We are just one week into the 2015 Tour de France, but it's already been one to remember.
From a blistering Prologue in Utrecht to the cobbles of Cambrai, the Tour has treated us to a memorable first seven stages. We've already seen some amazing performances, but we've picked five we won't soon forget.
1. Cancellara isn't done yet. "Spartacus" battled all spring to recover from fractured vertebrae. He showed he was certainly on track at the Tour de Swiss, near the mark in the Prologue, then battled on the second stage to get just enough in time bonuses to take the yellow jersey. From a hospital bed in March to the head of the biggest race in the world.....
2. ...and back out again. Cancellara then crashed out, in yellow, just before the stage he must have had circled over the pave of Northern France. While unconfirmed, it was already rumored to be his last Tour appearance, it would be an absolute shame to have our last Tour memories be of such a great champion on the ground.
3. Deja Vu. It was just days later that the Tour repeated itself. After a gutsy attack on cobble specialist's terrain, he rode into yellow on Stage Four after coming up just short the three days prior. It was just 24 hours later that he crashed at the base of the steep Mur de Huy. It provided one of the most memorable moments of the Tour ever, with the reigning World Champion and two teammates pushing the obviously pained yellow jersey to the finish. Martin bowed out that night, and Stage Five saw no yellow jersey in the peloton, with the next leader, Chris Froome, opting not to wear it out of respect to Martin.
4. Cobbles. For the second year in a row and the fifth time in four years, the Tour hit the cobbles. They never disappoint. While the race failed to explode as it has in years past, the ebb and flow of the longest stage of the 2015 event was as exciting to watch as any mountain, sprint or time trial in history. Martin's win on the day, and the frustration of Classics men like Greg van Avermaet and John Degenkolb, proves how fickle a mistress the pave can be.
5. The Hopes of France Falter. Romain Bardet, Thibault Pinot and JC Peraud are already a good ways back on GC, time they'll be hard-pressed to gain back in the high mountains with the form Froome, Contador and Nibali are on. Nairo Qunitana, too, finds himself looking up to the other main contenders, but after last year's big results, it's France that has to be the most disappointed. FDJ and AG2R have both promised that they'll be aggressive in the mountains, and July 14, Bastille Day, just so happens to be the first stage in the high mountains for 2015.