87th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 1 - 23, 2000

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Complete live report

Stage 21- July 23: Paris - champs-Elysees, 138 km

Start time: 14:00
Estimated finish time: 17:17

Welcome to the final stage of the 87th Tour de France. Starting just under the Eiffel Tower and finishing along Paris's legendary Champs Elysees, this is just the second stage ever to actually start in the capital. The last and only other time was in 1975.

14:10 - 5 km

The riders roll out of the beautiful Village Depart (situated under the Eiffel Tower) at 14:00 for the last time this year. Lance Armstrong is resplendent in his yellow jersey, knicks, helmet, gloves and even spokes for the final parade. He even has a long wig on!

14:19 - 10 km

There are several sprints today, two ordinary 6, 4, and 2 bonus point sprints along the Champs ElyseÚs at kilometre 22.9 and 52. Then, on each of the final 6.5 kilometre laps there is a special sprint (not counting for points).

14:27 - 13 km

No attacks yet, as this stage is traditionally calm until the closing laps. Riders tend to show off, let their hair down (Lance), take photos, and generally enjoy themselves in the peloton. The last 40-50 kilometres sees the pace pick up and the real race starts. A break before this is possible to gain some last chance TV exposure before the end of Le Tour 2000.

14:42 - 21 km

Coming up to the first sprint at 22.9 kilometres, and the bunch are still in no hurry. The points at this stage are academic as Erik Zabel has an iron grip on his 5th Green Jersey of the Tour. The points standings at present: 1 Erik Zabel (Telekom) 291 pts, 2 Robbie McEwen (Farm Frites) 173 pts, and 3 Romans Vainsteins (Vini Caldirola-Sidermec) 158 pts

14:50 - 25 km

Robbie McEwen seems to be warming himself up early, as he takes the first Champs Elysees sprint (km 22.9), he is followed by Emmanuel Magnien (FDJ) and Jacky Durand (Lotto). Durand, incidentally is just behind Magnien on the sprint classification (124 points opposed to 131). These three riders immediately sit up and wait for the peloton.

14:55 - 27.5 km

An update on some of the other classifications. The final top three climbers are: 1 Santiago Botero (Kelme-Costa Blanca) 347 pts, 2 Javier Otxoa (Kelme-Costa Blanca) 283 pts, 3 Richard Virenque (Team Polti) 267 pts

The best team: 1 Kelme-Costa Blanca, 2 Festina at 13.42, 3 Banesto at 18.21

The most combative rider is still quite close with Erik Dekker leading the way on 99 points, followed by Santiago Botero (98 points) and Jacky Durand (77 points).

The best young rider is currently 1 Francisco Mancebo (Banesto), with Guido Trentin (Vini Caldirola) at 17.48, and Grischa Niermann (Rabobank) at 33.57

15:00 - 30 km

Still cruising along, as Lance Armstrong rides near the front of the peloton beside the Seine. Two Swedish Farm Frites riders lead (Glenn Magnusson and Michael Lafis), but they are pedalling on the tops of the bars and in no hurry at all.

Of course, we can't forget the general classification. The top five:1 Lance Armstrong (USPS), 2 Jan Ullrich (Telekom) at 6.02, 3 Joseba Beloki (Festina) at 10.04, 4 Christophe Moreau (Festina) at 10.34, 5 Roberto Heras (Kelme-Costa Blanca) 11.50 and the last rider (the Lanterne Rouge) is 128 Olivier Perraudeau (Bonjour) at 3.46.37.

15:10 - 35 km

Bonjour's Francois Simon leads the way with Anthony Langella (CA). Simon's teammate, Pascal Derame goes back to the team car for a glass of champagne for Jacky Durand (and a few others).

15:19 - 43 km

95 kilometres to go, and Simon and Langella still lead the 128 rider pack through the streets of Paris, and past the Place de la Bastille. Armstrong is in the second row.

The crowds lining the Champs Elysees for the final 11 laps are huge, as is customary for the last stage. They are five or so deep, for the full length of the 6.5 km circuit. The day is slightly overcast, but hotter than expected at 30 degrees.

15:25 - 46 km

The overall average speed so far in this year's Tour is 39.43 km/h. Not the fastest - that was set last year at 40.726 km/h. However, it is still the fourth fastest of all time.

15:33 - 52 km

The next sprint at kilometre 52 along the Champs Elysees is contested fairly casually. Durand leads it out, but Robbie (Farm Frites) takes it from Durand and Magnien.

15:39 - 55 km

A portion of the peloton take some time out to attend to essential needs, but the racing has not yet started as the pack parades around Paris as one. Lance Armstrong's US Postal teammates now lead the way.

It's worth noting that today is only one of two days in the whole year that the centre of Paris is closed off to traffic. The other is on July 14 (Bastille Day). Quite an achievement when you consider that this is normally not a very bike friendly city.

15:48 - 61 km

The US Postal team have picked up the pace to 40 km/h now, and the peloton start to line out. All nine riders of the team are on the front.

15:55 - 68 km

The race is on - and the first attack comes from Ag2r's Christophe Agnolutto. He succeeds in stringing things out and increasing the overall speed.

16:02 - 72 km

There is more action now, as a group of eight manages to get off the front. Marichal (Lotto), Derame (Bonjour), Morin (CA), Dekker (Rab), X.Jan (FdJ), Vasseur (US PS), Chanteur (Ag2r), Vinokourov (Telekom).

