Top ten moments of 2013
We look back on the year's most memorable scenes
Last Updated: 13/12/13 3:29pm
Here, we look back on the top ten...
10. Tour of Britain climbs Honister Pass in the rain
The Lake District climb of Honister Pass may not carry the prestige of its European cousins but the sight of the Tour of Britain tackling its 25 per cent slopes this September will live long in the memory. Firstly, the ascent was graced by a majestic display of climbing from Tour de France King of the Mountains Nairo Quintana and Liege-Bastogne-Liege winner Dan Martin, who attacked and rode away from the peloton almost effortlessly. On top of that, rain poured so heavily on the hill that a river of water formed down the throat of the road, but what made it really stand out were the fans who defied the simply dreadful conditions to line the route and offer raucous support.
9. Bradley Wiggins parks his Pinarello to perfection
If Sir Bradley Wiggins had ridden his bike even half as impressively as he threw it this season, his achievements in 2012 would have been made to look pithy. There was no finer example than on stage four of the Giro del Trentino in April. Midway up the race's final climb to Sega di Ala and with a place on the podium beckoning, Wiggins suffered mechanical problem. His response was to launch his bike against a roadside wall, but rather than collapse to the ground in a heap, the £13,000+ Pinarello Dogma instead came to a halt perched perfectly upright. A parking masterclass.
8. Sant'Elpidio a Mare climb reduces riders to pedestrians
Mont Ventoux, Alpe d'Huez, Tre Cime di Laveredo, Alto de L'Angliru - tough climbs all, but none quite compared to the simply ludicrous Sant'Elpidio a Mare this season. Stage six of Tirreno-Adriatico tackled its 30 per cent slopes no fewer than three times and on each occasion it ground some of the best climbers in the world to a standstill, forcing them to dismount and walk to the top in some of the most remarkable scenes of 2013.
7. Ice-covered riders forced to retreat to buses midway through Milan-San Remo
The 2013 season saw the peloton brave some of the worst weather conditions cycling has seen in years. The world championship road race almost flooded and stages of the Giro d'Italia had to be shortened and cancelled due to heavy snow. However, nothing quite matched Milan-San Remo in March, where snow forced the race to be halted and then restarted 55km further down the road, where the weather was better. Riders were transferred on buses and when they climbed off their bikes, all of them were covered in a thick layer of slushy ice, making for some of the most iconic images of the year.
6. Vincenzo Nibali wins in the snow on Tre Cime di Lavaredo
All right, there has been a lot of dreadful weather in 2013 and after a while the novelty wore off a touch, but there was still no taking away from watching Vincenzo Nibali climb solo through the snow on the legendary Tre Cime di Lavaredo to effectively win the Giro d'Italia. The Italian had been the dominant rider of the race and it was clear he would win the maglia rosa long before he started up that fabled climb, but his performance in those final kilometres was nevertheless iconic. He initially attacked 3km out to thin down what was left of the front bunch and then went again 2.5km from home - and this time no one could follow. He swiftly opened up a stage-winning gap and was barely visible through the snowflakes as the crossed the line with one arm aloft, the champion elect.
5. Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Dan Martin and "The Panda"
The 2013 season saw stunning scenery, snow and ice aplenty and riders walking up 30 per cent climbs, but few images are quite as memorable as Dan Martin and Joaquim Rodriguez being chased up the final climb of Liege-Bastogne-Liege by a man dressed in a panda suit. Rodriguez had attacked under the flamme rouge and after Martin had drawn alongside him, it looked like the two men would sprint for victory. But then the panda appeared and, almost like a good-luck charm, it spurred Martin on to attack Rodriguez and ride solo to a first Monument victory.
4. Tony Martin's day-long breakaway falls just metres short
A breakaway hardly seems worthy of an entry into a best moments of the year list, but what Tony Martin did on stage six of the Vuelta a Espana was no ordinary escape. Der Panzerwagen, as the German is affectionately known, produced one of the finest individual rides of the year and, almost, one of the greatest Grand Tour stage wins of all time. Fancying joining a breakaway on a largely flat, 175km day, Martin attacked out of the peloton straight from the flag and opened up a gap, but when he looked over his shoulder, no one had been able to match his ferocious power and he was all alone. Rather than fall back into line, he ploughed on solo and spent the next 150km riding his own race. By 15km out his lead had fallen drastically and by 12km to go he was all but caught. However, the peloton suddenly eased the pace and Martin took advantage by putting the foot back down and going into time-trial mode, his forte. Suddenly, the impossible was a distinct possibility and when he entered the last 1km with a handful of seconds' advantage, the chasing sprint trains were forced into desperate bids to reel the marauding Martin back before the line. Agonisingly, they did so with less than 20m remaining. An amazing effort that made for incredible drama.
3. Battle of the Angliru: Chris Horner v Vincenzo Nibali
With the top two on the general classification separated by only three seconds heading into stage 20, it was left to one of the most notorious climbs in world cycling to decide the winner of this year's Vuelta a Espana: the Alto de L'Angliru. Chris Horner held the advantage over Vincenzo Nibali and the Italian did everything in his power to overturn the deficit, attacking no fewer than four times as thick mist enshrouded the steep slopes of the brutal climb, which was lined be throngs of passionate fans. Horner reeled Nibali in each time, though, and then rode away from his younger rival 1.5km out to all but clinch the red jersey. At almost 42, he might not have been the most popular champion, but the pure theatre of events on the Angliru mean his triumph is unlikely to be forgotten soon.
2. Team bus gets stuck under the finish line at the Tour de France
You think you have seen it all - crashes, extreme weather, dogs on the road, fans in makinis, cows running into the peloton - and then cycling goes and conjures up one of the most remarkable scenes ever witnessed in Tour de France history. On the opening stage of this year's race, with a sprint finish looming in Bastia, the driver of the Orica-GreenEdge team bus managed to get the vehicle stuck under the timing board hanging over the finish line. When it couldn't be moved, the finish line was moved forward to 3km out, triggering a scramble for position in the peloton that, in turn, led to crash that wiped out half of the field. Eventually the bus was freed and the finish was restored to its original position, with Marcel Kittel going on to win the stage and the yellow jersey. It is difficult to envisage the sport will ever see anything like it again.
1. Chris Froome delivers memorable win on Mont Ventoux
Quite simply one of the most memorable days in British cycling history. Chris Froome became only the second man after Eddy Merckx to win on the fabled Mont Ventoux while wearing the yellow jersey and, in doing so, effectively won the Tour de France. The Briton produced a magnificent performance on the 21km climb, first dropping arch rival Alberto Contador 7km from home and then leaving Nairo Quintana behind 1.3km out as he climbed into Tour folklore. The win also carried historic significance, as he distanced Quintana almost exactly on the spot where fellow Briton Tommy Simpson had collapsed and died 46 years and one day prior.