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Watch: The best cycling moments on YouTube to fill the isolation boredom

Joe Robinson
26 Mar 2020

Cyclist found seven legendary racing moments for you to watch on Youtube during your coronavirus lockdown

The days are all rolling into one. In fact, you’re not quite sure what day of the week it is and you have already rearranged the bookshelf to be ordered by the date of original publication.

All you know is that you need to stay at home, wash your hands, listen to government guidelines on social distancing and watch pro cycling highlights on YouTube.

That final point is the most important one because it’s the one that’s going to keep you sane as we all try to get through this.

Us cycling fans have been stripped of any live racing, and while it's merely irrelevant compared to the bigger issues we face right now, the lack of our favourite TV pastime does contribute to our growing struggles of adjusting to these unique times.

So as a replacement, Cyclist web writer Joe Robinson spent one evening this week finding his seven favourite cycling moments for you to watch on Youtube, enjoy!

The best cycling moments on YouTube

Paris-Roubaix 2016: Matty Hayman beats the G.O.A.T Tom Boonen

What a race! What an absolute race this was!

Some bright spark at Eurosport thought it would be good to live broadcast the entire 260km of the 2016 Paris-Roubaix race and what an absolute masterstroke that was because this was a stonewall classic.

Mark Cavendish trying to get in the early morning break is what I remember first. Then German panzerwagen Tony Martin splitting the peloton to pieces in the Arenberg Forest and there’s Mat Hayman’s comeback on the Carrefour de l’Arbre.

Hayman, at the 15th time of asking, conquered the Roubaix cobbles and there was not a dry eye in the house at the finishing line. In his first race back after breaking his arm at Omloop six weeks earlier, it was a victory for the workhorses, for the domestiques, rolling one of the greatest Classics riders of all time in the process, Tom Boonen. You couldn’t script it.

Unfortunately, while we couldn’t find all seven hours on YouTube for your viewing pleasure, we could find the final 70 minutes here.

Giro d’Italia 2018, Stage 19: Chris Froome’s big adventure

Let me cut it straight, I’m not the biggest fan of Chris Froome. It’s not so much the fact he rides for cycling’s version of The Empire, it’s just that he can be quite boring.

Polite and pleasant, but bloody boring both in manor and racing craft. That’s until he heads into the 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia needing to make a whopping 3 minutes 22 seconds up on Simon Yates in the Maglia Rosa.

That’s when he and his Team Sky teammates execute one of the maddest, baddest and raddest plans in recent cycling history. With 80km left to go on the gravely slopes of the Colle delle Finestre, Froome went full beans and never looked back.

A ‘Landis’ as George Bennett described it at the finishing line, Froome was in pink by the end of the day and, as they say, the rest is history.

Tour de France 1998, Stage 15: Marco Pantani tames the Galibier

My only memories of Marco Pantani come from watching grainy footage on YouTube. His life ended when I was just 10 years old so I was never blessed with watching him at work, live.

But in watching hours upon hours of Marco on YouTube, I’ve come to the conclusion that there has never been a more naturally gifted climber than Pantani.

That small Italian swashbuckling pirate seemed born to ride a bike up mountains. Riding on the flats seemed almost uncomfortable for ‘Il Pirata’ yet when the road headed skyward, he became this poetic figure almost at one with the bike below him.

While I’d argue his performance a year later on the Colle Fauniera was better, it’s the Galibier in which Pantani is best known for. Barely visible in the pouring rain, Pantani shot out the peloton like a cannonball with 11km still to climb on the Galibier and a summit finish to Les Deux Alpes still on the cards.

By the end of the day, Pantani had turned a three-minute deficit on the Maillot Jaune to almost a four-minute lead. Proper racing, that.

Tour de France 2009, Stage 15: ‘The Look’

That look, man. I think that look is what made me fall in love with Alberto Contador.

Lance Armstrong was and still is the man (don’t @ me). On the comeback trail, a seven-time Tour champion that nobody messed with and yet that svelte little pistol-wielding Spaniard could not give two hoots.

I’m convinced that Contador looked into Armstrong’s soul with that look on the slopes to Verbier that day.

The best bit is how livid Johan Bruyneel gets in the car with Contador. He knew that move could be ruining his mate Lance’s chance of a podium and that he had done it completely on purpose.

As soon as Contador goes, he knows both Andy and Frank Schleck can follow and that Lance cannot and that is exactly why he attacked. Us millennials have a word for that: sauce.

Contador had his controversies, sure, but he was an incredibly entertaining rider who would either go big or go home.

Tour Series 2017, Durham: Introducing Tom Pidcock

On a damp evening in Durham back in May 2017, the cycling world was introduced to a young boy called Tom Pidcock.

Sure, the 17-year-old had already made waves by winning the junior cyclocross World Championships earlier that year, but it was this Tour Series victory that really made us all sit up in our chairs.

Not least the way this child simply rode the entire field off his wheel to become the first guest rider ever to win a round of the Tour Series, it was that bike change on the final lap that really caught the headlines.

Hopping off the bike at speed, he doesn’t even break stride to pick up his replacement rig. How did he do it? In road cleats, too! If any of us tried that, we’d find ourselves swiftly on our backsides.

Since Durham, Pidcock’s gone on to do huge things and is only bound for one thing: greatness.

But with rainbow jerseys and Roubaix cobbles aplenty, for me, it will take an awful lot to eclipse that performance on the narrow, damp streets of Durham.

La Course, 2018: A lesson in never giving up from Annemiek van Vleuten

Quite possibly, the greatest finish to a bike race ever. I remember watching it live and I think I’ve only just picked up my jaw from the floor.

Never in a month of Sundays did I think Van Vleuten was catching Anna van der Breggen. Even with 150m to go, I had all of my eggs in Van der Breggen’s basket. Plus, Van Vleuten looked empty, she was all over her bike while Van der Breggen still looked so strong.

But that serves me right, I guess, for doubting Van Vleuten. Because if there’s one cyclist you never write off its Annemiek van Vleuten. From the horrifying crash in Rio four years ago, she’s never looked back and never let anything keep her down.

In those four years, she has taken almost every opportunity afforded to her to dominate women’s cycling. And nothing typified Van Vleuten’s never say die attitude better than this day into Le Grand Bornand

Amstel Gold Race, 2019: The Mathieu Van der Poel show

Scratch the above, I’m having second thoughts. I think this is the greatest finish to a bike race ever.

Because, unlike Van Vleuten's win, Mathieu van der Poel’s victory really should not have happened because I’m not sure it is even scientifically possible. Actually, I’ve crunched the numbers, and I’m convinced it is not.

Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang were just so far ahead. And Van der Poel was so far behind. And he sprinted for what seems an eternity. And he didn’t slow down, he just got faster and faster. And he won.

He was still 35 seconds adrift with 3km to go. How did he do it? None of it makes sense, nothing makes sense anymore.

Honestly, watch the highlights, revel in the madness, try and figure it out for yourself because I give up.