Tour de France: Chris Froome, Peter Sagan & others who lit up the race
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 26/07/16 2:51pm
The 2016 Tour de France was graced with some outstanding individual performances.
Here, we pick out the stars of the race…
Bennett ended the Tour dead last - also known as the Lanterne Rouge - but his result doesn't reflect the heroism of his efforts. The 25-year-old Irishman crashed on the opening stage and suffered severe injuries to his fingers, but he refused to leave the race, struggled through the mountains and earned himself the satisfaction of crossing the final finish line on the Champs-Elysees.
Cavendish enjoyed his best Tour since 2011 by dominating the sprints with four wins. It saw him move to second on the all-time list of Tour stage winners and within four of Eddy Merckx's record of 34. Cavendish also wore the race leader's yellow jersey for the first time in his career.
Thomas De Gendt
De Gendt seemed to spend almost as many days in breakaways as he did in the peloton, and was usually driving the pace on the front of them. He got his reward with a win on stage 12 on Mont Ventoux after a nip-and-tuck battle with Serge Pauwels and Daniel Navarro.
Dumoulin won two stages in what was an excellent Tour for the Dutchman. While his second win was in his specialist discipline of time-trialling, his first came on the summit finish at Andorra Arcalis after a superb solo attack. Dumoulin has now won stages of all three Grand Tours.
Froome was a star of the Tour not just because he dominated the general classification and won overall, but also because of the aggressive and entertaining way he rode it. From his attack on a descent on stage eight to his attack in crosswinds on stage 11 and running up Mont Ventoux, you couldn't take your eyes off him.
Pantano provided some of the most thrilling performances of the Tour. After winning stage 15, he could easily have coasted his way through the rest of the race, but instead he continued to join breakaways and finished second on both stage 17 and stage 20. Arguably his most eye-catching antics were on descents, which he regularly tore into irrespective of the weather conditions.
Sagan was brilliant in every respect. He recorded his most successful Tour to date by winning three stages, dominating the points classification and spending three days in the yellow jersey, while also finishing in the top three on no fewer than eight stages. But he also provided plenty of entertainment by joining breakaways seemingly every other day and launching a superb attack in crosswinds on stage 11.
Yates was the revelation of the race. He started with the ambition of winning stages out of breakaways but performed so well he became a general classification contender and eventually finished fourth overall, taking the best young rider's white jersey in the process.