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95th Tour de France - Stage 21 Live Part 2
By Staff
Date: 7/27/2008
95th Tour de France - Stage 21 Live Part 2

95th Tour de France - Stage 21 Part 2
Arrival and finish on the Champs Elysees.

Stage 21 Etampes - Paris Champs Elysees, 143km
First attack of the day. Guess who attacks? Of course, Cofidis' Stephane Auge. French Champion Nicolas Vogondy is trying to bridge across. Two leaders now - Vogondy and Auge. The two are chased down by Björn Schröder (Milram) leading  the rest of the bunch.... Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) and Jurgen van de Walle (Quick Step) are the next ones to attack, they too are quickly brought back.

Freire and Sastre enter the Champs. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Now two Spaniards attempt a gap: Xavier Florencio and José Ivan Gutierrez. they cross the finish now for the second time; 7 laps to go. First intermediate sprint: Gutierrez takes points and cash ahead of Florencio and a Rabobank rider taking third.

44 km to go - Posthuma was the Rabobank rider taking third. Gutierrez (Caisse) does the most work in the break. Florencio a former winner of the Classica San Sebastian is glad he can follow, the gap is 5 seconds. Gutierrez and Florencio have been caught as Milram takes charge of the pace. Jerome Pineau (Bouygues) on the attack... but it's hard to get away with the fast pace, and he is back as fast as I type he has attacked. The pace goes up a notch.

1659 CEST - Pineau persists and explodes off the front, Brard, Luis Leon Sanchez, Kreuziger follow... 7 leaders at the moment with the bunch at 2 seconds It's Nibali - not Kreuziger. 3rd finish passage, 6 laps to go. All back together, again!

Bram Tankink on the attack now with Arnaud Gerard. 6 leaders now - caught... no getting away from the fast moving bunch. Team CSC again at the head of affairs. 145 survivors are flying around the Champs with the Arc de Triomphe in a high speed ballet on two wheels.

35 km to go, French Champion Nicolas Vogondy attacks again together with Carlos Barredo. Barredo finished second behind Marcus Burghardt at the St Etienne stage. They are crossing the finish line now, 5 laps of 6,5 km to go. Still Vogondy and Barredo up front The gap is up to 10 seconds, CSC continues to lead with a furious pace but the duo resist.

1708 CEST - 30 km to go, Vogondy we remember from the first stage won by Mark Cavendish. Vogondy rode in the break all day and was caught 50 meters before the finish by the sprinting bunch. A pity and a little frustrating for the French champion. Behind, Ag2r's José Luis Arrieta, the fourth on Prato Nevoso launches a counter attack off the front.

26 km to go, Vogondy and Barredo have 20 seconds on the bunch. Arrieta is pulled back in by the chase. The pace rises another notch again as the peloton strings out behind the chase led by CSC.

1715 CEST - 25 km to go, our Franco/Spanish duo continue to work well together.. they just passed through the final intermediate sprint; as the sprinters are moving to the front of the bunch. Barredo took the sprint ahead of Vogondy and Gustov. Vogondy and Barredo get the company of Laurent Lefevre and some other guys - six leaders now, with Eisel and Roy up there. The six are caught now... a brave attempt.

Team CSC Saxo Bank leads the peloton on the back of the course.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

21 km to go, The next one to attack is Giampaolo Cheula (Barloworld)

19 km to go, Cheula gets the company of Schumacher, Tankink and Vansummeren... But Bouygues brings the bunch back. 3 laps to go now. Tired legs after 3500 kilometers and 21 days drive through the final kilometers today. Alejandro Valverde at the front putting the pressure on as the peloton stretches out.

1725 CEST - 16 km to go, CSC back at the front, Cofidis and Caisse d'Epargne in line behind them, the pace is very fast to discourage attacks... looks to come down to a final bunch sprint today.

15 km to go, Konstantin Sivstov (Columbia) on the attack with Botcharov and Auge on his wheel.

2 laps to go. 13 km - The three are working well together and they have 5 seconds. CSC continues to lead with Arvesen. Sivtsov, Auge and Botcharov are the three leaders. They do their best, the gap is 6 seconds. The trio pours every ounce of energy into their attempt as Liquigas, and Columbia come to the front to help.

10 km to go - Botcharov alone in the lead. Gerolsteiner comes to the front with Robert Förster. Botcharov has been caught, all together. Gerolsteiner massed at the front behind CSC.

8 km to go, the sprinters are all up there. Would be great to see a battle between the sprinters. A royal battle - with the 'King of Swat' already at home (Cavendish). Arnaud Gerard (FDJ) on the attack under the finish banner - 6.5 km to go Gerard crosses the finish line as he hears the bell ringing the final kilometers of the 2008 tour de France.

6 km to go,  the question remains who will win the final stage, it won't effect the jersey competitions: Sastre wins the Tour, Freire - green, Andy Schleck - white and Bernhard Kohl - the polka dot jersey; only one more winner to decide...  Todays!

5 km to go, Rabobank takes the lead. Gerard has been caught. Attack Phillipe Gilbert (FDJ). Gilbert is caught as Silence-Lotto leads the pace in the bunch for McEwen. Gilbert goes again; with the same result.

