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Le Tour 2001

89th Tour de France - Grand Tour

France, July 6-28, 2002

Main page    Stage profile    Start List    Results

Stage 20 - Sunday July 28: Melun -Paris-Champs-Elysées, 144 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 13:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:15 CEST

13:30 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews.com's coverage of the final stage of the 89th Tour de France, a 140 kilometre jaunt between Melun and Paris, finishing with 10 x 6.5 km laps of the Champs-Elysées. The final stage is traditionally a parade, with all of the top GC riders agreeing not to attack each other, as the race is usually decided by this point. Not always though, and many will remember the 1989 Tour that finished with a time trial on the final day, that saw Greg Lemond win the Tour by just 8 seconds over Laurent Fignon, who was lying in first place before the TT.

There is of course one competition that will be decided on the Champs-Elysées today - the green points jersey, which has been won for the last 6 years by Erik Zabel (Telekom), the world's number one ranked cyclist and an extraordinarily consistent rider all year round. He has been tested though this year by Australian sprinter Robbie McEwen, who won a stage (as did Zabel) and ended up on equal points with the German for most of the final week. McEwen got to wear the jersey based on countback rules, and on Stage 18 managed to increase his lead by a point over Zabel.

That's the situation now, with McEwen on 239 points and Zabel on 238. There are two bonus sprints today, worth 6, 4 and 2 points, before the final sprint to the line which is worth 35, 30, 26, 24 etc. points. No matter what happens in the bonus sprints, which are located at Champs-Sur-Marne (km 54) and at Hauts Des Champs (km 81), the finale will be vitally important too.

For now, the riders can relax for an hour and a half and soak up the atmosphere at a training pace.

13:40 CEST
The official start of the final stage was given by Jean Marie Leblanc at 13:40 - 10 minutes later than scheduled. The day is once again perfect - warm and sunny, and rather a pleasant day for a ride in Paris.

Armstrong is looking very happy of course, as is Laurent Jalabert - the pair get their photos taken by a motorbike cameraman who looks suspiciously like Graham Watson.

13:50 CEST
The temperatures are in the high 30's for this final stage, making it the hottest of the Tour so far. Lance Armstrong takes the time to shake the hand of the motorbike timekeeper from Burkina Faso, whose name escapes me at the moment, but he looks very happy to be here. He has one of the best positions to watch the race from.

14:04 CEST - 11 km
The peloton pass through Lissy, still at a very steady pace. Brad McGee and Stuart O'Grady shake hands at the front of the bunch, while US Postal drop back to the team car for a glass of champagne and some more photos. Andrea Tafi joins them. The Italian takes a large swig and offers it to someone else - given the temperature today, half a glass of champagne will probably have quite an effect. We'll see soon enough.

14:15 CEST - 17 km/123 km to go
The peloton continue their Sunday afternoon stroll, enjoying the atmosphere and looking forward to the spectacular finish in Paris. One rider who is not so relaxed, and has his race face set, is Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Adecco).

We spoke to Robbie at the start, who said that the team was going for "The first sprint. We've got to win the first sprint."

What about the finale, which is worth more points? "We're only looking at the first two sprints, and we'll take it from there."

McEwen and Zabel's race will not be over until the final dash to the line.

14:26 CEST - 23 km/117 km to go
McEwen is chatting with Jens Voigt (Credit Agricole) at the front of the peloton, which is moving a little faster now. Not too fast for a quick nature break though.

14:34 CEST - 26 km/114 km to go
A point of interest: 153 riders will most likely finish the 89th Tour, of 189 starters. That represents a proportion of 80.9 percent, which is very high - possibly the highest ever in the history of the Tour.

Alexandre Botcharov (Ag2r) is finding it too hot, and is pedalling without his shoes, which seem to be in his back pocket. Ouch!

14:45 CEST - 33 km/107 km to go
The speed is still a pleasant training pace, with 30.2 kilometres covered in the first hour. Everyone is smiling and chatting, not wishing to hurry things before it's truly necessary (at least until after the first sprint).

Some more Tour trivia: This year's Tour is one of the shortest ever, at a 'mere' 3282 kilometres (equal to the 1988 Tour). The only other Tours that were shorter were the very first three, in 1903, 1904 and 1905. These were 2428, 2428 and 2994 kilometres respectively. But in those days, the stages were much longer. The first two Tours had only 6(!) stages, averaging 400km each. The third had 11 stages, averaging nearly 300 km each.

The longest Tours were mostly run in the 1920's, and were between 5400 and 5800 kilometres each. Imagine this Tour, going for an extra 2000 kilometres...

