Montereau-Fault-Yonne – Paris Champs-Élysées (164 km)
Today saw the final and most prestigious stage of the world’s greatest bike race after what has been a enjoyable, good humoured, scandal free and very watchable three weeks. There was time for the usual fun and chatting, with time to drink champagne toasts during the early kilometres. Everything changed as Paris was reached and we were being treated to great views of the riders along with the usual stunning views of Paris. I particularly enjoyed the close up views of the obelisk decorated with hieroglyphics originally from Luxor in Ancient Egypt and now on the Place de la Concorde, not just once but every time the race went around the circuit of central Paris. In my photo above, taken at just under 26 km to go, the serious racing was well underway.
I have enjoyed recording the scenery and locations the Tour has passed this year. The Vuelta d’Espana starts on 29th August and I may well do the same for that!
This just had to be the best finish of the entire tour, at least as far as final stage winner Mark Cavendish was concerned. He had wanted this stage so badly, almost more than any of the others. His determination showed as he won by a huge margin, aided by his team and in particular this time by Team Columbia-HTC team mate and lead out man Mark Renshaw who won himself second place. In the end it wasn’t enough to reclaim the green jersey but without the points deduction earlier in the race it would probably have belonged to Cavendish. It wasn’t just Cavendish who had huge success in this tour. Bradley Wiggins held on to his 4th place overall, the best ever Tour ride by a Briton and was only 37 seconds behind 3rd placed Lance Armstrong. Next year should be really worth watching! In the end Alberto Contador was a worthy yellow jersey winner with a lead of more than 4 minutes over second placed Andy Schleck, who also won the white jersey awarded to the best rider under 25. The Polka dot climber’s jersey and the super-combativity prize was won by Franco Pellizotti and the green jersey by Thor Hushovd.
Super-Combative rider Franco Pellizotti
Stage 1 – Fabian Cancellara (to wear yellow for Stage 2) – 3rd Bradley Wiggins
Stage 2 – Mark Cavendish (will wear green for Stage 3)
Stage 3 – Mark Cavendish (will wear green for Stage 4)
Stage 4 – Team Astana
Stage 5 – Thomas Voeckler – 3rd Mark Cavendish
Stage 6 – Thor Hushovd
Stage 7 – Brice Feillu
Stage 8 – Luis León Sánchez
Stage 9 – Pierrick Fédrigo
Stage 10 – Mark Cavendish
Stage 11 – Mark Cavendish (regains green for Stage 12)
Stage 12 – Nicki Sørensen
Stage 13 – Heinrich Haussler
Stage 14 – Sergei Ivanov
Stage 15 – Alberto Contador (to wear yellow for Stage 16 onwards)
Stage 16 – Mikel Astarloza
Stage 17 – Frank Schleck
Stage 18 – Alberto Contador
Stage 19 – Mark Cavendish
Stage 20 – Juan Manuel Garate
Stage 21 – Mark Cavendish
Today’s pictures photographed from Eurosport coverage on Sky HD television.