1740 CEST - 3 km to go, Columbia comes to the front with Ciolek, Attack again by Sylvain Chavanel. Quick Step moves to the front and takes charge. Chavanel was announced a few minutes ago as winner of the Combativity Trophy for most aggressive rider. Jens Voigt's saddle broke off, slips to the back, Voigt will lose some time today.

1.5 km to go, Chavanel has been caught, with Columbia leading the chase setting up Ciolek.

Final kilometer - Up to the sprint, Schumacher near the front for the sprint too... Quick Step's Steegmans leads at 500 metes...

Freire, Ciolek, Steegmans approach the line... Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Final turn - The sprint has started...Ciolek  and  Steegmans, Steegmans has the upper hand... And the winner is


Gert Steegmans celebrates the win!! Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Steegmans "MAKES" the Tour for Quick Step delivering the prestigious final stage win in Paris... A great and well deserved win for the guy who usually tows Tom Boonen to victory. Steegmans got the gap on Ciolek and held him off at the line. Gerald Ciolek was second, Oscar Freire third adding the points to his already unassailable lead for the Maillot Vert of points leader. Rocking Robbie McEwen fourth and Thor Hushovd fifth.

O'Grady congratulates Carlos with Andy Schleck on escort duties over the finish line. Behind Steegmans Quick Step teammate Steven Dejongh celebrates the team win. Photo © 2008 Victor Solis

Carlos Sastre is the 2008 winner of the Tour de France. Sastre arrives at the finish with Stuart O'Grady in escort and congratulates his leader. Carlos Sastre is a happy men as his children are waiting for him. He gets a big hug from them. An emotional moment for the Spaniard.

Andy Schleck adds his congrats as brother Frank moves up to do likewise.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The riders arrive for the podium ceremonies with the Arc de Triomphe fittingly in the background. Steegmans gets his flowers and kisses from the misses. Oscar Freire arrives to get his final green jersey with his son dressed in a Rabobank all green outfit.

Bernhard Kohl arrives to the cheers of the fans to accept his final Maillot Blanc à Pois Rouges as king of the mountains. Andy Schleck is next to accept his Maillot Blanc; Best of the young guns. Sylvain Chavanel is honored and rightly so, with the final Combativity Trophy as most aggressive rider.

Smiling ear to ear, Carlos Sastre with his daughter and son, stands on the top step to receive his final Maillot Jaune and is announced as the winner of the 2008 tour de France. Cadel Evans holds a kangaroo and Australian flag in his hands as he joins Carlos and Bernard Kohl and the playing of the national anthem of Spain. It is a striking scene with three riders standing on the podium and the Arc de Triomphe rising out of the summer haze in the distance.

Team CSC Saxo Bank arrives on the podium to receive the prize as top team... three national champions, the yellow jersey and white jersey. After, the winners of the Jerseys, Freire, Schleck, Kohl and Sastre return to the podium and pose for photos.

Stage 21 Results
Etampes - Paris Champs Elysees 143km
1. Steegmans Gert 97 Quick Step 3:51:38
2. Ciolek Gerald 44 Team Columbia  - 00:00
3. Freire Oscar 133 Rabobank  - 00:00

4. Mc Ewen Robbie 6 Silence - Lotto  - 00:00
5. Hushovd Thor 81 Credit Agricole  - 00:00
6. Dean Julian 193 Garmin Chipotle  - 00:00
7. Schumacher Stefan 111 Gerolsteiner  - 00:00
8. Förster Robert 112 Gerolsteiner - 00:00
9. Duque Leonardo 186 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone - 00:00
10. Hunter Robert 58 Barloworld 3:51:38 - 00:00

2008 Tour de France
General Classification (final)
3,559.5 Km - 87:52:52 - 40.49 Km/H

1. Sastre Carlos 11 Team Csc Saxo Bank 87:52:52
2. Evans Cadel 1 Silence - Lotto 87:53:50 - 00:58
3. Kohl Bernhard 115 Gerolsteiner 87:54:05 - 01:13

4. Menchov Denis 131 Rabobank 87:55:02 - 02:10
5. Vandevelde Christian 191 Garmin Chipotle 87:55:57 - 03:05
6. Schleck Frank 17 Team Csc Saxo Bank 87:57:20 - 04:28
7. Sanchez Samuel 27 Euskaltel - Euskadi 87:59:17 - 06:25
8. Kirchen Kim 41 Team Columbia 87:59:47 - 06:55
9. Valverde Alejandro 31 Caisse D’epargne 88:00:04 - 07:12
10. Valjavec Tadej 109 Ag2r-La Mondiale 88:01:57 - 09:05
11. Efimkin Vladimir 104 Ag2r-La Mondiale 88:02:47 - 09:55
12. Schleck Andy 16 Team Csc Saxo Bank 88:04:24 - 11:32

Thanks for joining us today for the final stage and the 2008 Tour. This concludes our live coverage of the 2008 tour de France... stay tuned for complete results, photos and commentary of the race. Thanks to Bart Hazen today, and our commentators this year during the tour: Bart Hazen, Nick Bull and Andy McGrath. Next up is the Classica San Sebastian. Enjoy the day and get out for a ride.

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