Vuelta a España review: Stage-by-stage

After 23 days and 3,360km of gruelling effort, much of it uphill and frequently featuring ramps in excess of 20%, the 2012 Vuelta a España is finally over and we have a Spanish clean sweep of the podium places. Ultimately the race hinged on one apparently innocuous summit finish and a spectacular effort by Alberto Contador, which turned a race which seemed to be going very much Joaquim Rodriguez‘s way completely on its head. Here is a stage-by-stage reminder of how Contador, Valverde and Rodriguez came to dominate their home Grand Tour.

Stage 1: Pamplona, 16.5km team time trial


Rabobank topped the time-sheets for much of the opening team time trial, before being – somewhat surprisingly – knocked off at the last by Movistar‘s late bull-run around the streets of Pamplona. On his Grand Tour debut, Jonathan Castroviejo had the honour of donning the first red jersey. Just five seconds covered the next seven teams in a thrilling opening to the 2012 Vuelta.

Stage winner: Movistar.

General classification: 1. Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), 2. Javier Moreno (Movistar) same time, 3. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) s/t.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Stage 2: Pamplona to Viana, 181.4km


A routine bunch sprint concluded the first proper road stage of the race. John Degenkolb – who finished second, third and fourth in sprints in last year’s edition – finally achieved the top step of the podium with a well-timed final burst. The German powered past Sky’s Ben Swift and Orica-GreenEDGE’s Allan Davis in the closing metres to claim victory.

Stage winner: John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

General classification: 1. Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar), 2. Nairo Quintano (Movistar) same time, 3. Javier Moreno (Movistar) s/t.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Stage 3: Faustino V to Eibar (Arrate), 155.3km


In a thrilling finale, Alberto Contador launched a sequence of stinging attacks on the final climb of Alto de Arrate, shaking off all but Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez and Chris Froome. However, he missed out on the time bonuses as Froome held him off for third while Valverde edged out Rodriguez for the win by a tyre’s width.

Stage winner: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

General classification: 1. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), 2. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) +0:18, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:19

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Stage 4: Barakaldo to Estación de Valdezcaray, 160.6km


Simon Clarke claimed his first professional win – and his first of any description in over four years – despatching Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) in a two-up sprint after the pair had ridden away from their breakaway companions. Most of the main GC contenders finished two minutes behind – except for Alejandro Valverde, who lost time in a crash after Sky split the peloton in crosswinds. Joaquim Rodriguez took over the race lead – by one second.

Stage winner: Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:01, 3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:05.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Stage 5: Logroño to Logroño, 168.0km


John Degenkolb overhauled RadioShack-Nissan’s Daniele Bennati to take his second stage victory after eight circuits of Logroño. Andalucia’s Javier Chacon embarked on a long solo breakaway, gaining 12 minutes at one point, but his effort was always going to be doomed on what amounted to a day off for the GC contenders.

Stage winner: John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:01, 3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:05.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Stage 6: Tarazona to Jaca, 175.4km


Joaquim Rodriguez took the stage win from Chris Froome after Sky had helped explode a greatly reduced contenders’ group in the final kilometre of the Alto Fuerto de Rapitan. The GC riders ended up strewn all over the road, with Alejandro Valverde finishing alone in third and a dehydrated Alberto Contador fourth.

Stage winner: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:10, 3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:36.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Stage 7: Huesca to Alcañiz. Motorland Aragón, 164.2km


On a routine flat sprinters’ stage, Sky burnt up their lead-out for Ben Swift too early. Argos-Shimano took charge when it really mattered in the final kilometre and promptly delivered John Degenkolb to his third victory.

Stage winner: John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:10, 3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:36.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Stage 8: Lleida to Andorra. Collada de la Gallina, 174.7km


Alejandro Valverde started a series of attacks and counter-attacks 3km from the summit finish on the Collada de la Gallina, and then finished it to edge out Joaquim Rodriguez for the stage victory, his second of the race. Alberto Contador‘s stinging attack in the final kilometre appeared to have earned him victory, but his two compatriots hurtled past him within sight of the line to deny him. Chris Froome couldn’t stand the pace and lost 15 seconds on the road.

Stage winner: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:33, 3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:40.

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Stage 9: Andorra to Barcelona, 196.3km


Yet again Alberto Contador had nothing to show for initiating a late attack, this time on Barcelona’s Montjuic hill. Rodriguez and Philippe Gilbert rode off the front of the pack near the summit and held them off all the way to the finish, with the Belgian’s superior sprint easing him to his first win of the year. Nonetheless the race leader was delighted to have put a further 20 seconds (including bonuses) into all his main rivals.

