95th Tour de France - Stage 21
The Grand Parade to Paris. The Champagne is flowing and the traditional
tomfoolery will be present as the race progress towards the French capital and
the finish on the Champs Elysees.
Stage 21 Etampes - Paris Champs Elysees 143km
Welcome to the 21st and final stage of the Tour de France from Etampes to Paris
Champs-Elysees over 143 km. Carlos Sastre the winner of the 2008 Tour de France
bar accidents. This stage is a traditional parade to Paris with the annual photo
shoots of the jersey winners shaking hands, drinking champagne and doing crazy
Both Auge and stage winner Dumoulin of Cofidis traded helmets with a
photographer and his motard of L'Equipe. It looked crazy two little French guys
with big motorcycle helmets on their head. We will have more traditional tomfoolery
throughout the stage as the race
progress towards the French capital. With two last opportunities for mountain
and sprint points on the way to Paris.
There are two forth category climbs within five kilometres of each other early
on, though these may not even be contested as Bernard Kohl of Gerolsteiner is
the undisputed leader in the climbers competition with the jersey locked up on
the final climbing stages. After that, there are thirty more
kilometres under the reach enters the centre of Paris, and soon after begins the
nine laps of the finishing circuit.
At the moment we have 95 km left as they are on the penultimate cat 4. climb Remy les Chevreuse
of this years Tour de France. Cancellara dumped the water out of his bidon to
refill it with champagne Mountain King Bernhard Kohl takes the points on
that first climb. It was a prestigious sprint against two sprinters Eisel and
Steegmans. Steegmans was about to get it but Kohl made a late jump after he got
a push on his back from Eisel to make some more speed.
Carlos Sastre, who has been congratulated by almost the whole bunch, has a
busy schedule after the Tour de France. After the traditional party this evening
in Paris he will travel tomorrow morning to Belgium. In Belgium he will visit
his fan club first and will then go to a local hospital to visit kids with
cancer. Sastre is very committed to kids and he and his fan club are proud to do
charity work with kids.
In the evening he will also ride the post tour criterium of Aalst. On Tuesday
he will travel to the Netherlands for the post-tour criterium of Stiphout before
traveling home to Spain. In Spain it's likely that he will be honored too. Then
he has Thursday and Friday for a bit of rest before leaving for
China/Beijing for the Olympic Games. Sastre is selected for the Spanish team.
The website of Carlos Sastre his fan club in Belgium is:
Back to the race still 92 km to go - If we take an overview of the teams in
the Tour we can conclude that 10 teams didn't win a stage in this years Tour de
France namely Euskaltel, Barloworld, Liquigas, Lampre, Quick Step, Agritubel,
Bouygues Telecom, Milram, La Francaise des Jeux and Garmin Chipotle. For them
they have one opportunity left to win a stage and that's today. But nevertheless
Agritubel had one day the yellow jersey with Roman Feillu and that for a small
team as Agritubel is quite an accomplishment.
Euskaltel attacked a lot but they always seemed to fall short. The best
result was a second place for Egoi Martinez to Prato Nevoso and a 2nd place for
Samuel Sanchez on Alpe D'Huez. Sanchez also finishes in seventh in the Tour de
France. Barloworld had a less than good Tour de France, that seemed to go from one disaster
to the next. First there team leader Soler crashing injuring his wrist. Soler
came to the tour recovering from a fractured wrist and tried to battle on in
spite of injuries to both wrists; in the end he had to abandon the race. Next
was positive doping test for Duenas who was pulled out of the race, followed by abandons
of other riders due to crashes. Sprinter Hunter, lacking support battled for a
stage win but failed to collect much but a few top tens.
Liquigas sadly started with a positive test for Beltran who never started the
race. The team got a lot of TV time at the front; leading the chase. A positive
for the team were the days in the maillot
blanc for Vincenzo Nibali; 13th place overall of Kreuziger who warred with Andy
Schleck to stage 20 for the best young rider. All and all, Liquigas showed they
have two talented young guns to watch in the future.
Lampre and Quick Step had high expectations for the Tour with Cunego and
Devolder for the GC. But both have left the Tour. Cunego due to a crash and
Devolder disillusioned after his off day on Hautacam. Quick Step also missed Tom
Boonen as their sprinter Gert Steegmans try as he did, hasn't collected a
victory for the sprinters team in blue and white.
