best performances on a bike I have ever seen! It deserved to win just for that. Then there was Nico Roach, what a ride he put it! Horner winning it, how old is he? 41? Brilliant stuff. The 11 mountain finishes! Brutal racing. Every stage was action packed, the break aways going on to win the stages more often then not. All the young riders wining stages. The unpredictability of it all. Best race of the year by far! Sorry cycling news readers, you are wrong!
larschristiansen 10 months ago
The Vuelta was far and away the most exciting of the three; tthe Giro second. The Tour this year had moments that I truly loved but was overall too predictable.
welker3257 10 months ago
I think the real question is which stage race got seventh. I think Tirreno or Tour of the Basque Country was the best stage race this year.