Stage winner: Philippe Gilbert (BMC).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:53, 3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +1:00.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Stage 10: Ponteareas to Sanxenxo, 190.0km


John Degenkolb made it four sprint wins out of four as he dominated the bunch finish in Sanxenxo with a long-range effort. Nacer Bouhanni was second and Daniele Bennati third as the GC contenders ticked off another day on the calendar.

Stage winner: John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:53, 3. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +1:00.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Stage 11: Cambados to Pontevedra, 39.4km individual time trial


Fredrik Kessiakoff blitzed the hilly course to claim a surprising but deserved victory in an exciting individual time trial. Alberto Contador beat Chris Froome for second, while both Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez rode the time trials of their lives to finish fourth and seventh-fastest respectively. Rodriguez retained the red jersey from Contador by a single second.

Stage winner: Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:01, 3. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:16.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Stage 12: Vilagarcía de Arousa to Mirador de Ézaro, 190.5km


The day’s four-man break looked to be heading for victory before disintegrating on the super-steep final climb to Mirador de Ézaro. Alberto Contador and Joaquim Rodriguez accelerated away from their rivals on the ascent, but despite Contador’s best efforts to break him, the race leader jumped out of his wheel in the closing stages and sped away, extending his overall lead from one to 13 seconds.

Stage winner: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:13, 3. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:51.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Stage 13: Santiago de Compostela to Ferrol, 172.8km


Out of a break of seven men, it was Steve Cummings who made the decisive move to split away from his breakaway companions and ride a 4km individual time trial to victory. He was never more than a handful of seconds ahead of Cameron Meyer and Juan Antonio Flecha, but neither could bridge the Briton’s winning four-second gap. The rest of the peloton steadfastly refused to help Argos-Shimano in a forlorn chase, electing to save their energy for the three summit finishes to follow.

Stage winner: Steve Cummings (BMC).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:13, 3. Chris Froome (Sky) +0:51.

Excitement factor: 3/5.

Stage 14: Palas de Rei to Puerto de Ancares, 149.2km


Alberto Contador attacked, then attacked, then attacked again on the Puerto de Ancares, blowing the GC to smithereens, before finally breaking away and establishing an 11-second cushion with half a kilometre remaining. To no avail, as yet again Joaquim Rodriguez remained calm under pressure and swept past Contador with ease with a devastating final burst. Alejandro Valverde again lost a handful of seconds, Chris Froome rather more on the first of three huge days in the high mountains.

Stage winner: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:22, 3. Chris Froome (Sky) +1:41.

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Stage 15: La Robla to Lagos de Covadonga, 186.5km


Antonio Piedra soloed off the front 10km from the summit of the legendary Covadonga to claim a season-defining win for his wild-card Caja Rural team. Ten minutes behind, Contador again launched multiple attacks but ultimately he, Rodriguez and Valverde finished together as Chris Froome‘s podium hopes began to fade as he lost 30-plus seconds for the second day in succession.

Stage winner: Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:22, 3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:41.

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Stage 16: Gijón to Valgrande-Pajares. Cuitu Negru, 183.5km


Dario Cataldo pulled away from breakaway companion Thomas De Gendt in the closing stages of one of the slowest finishes – 15 minutes to cover the last 3km – ever seen at a Grand Tour. But a little further down the road Chris Froome finally cracked to leave the Three Amigos – Contador, Rodriguez and Valverde – to slug it out. Contador was again the most aggressive, Valverde fell away and yet again Rodriguez darted ahead in the closing metres to snatch third and the final time bonus to extend his overall lead.

Stage winner: Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) +0:28, 3. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +2:04.

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Stage 17: Santander to Fuente Dé, 187.3km


Alberto Contador and Saxo-Tinkoff orchestrated an audacious long-range break, and on the long but comparatively mild climb of Fuente Dé Joaquim Rodriguez foundered, where he had been so confident on the big, steep climbs. Contador snatched the red jersey as an exhausted Rodriguez sustained losses of close to three minutes to drop behind Valverde into third.

Stage winner: Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:52, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +2:28.

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Stage 18: Aguilar de Campoo to Valladolid, 204.5km


A high-speed stage stretched and then fractured the peloton, leaving Daniele Bennati to edge out Ben Swift at the finish. For once, Argos-Shimano and John Degenkolb got it slightly wrong, as the German failed to win a bunch sprint for the first time in the race.