14:55 CEST - 38 km/102 km to go
As the riders get closer to the sprint at km 54, the magenta jerseys of the Telekom team move to the front. Robbie McEwen has planted himself on Zabel's wheel, and is chatting to Zabel's teammate Steffen Wesemann.

15:04 CEST - 43 km/97 km to go
At least three of McEwen's Lotto teammates aren't interested in getting up to the front yet, although at the speed the bunch is moving it wouldn't take long. It's up to Telekom to take the points back from McEwen, so they will probably do the lead out for Zabel and McEwen will try to come round.

Either that, or they've agreed not to sprint...

15:13 CEST - 48 km/92 km to go
6 km to go until the sprint, and the pace has picked up a little, but not much as they pass through Torcy. More Lotto and Telekom jerseys are near the front, with Danilo Hondo (Telekom) looking very focused and ready to do his job of leading out Zabel.

Aside from the race within a race, the stage is very 'colourful' with sizeable crowds lining the route to applaud the peloton as it snakes towards Paris.

15:16 CEST - 50 km/90 km to go
The pace has picked up even more, but this is largely due to a descent. 4 km to go until the sprint and Telekom suddenly form a train. It's moving steadily at the moment, and has a few red Lotto jerseys mixed in. Bobby Julich is now taking a turn at the front.

15:19 CEST - 52 km/88 km to go
The bunch is strung out now due to Julich's turn of pace. Christophe Brandt (Lotto) pulls off from his second position, and the Telekom train is complete. McEwen is on Zabel's wheel. Who has the quickest legs today?

15:21 CEST - 54 km/86 km to go
McEwen jumps very early and gets the sprint from Zabel. There is a brief glance between the two rivals, and they drop back to the bunch. So McEwen now leads by 3 points. Guennadi Mikhailov (Lotto) was third.

McEwen pre-empted the Telekom lead out, and Zabel couldn't make up the difference. The pair smile at each other, and Zabel pulls off to the side of the road to take a break. The pace slows down again.

15:25 CEST - 56 km/84 km to go
Laurent Jalabert drops back to the ONCE team car, where he has a chat with his old boss Manolo Saiz. Jalabert won a lot of races under Saiz, but in the end found the team too hard to remain in, and switched to CSC-Tiscali for the last two years of his career.

15:34 CEST - 62 km/78 km to go
The bunch is still together, but moving along at a pace closer to race speed - around 38-40 km/h. The next intermediate sprint is at Hauts Des Champs (km 81), when the riders enter the Champs Elysees. Then it's 10 laps of the famous circuit, usually raced at 50-55 km/h.

15:43 CEST - 68 km/72 km to go
Nico Mattan, David Moncoutie (Cofidis), Eddy Seigneur (Jean Delatour) are now at the front rank of the peloton, while Lance Armstrong chats with Erik Zabel. Right behind them is Robbie McEwen.

US Postal now get to the front to lead their captain into Paris.

15:48 CEST - 71 km/69 km to go
The peloton is cruising its way into the heart of Paris, led by US Postal. All nine riders have survived the three week tour, which is impressive.

Joseba Beloki and Santiago Blanco both have mechanical problems, and quickly get them fixed and chase back onto the back of the peloton.

15:55 CEST - 77 km/63 km to go
They're now entering the Place de la Concorde, in preparation for the Champs Elysees. US Postal has lifted the pace, and the peloton is strung out. The next sprint is in 4 km.

Richard Virenque and Laurent Jalabert have a mini battle to get onto the Champs Elysees first, but in the end it's a Jean Delatour rider (Seigneur?). US Postal takes over the pace making. Will there be a sprint?

16:00 CEST - 81 km/59 km to go
Agnolutto (Ag2r) makes an attack, but he gets the whole bunch on his wheel. McEwen's green jersey is nowhere to be seen as they round the Arc de Triomphe.

The results of the second sprint: Roberto Heras, Floyd Ladnis and Benoit Joachim. It all comes down to the finale. If Zabel wins the stage, he wins the green jersey. Or if he beats McEwen by more than 3 points.

16:03 CEST - 83 km/57 km to go
The race is on in earnest now. There are constant attacks as the peloton makes its way round the most famous cycling circuit in the world. US Postal is ever present, keeping the pace high to keep Lance Armstrong out of trouble.

16:09 CEST - 88 km/52 km to go
Bram De Groot (Rabobank) and Anthony Morin (Credit Agricole) have tried to get away, but it's tough at this speed. They have 5 seconds, and the peloton is strung out completely in pursuit. The first lap was raced at 55 km/h.

