The final stage started in Marcoussis just south west of Paris, the riders seeming more as if they were on a leisurely Sunday afternoon outing than on the world’s most famous and most demanding bicycle race. The route looped away from Paris before heading past La Fontaine-aux-Cossons with its chateau, Château du Marais, near to Val-Saint-Germain, the town, church and chateau at Rochefort en Yvelines, Le Plessis Robinson (the camera zoomed into a distant Paris and what looked like the Eiffel Tower), the Paris Observatory at Maudon and Boulogne Billancourt on the River Seine. From here on the route crossed the River at Pont de Grenelle passing the famous sights of Central Paris through the Rue de Rivoli, Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Gardens, The Louvre Museum with its glass Pyramid and the Arc de Triomphe making eight circuits before crossing the final finish line on the Champs-Elysées.
In the end the victory for the final stage went to Daniele Bennati. Contador retained his yellow jersey as overall winner, Boonen the green points jersey and Soler the Polka Dot for ‘King of the Mountains’. Contador also won the white jersey for best young rider, which was worn by third placed rider Txurruka as Soler had won the Polka dot. Txurruka was awarded the overall combative prize for the entire Tour and Discovery was named the first placed team.
(Soler, Boonen, Contador, Txurruka – Tour de France 2007 – picture from the official Tour de France site)
RESULTS (British riders in italics)
COMBATIVE – Freddy Bichot (Agritubel)
SUPER COMBATIVE (race overall) – Amets Txurruka (Euskatel)
LEADING TEAM – Discovery Channel Team
2nd Caisse d’Épargne – 3rd Team CSC
This year, as usual, we saw some wonderful scenery but it was not the happiest of Tours, marred by positive drug testing incidents, rumour and speculation and an overall air of mistrust. It was such a pity that those who had committed no offence were, in some cases, penalised along with those who were. The organisers have a year, less three weeks, until the 2008 Tour and it is hoped that changes can be brought in so that the fiasco of 2007 is never repeated. Alberto Contador is a great young name for the future of cycling and it is hoped that next year he will be on form so that he can defend his crown, possibly winning it outright and without taking it from the shadow of a disgraced rider.
There is already some information about the 2008 race route, which can be found on the Steephill site.