Stage winner: Daniele Bennati (RadioShack-Nissan).

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:52, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +2:28.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Stage 19: Peñafiel to La Lastrilla, 178.4km


Philippe Gilbert powered away from the field on a tricky uphill finish. A late five-man break formed inside the final 4km which threatened to foil the puncheurs’ uphill charge. But the Belgian was helped to his second win by sterling work from teammate Alessandro Ballan and had no problem easing away from a heavy-legged Ben Swift in the final 150 metres.

Stage winner: Philippe Gilbert (BMC).

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:35, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +2:21.

Excitement factor: 3/5.

Stage 20: La Faisanera Golf to Bola del Mundo, 170.7km


Denis Menchov and Richie Porte proved to be the strongest members of the day’s breakaway on Bola del Mundo, with the Russian pulling away in the final few hundred metres to take victory. Behind him, his Katusha team captain Joaquim Rodriguez rolled the dice one more time and succeeded in distancing first Valverde and then Contador to put time into both, but not enough to change the podium order ahead of the processional final stage.

Stage winner: Denis Menchov (Katusha).

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:16, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +1:37.

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Stage 21: Cercedilla to Madrid, 115.0km


John Degenkolb underlined his mastery of the bunch sprints with his fifth stage victory. There were no changes to the general classification – with Alberto Contador duly taking the overall win –  but a sixth-place finish by Alejandro Valverde added insult to injury for Joaquim Rodriguez as the points and all-round classifications passed on to the shoulders of the Movistar rider at the death.

Stage winner: John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

General classification: 1. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), 2. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +1:16, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +1:37.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Roll of honour

Overall winner: Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).

Points winner: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

King of the Mountains winner: Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE).

All-round winner: Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Team prize: Movistar.

Link: Vuelta a Espana official website

Vuelta a Espana preview: The key contenders

The Vuelta a España starts tomorrow and it looks to be an interesting two-man fight for the top step of the podium – but then that’s what we thought for the Tour de France and we know what happened there. That said, with Alberto Contador just coming back off his ban and Christopher Froome having ridden the Tour (and finishing second) and then riding the Vuelta less than a month later, it’s hard to believe either will be in invincible form, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for a rip-roaring Grand Tour. Let’s have a look at the field – and what the bookies think as well.

The main men

Contador’s back! (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

He’s back and the bookies figure he’ll take it – as do I. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) is quite simply the greatest Grand Tour rider of his generation and I don’t think anyone can really deny that he’s the favourite to win this race. Ladbrokes have him odds-on at 8/15 with good reason.

His clenbuterol ban wasn’t too long, he’s been training throughout, and he got some peloton practice by riding the Eneco Tour (where he finished fourth). The route will be to his liking – unlike at the Tour, this race will most certainly be won in the mountains.

Contador is an explosive climber who can both attack and counter others’ attacks so anyone who wants to win will have to shake him off by riding like hell at every opportunity – and then hope that he’s having a bad day as well. He is also a fine time-trialist in his own right, and should be able to keep in touch with the specialists while putting time into his fellow climbers.

Froome will want to prove he’s worthy to be team leader (image by Panache/ccarls1)

Finally given the opportunity to be the protected leader for Sky, Chris Froome (16/5) is hoping to move up one step on the podium in this Grand Tour. After his fantastic performance in the Tour this year, everyone assumes the GC will be between him and Contador.

His performance in last year’s Vuelta was eye-opening: clearly stronger than his team leader, Bradley Wiggins, if there had been no time bonuses he would have been wearing the red jersey on the podium in Madrid. But that was not to be and Froome is going to be all the more hungry for his first Grand Tour win. There are some explosive stages planned, which shouldn’t be a problem for him, as his climbing strength means he can go with any attacks that might come from his opponents, including Senor Contador.

The only question marks against Froome are whether he can cope with the mental demands of being the main man, added to the physical strain of trying to carry his form from the Tour and Olympics across an unforgiving parcours which will expose any fatigue.

The second wave

It almost seems like all the other riders are just vying for that third podium position, but any cycling fan will tell you races aren’t won by predictions. A bad day, an inopportune puncture, God forbid a crash and the top ten could be flipped on its head. So who else is in the picture?

Rodriguez had a smashing Giro (image courtesy of official website)

Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez is 9/1 with the bookies. His win in this year’s Flèche Wallonne and his magnificent second place and points classification win at the Giro d’Italia means he could give the two favourites a real run for their money. He likes a steep climb, he can hold his own in the mid-race individual time trial [maybe, but colour me sceptical on that one – Ed] and he rides with great tenacity and heart [no argument there – Ed]. With his support team including two-time Vuelta champ Denis Menchov, he is surely in with a shout.

