Men's Race Day of the Year: Nominations!

Bryn Lennon

My favorite discussion of the year even though I seem to have forgotten more races than I remember come November. Or maybe that's why I like it? Getting reminded of the nuggets of racing during the year through the descriptions of you guys. Remember that in this category we try to focus on single days of racing, not entire races, to keep the comparisons between classics and stageraces manageable.

This is probably the most subjective category. Somehow deciding best riders etc. there is often some tangible factors that you come back to, for instance it's hard to overlook a Tour winner and a double monument winner in favor of some random dude but Best Race Day  is all about the moments that had you standing in the sofa, yelling at the TV with a big grin on your face. So the quality of your nominations matter here folks, you have to sell people on why your favorite day deserves the honor. This isn't the Cyclingnews poll where you can just habitually click the box for "Paris-Roubaix". And on that note I'll start off with a few nominations of my own:

1: PARIS - ROUBAIX
What? I can't throw Roubaix into the mix? Seriously, I usually enjoy Roubaix a lot and it's a great wrap for the cobbles weeks, but this year it was something special. The slowly building crescendo. The forming of the lead group with the surprise OPQS duo of Vandenbergh and Stybar, the re-emerged from an ill timed injury Vanmarcke and the ever impressive Cancellara who came from a position behind where he looked in danger of missing the finale. Then the drama that followed. The misfortunes of the Steppers including the heartbreaking end to Stybar's surprise-ride of the year, the surge of Sep and Cance on the Carrefour de l'Arbre and the dual between the two that followed. And then of course the bitter tears of Sep as he missed the greatest opportunity so far in his young career. Fantastic race.

2: Tour de France Stage 9
I usually tend to end up enjoying some obscure days the best, some random stage in Eneco or a wednesday classic in Belgium, but this year the bigs go high on my list. Stage 9 was the second Pyrénée stage. After a bland-ish and predictably Sky dominated opener the day before fears were being realized, besides promising signs from Quintana it looked to be another total Sky-fest. Then, Stage 9. And chaos.
It was a stage that blew up as soon as it hit the first of 5 nasty climbs. It was as if the whole peloton had decided to screw over Sky right from the start and people where attacking left and right causing the Skybots to collapse like a house of cards, including Lieutenant Porte whohad briefly looked to be the new Lieutenant Froome. Then most of the stage was a wild scramble as Garmin, Movistar and Saxo all tried and ultimately failed to capitalize on the weakness of Froome's team. In the end the finale was a bit of a dud as headwinds and a long downhill run-in to the finish neutralized things but it was a crazy anarchic stage that we rarely see in the GTs these days.

3: Tour de France Stage 13
If stage 9 was anarchic, the fabulous crosswinds stage to Saint Amand Montrond was a lawless, beautiful work of art. The aggression of OmegaPharma that sparked it all, using their Belgian racing DNA to try and win a Tour stage the way they do in April or in Qatar in February, was predictable but still effective. There isn't really a defense against full aggression like that when the conditions are favorable. It might not have made for too much in the end though if Belkin hadn't cunningly chipped in to help with doubled effort as Valverde got himself into trouble. And then, as it looked as if the stage had peaked, Saxo threw their hat in the ring spitting Froome out the back with an additional surge. Cavendish was always at the front, as instigator, contributor and smart benefactor of the final move by Saxo, and in the end he took what I think is his most beautiful stage win to date in the Tour. Once again we saw action we hardly thought possible in the Tour and it was brilliant.

And with that I open the floor to your nominations. Surely someone has to mention the Eneco for instance?

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