16:07 - 76 km

The gap is being pegged back by the US Postal team who are all on the front, trying to keep Lance as near to the front of the bike race as possible.

16:11 - 79 km

7 laps to go: The break is being driven by Marichal and Dekker, but they are not working particularly well. Vasseur is sitting on, as is Vinokourov.

At the rear of the field, Francois Simon has a puncture but manages to get himself back in.

16:15 - 82 km

The peloton are now led by Postal, Farm Frites and Polti. Armstrong is in about 8th, clearly recognisable. There six riders (of eight) driving the break.

16:21 - 90.5 km/47.5 km to go

The gap is kept the same, as the eight riders pass the Place de la Concorde. This is the fifth of eleven laps.

16:26 - 93.5 km/44.5 km to go

Marichal takes the FF 10,000 prime with 6 laps to go. Vino is working now, but Vasseur is not - looking around to see where the pack is. Polti and Farm Frites are really hammering, and Virenque is doing a turn for Blijlevens.

16:31 - 100 km/38.0 km to go

The break - all except for Marichal - is reabsorbed. Garcia-Acosta attacks with Lanterne Rouge Olivier Perraudeau, and Marichal gives up the chase. They're strung out in pieces now. Beneteau, Lelli, and a Lotto rider (Van Hyfte) lead now.

16:33 - 102 km/36.0 km to go

They're caught now, as a Francaise des Jeux rider attacks - Gwiadowski. But he doesn't last very long.

16:37 - 104 km/34.0 km to go

Rittsel, Durand, and Kivilev lead under the tunnel, but more attacks come and Telekom and Farm Frites mobilise themselves again at the front. Gwiadowski goes again.

16:39 - 107 km/31.0 km to go

Van Bondt, Voigt and Acosta and a Raboank rider (Dekker of course) chase down Gwiadowski. Rodriguez is up in 6th now.

16:41 - 109 km/29.0 km to go

Dave Millar, time trialist supreme is leading the Tour de France peleton with just 29.5 kilometres left to race. The bunch is moving extremely swiftly now, as Apollonio attacks.

16:46 - 112 km/26.0 km to go

Millar, Apollonio, Voigt and .Agnolutto have a little gap now. Both Voigt and Agnolutto have been very aggressive this Tour.

16:48 - 115 km/23.0 km to go

The peloton are being led - but not flat out - by Telekom, as this break of four consolidate their lead.

16:54 - 119 km/19.0 km to go

Cofidis are trying to slow the peloton as the break grinds its way up the Champs Elysees. The gap hovers at 14-15 seconds. They'll need a few more seconds than this though.

16:57 - 123 km/15.0 km to go

The bunch are moving fast, but they haven't decided to nail the breakaway riders as we approach 15 kilometres to go in the 2000 Tour de France.

16:59 - 125 km/13.0 km to go

What a race Millar has had, after winning the first stage and holding the yellow jersey he is now in the leading breakaway with just 12 kilometres to go. His companions are Jens Voigt (CA), Christophe Agnolutto (Ag2r), and Massimiliano Apollonio (Vini Caldirola). They are still holding the bunch off with 2 laps to go.

17:01 - 127 km/11.0 km to go

Elli leads the way for Telekom, and Ullrich takes his turn as well. Could Zabel become the new German record holder for the most number of stage wins in the Tour.

Voigt chases an acceleration by Millar, but they are coming back. Millar is pushing the largest gear possible.

17:04 - 129 km/9.0 km to go

The swarm of the bunch are coming up on the leaders - it's only a matter of a few kilometres before they are caught. Armstrong is sitting a third of the way down in the bunch, while Polti, Telekom and Farm Frites lead.

17:06 - 131.5 km/6.5 km to go

Jan Ullrich has the honours of closing the gap, but Agnolutto will not give up. He holds it for another 500m before giving up the ghost.

1 lap to go now!

17:09 - 133 km/5.0 km to go

Who's it going to be? Has Zabel got the legs for a second successive victory? Or will Blijlevens and McEwen put one over him.

Mengin and a Serge Baguet try their hand, but Telekom are vigilant.

17:11 - 135 km/3.0 km to go

Zabel is in fifth, behind teammates Ullrich and Vinokourov. Polti mass near the front, as do Farm Frites. Fred Rodriguez, Van Heeswijk and Zanini are up there for Mapei. This sprint, with a cross wind will be fast as they go under the tunnel with 3 km to go. Hincapie is up there as well!

17:13 - 138 km/0.0 km to go

Bonjour move to the front, Rodriguez is second into the final corner behind van Heeswijk. But, it is Zanini for Mapei!

Zabel takes second, Vainsteins third and Rodriguez fourth, Van Heeswijk fifth. Mapei 1, 4, 5. Now...

Results

1. Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei
2. Erik Zabel (Ger) Telekom
3. Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Vini Caldirola
4. Fred Rodriguez (USA) Mapei
5. Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Mapei

Final general classification:

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service              
2 Jan Ullrich (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom                  6.02
3 Joseba Beloki (Spa) Festina                             10.04
4 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Festina                         10.34
5 Roberto Heras (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca                  11.50
6 Richard Virenque (Fra) Team Polti                       13.26
7 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca                14.18
8 Fernando Escartin (Spa) Kelme-Costa Blanca              17.21
9 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Banesto                         18.09
10 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                18.25

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