21 Dec 2019 - 9:46 AM UPDATED 21 Dec 2019 - 10:02 AM
Friday 20 Dec 2019
Julian Alaphilippe had an incredible 2019, but his entire Tour de France was arguably the best individual ride of the season and a thrilling showcase of panache.
The Frenchman attacked Stage 3 to Epernay like he did Strade Bianche, Milano-Sanremo and Fleche Wallone earlier this season. With that win, he moved into yellow until he lost it on the brutal La Planche des Belles Filles Stage 6 finish.
But Alaphilippe set his sights on winning back what became rightfully his for another 12 days. On the eve of Bastille Day (Stage 8), he leapt from the bunch with Thibaut Pinot, wresting back control of the maillot jaune, the first Frenchman to wear it on his nation's main holiday since 2014.
The surprises continued with an ITT victory on Stage 13, his win not too shocking considering the punchy nature of the course.
We all expected him to crack but he clung onto yellow past the final rest day, only letting go in the extreme weather conditions brought a premature stop to Stage 19.
On a modified Stage 20, Jumbo-Visma and Ineos pounded him into the mat further, Alaphilippe burying himself to finish the 2019 Tour de France a respectable fifth overall, just over two minutes off the podium.
Christophe: What can I say eh? Alaphilippe was the definition of panache, and the way he claimed that yellow on the roads of champagne, adding the fizz to an incredible Tour for the French, even if in the end, he didn’t win it, he definitely won the hearts of the nation and it all started on stage 3.. little did we know at that stage what he would go on and do. (I think Macca hadn’t bet his house just yet reference if you listened to the podcast!)
Macca: A show of class
Thursday 19 Dec 2019
Annemiek van Vleuten's attack from 104kms out to take the rainbow jersey at this year's UCI Road World Championships was stuff of legend.
Tomo: ‘Twas always going to happen. Why should we be surprised?
Christophe: Annemiek is a legend. It reminded me how popular she was on the climb of Alpe d’Huez, on Dutch corner last year, and how she played up with the fans. You knew, in Yorkshire, when she fell in her mum's arms at the end, that this win was a little special for her.
Macca: quite possibly ride of the year!
Keeno: best individual ride of the season (this was off the charts)!
Tuesday 17 Dec 2019
It wasn't just the unbelievable, come from nowhere finish that earns Mathieu van der Poel this spot for his Amstel Gold victory, but also his never say die persona.
The Dutchman looked well out of contention for even a place as he appeared spent from an attack with around 40kms to go. He tucked back into a chase group as Jakob Fuglsang, Matteo Trentin, Julian Alaphilippe pulled clear with Michal Kwiatkowski and Matteo Trentin chasing.
The elite spring classics debutant was so much out of contention and Fuglsang, Alaphilippe and by then, a solo Kwiatkowski, had the placings so sewn up, the cameras missed van der Poel singlehandedly dragging a chase group (initially the fourth group out on the road) back to within 30 seconds 1.8km from the finish.
His power, combined with Alaphilippe and Fuglsang watching each other, created a perfect storm of panache as he ultimately took a win for the ages.
Macca: "He wasnt meant to win, no he won't win. Hang on...he's just won!"
Christophe: He did what no one thought possible, and I strongly believe, that with Remco Evenpeol, MvDP could re write the history books, and we have some wonderful years of cycling ahead of us.
Tomo: A new star of the future had arrived.
In the break all day of the women's elite road race at the 2019 RoadNats, Sarah Gigante outsmarted her high calibre fellow escapees Shara Gillow and Sarah Roy on the penultimate lap to ride away with the title, holding off one of the best elite riders in the world, a late-charging Amamda Spratt.
In the face of such prestigious rivals as a then 18-year-old, her plucky attempt earned her a spot in our Top 4 Greatest Displays of Panache in 2019.
Tomo: Sarah who? How does one come back from breaking two elbows and get a near perfect ATAR Year 12 result...and to that?
Macca: Well that was left of field, she outsmarted the smartest.
Christophe: Sarah was THE revelation of the Nationals 2019, I was on the finish line when she won, and doing the post race interview, I will never forget that smile and all the others coming to give her the accoladse, it really felt like a new champion had landed from a planet far away.