Bouygues Telecom and La Francaise des Jeux made their mark by attacking
almost daily during le Tour. La FDJ was
three times second with Sebastien Chavanel, Jeremy Roy and Sandy Casar. Gilbert
came close to a stage win. Bouygues Telecom had the polka dot jersey for a while
with Thomas Voeckler but they never came close to a stage win try as they did.
Both teams can leave the tour happy to have flown the name of their sponsors for
hours on TV while in the breaks.
1557 CEST - 81 km to go, The Gerolsteiner
team leads the peloton at a leisurely pace at the moment through a series of
roundabouts. Last but not least of the teams without a stage win are Milram and
Garmin/Chipotle. Milram had evergreen Erik Zabel as team leader; Erik is
second in the points ranking and consistently finished in the top10 in the
sprint stages. Milram also showed themselves well in the breaks with Terpstra,
Velo and Velits.
Garmin/Chipotle is fifth in the teams classification for the 2008 Tour de
France with the surprising performance by Christian Vandevelde. Vandevelde rode
consistently in the race and stayed at the top ranks of the G.C. throughout that
had many fans hoping for a podium appearance for the American rider. Will Frischkorn
and Danny Pate did well with a 2nd and 3rd place in a stage in their first Tour
de France participation. Jonathan Vaughters and the team can be proud of their
first appearance in tour.
The teams who logged greater success this year are Caisse D'Epargne with
stage wins by Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez. Valverde who finishes the Tour in
9th will add a second stage as well, if Riccardo Ricco's b-sample tests
positive. The loss of Pereiro due to his crash on a descent didn't help the lads
in the slick red and black jerseys.
Newly named Team Columbia Sportswear, (formerly Team High Road) had a very successful
tour. Marcus Burghardt won the stage to Saint-Etienne while top sprinter Mark
Cavendish won no less than four stages. They even had the yellow,
green jersey and white jersey for a few early stages this year. Team manager Bob Stapleton must be very proud of his boys. Kim Kirchen
had a stint in yellow and will finish in 8th place today.
Credit Agricole won two stages one with Thor Hushovd and one with Simon
Gerrans. Hushovd is also third in the points ranking but was hampered in his
effort in the final weeks due to illness. The team is
still looking for a new sponsor I hope the two stage wins were enough to
77 km to go, French teams - Ag2r and Cofidis did well and can be
Ag2r won the stage to Jausiers with Cyril Dessel and Vladimir Efimkin who
finished second in the stage to Bagneres-de-Bigorre. Efimkin will claim the
stage victory if and when Ricco is removed from the winners list.
Cofidis was the most attractive team in this years Tour de France. They had
the most attacking kilometers with serial escapees: Dumoulin, Auge, Chavanel and
Brard and also won two stages with Dumoulin and Chavanel. If there were a trophy
for most aggressive team or TV exposure the award would certainly go to the team
in red & yellow. Well done!
The German Gerolsteiner team had an excellent tour; but like Credit Agricole
is currently in search for a new main sponsor. Gerolsteiner used the Tour de
France to advertise themselves in a positive way. Stefan Schumacher won both
time-trials and wore the maillot jaune for three days. Bernhard Kohl finishes a
surprising third in the Tour de France and is winner of the Polka dot jersey.
Sebastian Lang also had the mountains jersey for a stage before passing it to
teammate Kohl. Luckily all of this should aid the team in finding a new sponsor.
Rabobank came to the Tour with one goal, to win the Tour de France with Denis
Menchov. Menchov will finish today in fourth. Menchov missed a split on the
windy stage, not watching as echelons formed he lost 38 seconds. He also lost
unnecessary seconds on Jausiers
were lost time during bad descent. Rabobank has some positive news with a stage
win and the green jersey for Oscar Freire. Freire is the first Spaniard to win
the green jersey in the Tour.
The story of Saunier Duval we all know. Saunier Duval won three stages. Two
with Riccardo Ricco (Super-Besse and Bagneres-de-Bigorre) and one with Leonardo
Piepoli (Hautacam). Ricco even had the white jersey and the polka dot jersey at
the moment his positive test was announced and had to leave the Tour de France.
Within a day Saunier Duval fired both riders and decided to withdraw the team from the Tour
and competition. Sponsor Saunier Duval announced shortly after that they were
withdrawing financial support and retiring immediately from cycling sponsorship.