Defending champion Juan Jose Cobo (image courtesy of Movistar)

Of course, we can’t just rule out defending champion Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar). He’s 16/1 but after his lacklustre Tour de France – where he finished an invisible 30th (which might be either a good or a bad thing, depending on your viewpoint) – it’s hard to believe he would give Contador and Froome too much bother. He did seem to be picking up form in the last week of the Tour and Movistar are putting some real firepower behind him, with Alejandro Valverde (33/1) and Nairo Quintana riding for him, so he might just surprise us.

Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Igor Anton (20/1) just needs to get through the opening team time trial and individual time trial without too much of a deficit – Carrots aren’t especially known for their team time trialling ability [that’s putting it kindly – Ed] – and the mountain top-finishes in the last week could easily get him into the top five. Robert Gesink (Rabobank, 33/1), took a solid win in the Tour of California and there were high hopes for him in July, but his Tour de France went absolutely nowhere. With a few crashes and then no legs, he was forced to abandon on stage 11, so we can expect him to ride all out for the next three weeks to try to salvage the summer for both himself and his team.

Thomas de Gendt, 2012 Giro final TT (Image courtesy of Davide Calabresi)

Vacansoleil-DCM’s Thomas De Gendt (50/1) took on the Stelvio in the Giro and rode himself into legend. He missed the Tour this year to get married so he should be fresh and loved-up for this race. While everyone will be watching Froome and Contador, De Gendt might just pull a fast one on some of those monumental mountain stages – and will challenge Froome and Tony Martin in the time trials too. At the very least, let’s keep our fingers crossed that he gives us another spectacular solo stage win!

Mountains classification

David Moncoutie (Cofidis) has won the King of the Mountains jersey for the past four years and he’s hunting for a record fifth. The bookies put him at 6/4 and the incentive of setting this record should give him wings, although the sheer number of summit finishes may make it difficulty for him to gain and then defend the jersey against the big GC contenders. Our view? His odds are more reflective of past performance than a realistic view of this year’s competition. We’re steering clear.

Contador is 5/2 and Rodriguez is 8/1, while Anton (14/1), Cobo (16/1) and Froome (20/1) also feature prominently. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana, 20/1) held the KoM jersey in the Tour for eight stages before Thomas Voeckler decided that the polka dots were for him and outfoxed and outrode him. It would be worth keeping an eye on him in this race. He’s no threat for the GC, so may be allowed to slip away in breakaways to mop up big points.

Points classification

The mountains-heavy profile of this year’s race means the points classification is weighted towards the pure, explosive climbers rather than their pure, explosive sprint counterparts. This is reflected in the bookies’ odds, with six of the top seven identified riders being pure climbers. Contador and Rodriguez are joint favourites at 7/4, with Froome, Valverde, Anton and Cobo all 25/1 or better.

Having said that, we reckon there are nine stages with the potential to end in a bunch sprint – stages two, five, seven, ten, 11, 13, 18, 19 and 21 – although you can be sure a breakaway will scoop up at least one or two of these, particularly later in the race. And, as the old adage goes: to finish first, one must first finish. On the one hand, the trio of monster climbing days which conclude the second week (stages 14-16) may convince many sprinters to climb off their bikes and head for the beach. On the other, with none of the big sprinting names – Cavendish, Sagan, Greipel, Goss – present here, it is a real opportunity for someone new to make their mark with a slew of stage victories. Any fast-twitch man who survives beyond the second rest day will be salivating at the prospect of a potential closing hat-trick, as three of the last four stages are flat.

Swift could challenge in the points competition, though we think he will target stage wins instead (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Possibilities? Sky’s Ben Swift (16/1) is running into form, winning two stages and the points jersey at last month’s Tour of Poland. His most likely rival is Argos-Shimano’s ‘other’ German sprinter, John Degenkolb (28/1), who has been overshadowed this year by teammate Marcel Kittel but claimed a win in Poland. Both could potentially challenge for the jersey if they can string together a series of victories. But Degenkolb lacks consistency, while Swift will have to contend with the fact that Sky will prioritise Froome over him, just as they did for Wiggins over Cavendish at the Tour.

