The image of Chris Froome scrambling up Mont Ventoux on foot will surely become one of most famous in Tour de France history, but it tells you more about the man than the race.
Froome’s moment of panic after his bike was broken amid chaotic scenes on the packed mountain could have cost him his third Tour title until the race jury intervened.
But his reaction to an unprecedented situation tells you why the quiet 31-year-old has conquered cycling’s greatest race once again.
“I think if anything it shows my will to win, how badly I wanted it,” he said.
“Even though I’ve won two Tours that doesn’t change anything for me, that doesn’t make me complacent, it doesn’t make me feel as if I want it any less.
“Even though this is now my third victory, each one is so special, it could be the first one all over again, and I was going to fight for it just as hard, if not even harder, because I know how special it is.”
The Bastille Day stage to the Giant of Provence was designed to be the highlight of this year’s Tour, but gale-force winds at the summit compelled organisers to move the finish line midway down the mountain to Chalet Reynard at short notice.
With little time to move the barriers and hundreds of thousands of fans compacted onto a shorter stretch of road, it was pandemonium on the mountain as the riders approached.
Froome was trying to attack along with Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema when Porte struck a motorbike which had been forced to stop by the crowds and the others piled into him.
“A bit of panic,” Froome said of what went through his head. “I tried to get back on my bike, it’s a natural instinct, but I could see my bike was in bits.
“I don’t think I even gave it a second thought. I was just over a kilometre from the finish, the (support) car was nowhere near by. I need to get closer to that finish line however I can and that’s running.”
Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford has said that Froome’s quiet demeanour masks the fierce determination within, but this Tour has seen it shine through.
He proved it when he launched himself off the descent of the Col d’Aspin, snatching the yellow jersey before his rivals realised what had happened.
Three days later, his surprise attack alongside Peter Sagan as crosswinds smashed the race to pieces on the road to Montpellier made a big impact.
And then it was writ large on the slopes of Ventoux.
“I think as this race has gone on people have got to me know me a little bit better, know my character a little bit better,” he said.
“I think people have found it hard to relate to me in the past, that’s just the way I am, I’m not necessarily a hugely outgoing kind of guy.
“But I think if anything my true colours have come out in this race. I have been pushed to the limit in every aspect possible.
“There’s no way anyone can say the racing style is boring and predictable as they have in the past.”
He added: “I’ve felt a huge, huge shift in the way the French have received us this year. It has just been incredible support.”