Top attacks of 2012: Six moments that stand out

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Dec. 28, 2012
  • Updated Dec. 28, 2012 at 11:40 AM EDT
Joaquim Rodríguez powered away with his first classics win on the Mur de Huy at Flèche Wallonne in April 2012. Photo: Graham Watson |

Attacking — it’s the juice that moves cycling. It’s the raison d’être for the sport.

The look and feel of aggression, however, have changed over the past few years as the sport has slowly tried to clean up its act.

Gone are the big-ring attacks over first category climbs with three Alpine summits to go to the finish. Today’s cycling is more controlled, more a test of holding on as long as possible, pushing power meters to the maximum. “Attacks off the back,” when a rider blows, are more the norm in what’s become a brutal race of attrition.

Attacks, when they do come, are typically shorter, more intense, perhaps more credible.

In a year when the Tour de France was won with nary an attack from Bradley Wiggins, there were still plenty of indelible moments.

The 2012 season was packed with thrilling moves, from Tom Boonen’s long-distance attack to win Paris-Roubaix for a fourth time to Alberto Contador’s do-or-die aggression late in the Vuelta a España that saw Joaquim Rodríguez crumble like the Spanish economy.

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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