Among the other sprinters, the target is more likely to be stage victories than the points jersey. New French national champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat, 50/1) has won plenty of smaller races this year, and will hope to make an impact on the big stage with a stage or two. Looking further afield, there is experience in Orica-GreenEDGE’s Allan Davis and RadioShack-Nissan’s Daniele Bennati, raw speed in Rabobank’s Lars Boom and Liquigas’ Elia Viviani, and Classics heavy-hitters in Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Alessandro Ballan (BMC).

It’s a genuinely tough call which way the points competition will go – climber or sprinter? – and it could provide the most interesting battle of the final week, as both the GC and mountains classifications could well be settled long before Madrid.

VeloVoices Vuelta a Espana previews

Teams and sponsors (part 1)

Teams and sponsors (part 2)

Key stages

Link: Vuelta a Espana official website

Tour de France review: The Tour in numbers

Key race facts

3,497 – In kilometres, this year’s total race distance.

87:34:47 – Total race time for overall winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky), an average speed of 39.93kph.

153 – Number of finishers, out of 198 starters.

2 – Only two riders wore the leader’s yellow jersey during the race: Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and Wiggins.

Sagan dominated the green jersey race (image courtesy of Danielle Haex)

2 – Only two riders led the green jersey points competition during the race: Cancellara and Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale). Cancellara led the competition for the first two days, Sagan for all 19 thereafter.

4 – Number of riders who led the polka dot jersey King of the Mountains competition: Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Chris Froome (Sky), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) and the eventual winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

19Tejay van Garderen (BMC) led the white jersey young rider competition for 19 of the 21 stages. (Cofidis’ Rein Taaramae held the jersey for two days mid-race.)

3:57:36 – Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) was the last classified finisher, three hours and 57 minutes slower than Wiggins. The final stage to Paris took 49 minutes less to complete.

The champion

32 – Age of Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins’ dominance was built on his two TT wins (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

3:21 – Wiggins’ final winning margin over teammate Chris Froome.

1 – Wiggins became the first British rider to take overall victory at any of the three Grand Tours. Before this year, no Briton had ever finished higher than fourth.

4 – Previous best performance at the Tour, in 2009.

2 – Stages won by Wiggins during the race, both individual time trials.

4 – Wiggins has now won four major stage races in 2012: Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour.

1 – Victory at the Tour has propelled Wiggins to the top of the latest UCI WorldTour rider rankings (and consolidated Sky’s position at the top of the team rankings).

The stage winners

13 – Number of different stage winners.

Greipel increased his Tour tally from one to four victories (image courtesy of Lotto-Belisol)

5 – Number of riders with multiple stage victories: Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) won three each, while Thomas Voeckler and Bradley Wiggins claimed two apiece.

6 – Different nationalities who won stages: Britain led the way with seven, followed by France (five), Germany and Slovakia (three each), Spain (two) and Switzerland (one).

12 – Between them, British and French riders won 12 of the Tour’s 21 stages.

0 – Italian riders failed to win a single stage.

9 – Just nine of the 22 teams won stages during the race, with Sky leading the way with six – three for Cavendish, two for Wiggins, one for Froome – including the last three in a row (Cavendish, Wiggins, Cavendish).

4Mark Cavendish has now won the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in each of the past four editions.

1 – Yesterday’s win by Cavendish in Paris marked the first time the reigning world champion has won on the Champs-Élysées.

23 – Cavendish now has 23 career Tour stage wins, overtaking Andre Darrigade to move into fourth all-time. Eddy Merckx leads the way with 34.

And a few other random stats …

99 – This was the 99th running of the Tour. Prior to the start of the race, the 198 participating riders had won a total of 99 Tour stages.

The oldest swinger in town (image courtesy of RadioShack-Nissan)

40 – Age of Jens Voigt and Chris Horner, both of RadioShack-Nissan, the two oldest riders in the race. Voigt turns 41 in September, Horner in October.

22 – Age of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ-BigMat), the youngest rider in the race. Peter Sagan is also 22. The pair won four stages between them (Sagan three, Pinot one), and were the first Tour stage winners ever to have been born in the 1990s.

16 – Racing days between Mark Cavendish‘s wins on stages two and 18 – his longest ever drought between victories at the Tour.

5 – Top three finishes for Orica-GreenEDGE sprinter Matt Goss – but no wins (two seconds, three thirds).

29Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) had double cause for celebration in Paris. As well as completing the race, Sunday was also his 29th birthday.

17George Hincapie (BMC) started a record-setting 17th Tour this year. He completed all but one of them.

Some data is courtesy of Infostrada Sports.

Link: Tour de France official website