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A new bike throw entered the canon of angry bicycle abuse on Sunday at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic. But how does Chris Horner’s throw stack up against five of the all-time best?
Chris Horner: The slo-mo throw bro
Perhaps we are mistaken, but this appears to be the first complete, slow-motion dissection of a professional bike throw. It is thus an important moment for science, much like the first images from the Hubble Telescope. Our eyes are suddenly opened to a world of mouthed curse words, fascinating bike wobbles and interesting wheel wiggles. Recording technology has turned a violent act it something like art; an angry dance that usually passes too quickly for the human eye. The bike throw itself is average at best — Horner fails to attain the distance, height, or velocity of top throws. But our insight into his every movement places Horner’s Philly Throw into the canon of all-time greats.
Height: 5/10 (mostly for the bounce-back)
The bike throw canon:
Bjarne Riis: The classic catapult
Riis’s chuck at the 1997 Tour de France may be the gold standard of bike throws, a perfect balance of velocity, distance, high-stakes racing, and expensive equipment. Apparently that carbon wünder bike cost nearly $20 million to develop.
David Millar: The ballet toss
You’re in a breakaway with three guys, 300 meters from the finish line. You like your chances. The sprint opens up, one hard stroke and then another. Then, SNAP. Your chain breaks. You whack your gentleman’s area on the saddle with unfortunate force. What’s to be done? You dismount to the left and in one beautiful, ballet-like motion, you remove the offending bicycle from your sight.
Millar’s throw at the 2008 Giro is the most artistic of all time. The motion is poetic, unstoppable, beautiful.
Marcel Kittel: The hulk smash
Now that’s a bike throw. Designed for optimal destruction, Kittel’s throw at Tirreno-Adriatico in 2014 is a sibling of Horner’s throw. It seeks neither height nor distance. Rather, it wants to break every bone in that goddamn bike’s body. It was probably successful.
Bradley Wiggins: The soft landing
There is a common thread across all bike throws: a deep and unstoppable need to distance oneself from the offending steed. Wiggins is no different, but he does not do so violently. He sends his bicycle to embrace the rock wall, to kiss it. He is calm. It is a quiet sort of genius.
Jack Bauer: The ditch shot put
There was quite a lot of power behind Bauer’s throw at Gent-Wevelgem in 2015, but we would have liked to see the toss go all the way over the ditch.
Chris Horner kicking his water bottle