Some more riders join Morin and De Groot, including Piil (CSC), Flickinger (Ag2r), Loda (Fassa Bortolo), Hvastija (Alessio), Mattan, and Vasseur (Cofidis).

16:13 CEST - 91 km/49 km to go
The eight leaders aren't working very well together, but have a 12 second gap at the Arc de Triomphe.

Vicente Garcia Acosta (iBanesto.com) falls. It's not serious, but he'll have to ride hard to get back on.

Mattan and Piil attack the break, and are flying down the Champs Elysees at well over 60 km/h

16:17 CEST - 95 km/45 km to go
Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour) and Moreni (Alessio) are next to attack as Piil and Mattan are caught.

There are a lot of pink jerseys at the front of the peloton - Lampre and Telekom. Last year, Jan Svorada (Lampre) won this stage.

16:22 CEST - 98 km/42 km to go
Chavanel and Moreni are working hard on the uphill to the Arc de Triomphe. But Chavanel punctures right at the top. Moreni should wait for a couple of the other individual chasers.

Chavanel and De Groot both have to stop to get wheel changes. They are now chasing back on through the team cars, at high speed.

Moreni hasn't waited, and has an 8 second gap to Berges and Hinault, with the peloton another couple of seconds behind.

16:25 CEST - 100 km/40 km to go
The lone leader of the final stage at the moment is Cristian Moreni (Alessio), who is 13 seconds ahead of the Lampre led peloton.

There is a counter attack form Millar, Jalabert, Tafi and a Tacconi rider - Mauro Radaelli.

16:28 CEST - 103 km/37 km to go
The four counter attacks quickly catch Moreni just after the 5th lap. Moreni did manage to pick up some money for a sprint prime. The gap to the peloton is 12 seconds.

Serge Baguet, Jakob Piil, Haimar Zubeldia have started a chase of the leading five.

16:31 CEST - 105 km/35 km to go
Suddenly that gap has opened right up, and there are several counter attacks going in pursuit of the leading five riders. No-one is mounting a chase in the peloton.

There are 12 chasing 5, with the peloton at 37 seconds. That last lap was 54 km/h.

16:35 CEST - 109 km/31 km to go
The leaders: David Millar (Cofidis), Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali), Andrea Tafi (Mapei-Quick Step), Mauro Radaelli (Tacconi Sport), Cristian Moreni (Alessio),

The chasers: Jakob Storm Piil (CSC-Tiscali), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo), Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Pedro Horillo (Mapei-Quick Step), Serge Baguet (Lotto-Adecco), Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre).

Rumsas' presence has caused ONCE to make a very serious chase.

16:37 CEST - 110 km/30 km to go
The two groups come together, forming a group of 13 in front. ONCE are chasing their hearts out to try and bring back Rumsas, who is only 1 minute from Beloki on GC. Telekom are also assisting in the chase.

Tafi attacks, with Moreni on his wheel.

Radaelli has a mechanical, and pulls off the back of the break, which is down to 12.

16:40 CEST - 111 km/29 km to go
ONCE have pegged the gap back to 17 seconds, as the front group decides what it's going to do. No point in waiting for the pink train, which is now closing down fast.

The leaders: David Millar (Cofidis), Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali), Jakob Storm Piil (CSC-Tiscali), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo), Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com), Michael Boogerd (Rabobank), Marc Wauters (Rabobank), Pedro Horillo (Mapei-Quick Step), Andrea Tafi (Mapei-Quick Step), Serge Baguet (Lotto-Adecco), Raimondas Rumsas (Lampre Daikin), Cristian Moreni (Alessio).

16:42 CEST - 112 km/28 km to go
Five laps to go, and the ONCE chase recaptures some of the leaders, including Rumsas. There are still nine off the front though, but none of them are as threatening as Rumsas was.

16:46 CEST - 117 km/23 km to go
The leaders: Jakob Storm Piil (CSC-Tiscali), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo), Marc Wauters and Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Pedro Horillo (Mapei-Quick Step), Andrea Tafi (Mapei-Quick Step), Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour), Andrea Brognara Cristian Moreni (Alessio).

They have 14 seconds on the Telekom led peloton.

16:48 CEST - 119 km/25 km to go
The gap is 20 seconds, but shrinking now as Telekom is helped by Credit Agricole at the front of the peloton. The nine leaders are cooperating to a certain extent, but it's not smooth. The last lap was a shade under 55 km/h.

There are 3 laps to go.

16:51 CEST - 122 km/18 km to go
There are five Telekom jerseys at the front of the peloton as they go around in front of the Arc de Triomphe. They have to make up a 17 second gap to nine leaders, who are splitting up with several attacks.

