Tour de France 2012: Of Brits, fallen champions and great riders young and old

With the 99th Tour de France complete, it’s time to look back at the three weeks. The competition? It was superior. The camaraderie and sportsmanship? It was what makes the Tour de France unlike any other sporting event.

Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome gave the Tour a great battle. Cadel Evans showcased the panache of a champion. But it wasn’t the first time and nor will it likely be the last that a defending titlist falters.

Ah, the Tour de France, it’s an intoxicating and sometimes cruel mistress.

Bradley Wiggins, 2012 Tour de France champion

Bradley Wiggins, 2012 Tour de France champion

Here’s are 10 random thoughts about this year’s race:

10. Old guys rock. Jens Voigt, 40, second in stage 16; Chris Horner, 40, 13th overall. Thanks for that fellas, Chapeau. Chapeau.

9. Young guys rock. Tejay van Garderen, 23, Peter Sagan, 22. You guys are the future of the Tour de France and the Tour de France is now.

8. Bradley Wiggins and Jonathan Vaughters. Did you guys spend three week at Le Tour channeling Neil Young?

7. Is Cadel Evans a long-lost brother of Michael Jackson?

6. I want a guy like George Hincapie as my neighbor, you know?

5. NBC Sports Network. Who hired Scott Moninger and why? Great rider, nice guy. But he’s nicknamed the “Iceman” for a reason and that ain’t good for television.

4. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. Either you like their routine or you don’t. I do and hope the do what they do best for a long time.

3. Tyler Farrar’s rage. So the “zen” man from Wenatchee, Wa., wanted to have a little “talk” with Tom Veelers of Argos-Shimano after stage 5. Damn, Tyler, you’re a prince, and kudos for the finishing the Tour de France with your body a wreck (again). But, dude, use that rage on that bike. It’s been a winless season and we’re rooting for you.

2. Thomas Voeckler. We don’t care if he’s nicknamed Le Chouchou (Sweetheart) or Ti-Blanc (Little White). The guy is a bike rider with an aggressive style and a spirit largely unmatched in the peloton.

1. Bradley Wiggins. The gentleman champion. Vive Le Tour.

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