Five moments from 2011. They are a personal choice like any list sometimes you omit more than you include but I’ll explain each moment. They’re presented in no particular order.
What does it feel like to win a big race? Well the video clip above gives you a clue. It is the Tour of Flanders and Nick Nuyens wins for Saxo Bank. The race itself was great to watch, a battle that provide surprises all the way to the finish.
But one addition was the use of cameras inside the team cars. A small innovation, you’d think video footage of a man driving a car would be dull and normally you’d be right. But the cameras caught the action from the Saxo Bank team car with Bjarne Riis and Tristan Hoffman momentarily going beserk with joy.
Riis is sometimes a controversial figure and not to everyone’s taste but even the most sceptical fan should enjoy the moment above for the pure emotion. The Dane is famously stoic with a permanent poker face but everything changes here.
There’s context to the eruption of joy too. Bjarne Riis had managed a team with the Schleck brothers, Fabian Cancellara and others only to see a quiet mutiny during the previous season. His best riders walked out leaving him with a skeleton squad, albeit enough cash to land Alberto Contador. But they the say the loss was personal, with Riis losing his boys to the new Leopard squad. So to win one of the biggest one day races in the world would be joyous enough but to do this after many had written you off was even more emotional. And to trounce Cancellara even better.
As tales of revenge go, this isn’t quite Dumas’s Count of Monte Christo but the small moment encapsulates the joy of winning a race with plenty more.