McEwen is right next to Zabel and Hondo in the peloton.

Frigo gets a flat tire.

16:55 CEST - 125 km/15 km to go
The leaders have kept their 20 second gap to the peloton, as the race approaches 2 laps to go. It's still Telekom working hard to try and bring them back, but it's a good group.

16:57 CEST - 128 km/12 km to go
Two laps to go, and the peloton is slowly but surely closing the gap to the nine leaders: Jakob Storm Piil (CSC-Tiscali), Marco Velo (Fassa Bortolo), Marc Wauters and Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Pedro Horillo (Mapei-Quick Step), Andrea Tafi (Mapei-Quick Step), Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour), Andrea Brognara Cristian Moreni (Alessio). It's now 15 seconds.

Dekker is doing a lot of work - perhaps to set up Marc Wauters for the stage win.

17:00 CEST - 130 km/10 km to go
It's down to 10 seconds, with the five Telekom riders doing their jobs to close things down. They should be caught with 1 lap to go.

The breakaways are looking around - they know it's doomed.

17:03 CEST - 132 km/8 km to go
Aldag and Wesemann do the honours of closing the gap. Pedro Horillo and Jakob Piil mount a counter attack.

Horillo leads with 1 to go, but the peloton swallows him and Piil.

Lelli counter attacks. Hunter and Brochard go after him.

17:06 CEST - 135 km/6 km to go
It's impossible to get rid of the Aldag train. But there is another counterattack from Ivanov (Fassa) and Rumsas (Lampre). What a rider! It's not over until they cross the line.

Abraham Olano (ONCE) leads the peloton in pursuit.

17:08 CEST - 137 km/3 km to go
Vasseur attacks off the front of the peloton, in pursuit of Ivanov and Rumsas. He catches them, to form a group of 3 just in front of the peloton. But the speed is too high. FDJ.com chase it down.

Hvastija counter attacks.

17:09 CEST - 138 km/2 km to go
FDJ.com are trying to set things up for Baden Cooke. Hvastija is 5 seconds in front of the peloton, led by Brad McGee.

McEwen is still on Zabel's wheel.

17:09 CEST - 138 km/2 km to go
We're a lot closer to the finish than we thought...Telekom and FDJ.com are leading it out, but Zabel loses Hondo's wheel on the final corner. It's over for him, as he has to beat McEwen in the stage.

17:12 CEST - 140 km/0 km to go
Zabel can't get up there for the win, and McEwen jumps early. Baden Cooke is sprinting side by side with him but it's McEwen who takes the Champs Elysees for the second time in his career. He just beat Baden Cooke on the line. Nazon was third.

" It's unbelievable, it's just what dreams are made of," said McEwen immediately after, having clinched the green jersey.

Lance Armstrong finished 43rd in the peloton, safely home for his fourth straight Tour de France win. He looks emotional but calm as he mounts the podium, shaking Bernard Hinault's hand and being awarded his final Maillot Jaune and Credit Lyonnais Lion, with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

A wrap up of all the jerseys and classifications:

General classification (yellow): Lance Armstrong (US Postal Service)
Points classification (green): Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Adecco)
Mountains classification (polka dots): Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali)
Most combative rider (red number): Laurent Jalabert (CSC-Tiscali)
Best young rider (white): Ivan Basso (Fassa Bortolo)
Teams (one lion each): ONCE-Eroski
Lanterne Rouge (last rider): Igor Flores (Euskaltel-Euskadi)


1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Adecco                   3.30.47 (39.85 km/h)
2 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com
3 Damien Nazon (Fra) Bonjour
4 Fabio Baldato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
5 Davide Casarotto (Ita) Alessio
6 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Credit Agricole
7 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
8 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre Daikin
9 Arvis Piziks (Lat) CSC-Tiscali
10 Nicola Loda (Ita) Fassa Bortolo

Final general classification

1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal Service           
2 Joseba Beloki (Spa) ONCE-Eroski                       7.17
3 Raimondas Rumsas (Ltu) Lampre Daikin                  8.17
4 Santiago Botero (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca             13.10
5 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Spa) ONCE-Eroski          13.54
6 José Azevedo (Por) ONCE-Eroski                       15.44
7 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) iBanesto.com                 16.05
8 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank                       17.11
9 Roberto Heras Hernandez (Spa) US Postal Service      17.18
10 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Tiscali                     19.05

Thank you for following the 89th Tour de France on Cyclingnews.com. We know you enjoyed it by the deluge of email that we've received - many, many thanks! Please join us again next Sunday for the live coverage of the HEW Cyclassics World Cup in Hamburg.

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