The good news for the team of Mauro Gianetti was that bike
supplier SCOTT expressed its support of Gianetti by becoming the main sponsor
for the rest of the season. A few
days later a new co-sponsor, American Beef was announced. The team goes on as SCOTT - American
Last but not least we have CSC Saxo Bank. The worlds number one team won two stages with Carlos Sastre to Alpe
D'Huez and Kurt-Asle Arvesen to Foix. Fränk
Schleck reigned briefly in the maillot jaune before team mate Carlos Sastre took
the lead of the race at the summit of Alpe D'Huez. Sastre was able to defend it in the ITT and is the deserved winner
of the 2008 Tour de France (without any accidents in Paris). Tactically the race
was controlled by the team who worked to test Cadel Evans and Silence/Lotto as
they approached the final week in the alpes.
We have to mention young Andy Schleck and the other guys who did great
work for the team. Andy Schleck was in many people's opinions the best rider
this year. Andy might have finished in the top 5 if not for a bad day to
Hautacam. But Schleck is a great prospect who could win the Tour
in the future. Cancellara, Voigt, Gustov, Sörensen and O'Grady have done a great job
to determine the tactics and controlling the peloton through the final week.
74 km to go, and still easy going as the
parade continues. A few comments aboutSilence-Lotto: Lotto came to the Tour
with one goal to win the race with Cadel Evans. Evans finishes today in second as
Sastre proved the stronger over three weeks. The team didn't win a stage, but Robbie
McEwen finished second once. McEwen still has one chance left to win a stage and
that's today in Paris; and you bet he will be gunning for it. Evans also had the
yellow jersey for a few days before Fränk Schleck took it after the climb
to Prato Nevoso.
In all fairness to Cadel he's fought the good fight with a weaker team,
battered and bruised in almost a single handed battle with one of the strongest
tour teams in tour history composed of national champions and hard men. He might
have given up the jersey after two days, but he fought on suffering
with his injuries. Cadel can be proud of his tour and to stand on the podium
tomorrow. I think Australia and the fans in Oz fans can be proud of him and the
job he's done too.
70 km to go. In about 20 kilometers the
enter the centre of Paris for the final act on the Champs Elysees. They have 8
laps of 6.5 kilometers with 2 intermediate sprints. With the Tour de France win
by Sastre, and Oscar Freire the top sprinter (the first Maillot Vert for Spain) Spain has
had a very successful summer in sports: Tennis player Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros
and Wimbledon, the Spanish football team are the new European Champions. It's
likely that Spain will also win all three Grand Tours: Contador won
the Giro, Sastre wins the Tour and it's likely that Contador or another Spaniard
wins the Vuelta too. But, who will beat Contador in the Vuelta?
CSC now takes the control of the peloton increasing the pace a bit.
Bichot led over the category 4 Cote de Chateaufort followed by Lang, and
Marzano. The riders are in Paris riding alongside the Seine.
Gerald Ciolek, Robbie McEwen, Gert Steegmans, Thor Hushovd and Oscar Freire
will be the riders to watch at the finish in Paris. But maybe a guy like
Cancellara can do what Vinokourov did a few years ago, jumping away just before
the final turn and keeping the sprinters at bay. Historically, the odds are in
favor of a mass sprint finish.
First attacks go off the front of the peloton as they turn on to the champs.
Other cycling news: Paolo Bettini has won
the second stage in the Tour de la Region Wallonne ahead of Greg van Avermaet.
Van avermaet is also the new leader. This race will end on Wednesday. CSC rider Karsten Kroon has won the final stage in the Sachsen Tour. Columbia rider Bert
Grabsch is the final winner.
1643 CEST - 53 km to go, the
peloton has arrived on the
Champs Elysees, one km to the finish line banner. The weather is good with about 29 degrees
Celsius, so the cobblestones are dry and we couldn't have a finer day for the
finish of the tour.
52 km to go as they cross the finish line
now. If your in Paris drop by the Hard Rock Cafe this evening to celebrate with
Silence/Lotto. Vive le Tour !
Riders on the Champs Elysees Photo ©
2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti
First attack of the day. Guess who attacks? Of course - Cofidis
with Stephane Auge. French Champion Nicolas Vogondy is trying to bridge across.
Two leaders now with Vogondy and Auge. Two French guys in front. The two guys
are chased down now by Björn Schröder (Milram) and the rest of the bunch...
Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) and Jurgen van de Walle (Quick Step) are the next
to attack - they too are brought back.
Our Live Coverage continues:
Stage 21 Part
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