Victory celebrations are probably my favorite part of professional cycling. Like a well-orchestrated end-zone dance, the victory salute is like the candy in the piñata. And the sweetness of Peter Sagan’s victories in Stage 1 and 3 of this year’s Tour de France got me thinking about the best celebrations of all time. My only criteria for evaluating an effective victory declaration are creativity, originality and pure entertainment value.
5. Johan Museeuw One Leg Salute, 2000 Paris-Roubaix
Museeuw suffered a horrible crash in the 1988 edition of Paris-Roubaix where he shattered his knee. He nearly lost his entire leg from an infection, but the Belgian persevered and came back to win his second Paris-Roubaix in 2000. This iconic victory salute is a tribute to his leg that he’s grateful to have attached to his body.
4. Juan Antonio Flecha Bow and Arrow, 2003 Tour de France
Flecha became the first rider born in Argentina to win a stage at the Tour de France. His bow and arrow salute is a tribute to his family name, which translates from Spanish to arrow.
3. Robbie McEwen Running Man, 2006 Tour de France
Robbie McEwen dominated the points classification at the 2006 Tour de France, winning three stages en route to his third career green jersey. Peter Sagan gave a nice tribute to McEwen in his 2012 Stage 3 celebration. For a more comprehensive display of McEwen’s sprinting prowess, check out this video.
2. Carlos Sastre Pacifier, 2003 Tour de France
What better way to dedicate a stage win to your infant daughter than to suck on a pacifier while you cross the finish line? Well, there’s probably plenty of better ways but this was awesome! The forethought required to pull this one off is impressive.
1. Mark Cavendish Phone Call, 2009 Tour de France
Cav has had so many great salutes it’s hard to pick just one for this list, but his phone call was pure genius and much appreciated from the team’s new sponsor at the time, HTC. The Boy Wonder gets quite a bit of hate from the cycling world, but he certainly knows how to give some love for his sponsors.