91st Tour de France - July 3-25, 2004
& Results Stage
Live Report Results
Stage 20 - Sunday July 25: Montreau - Paris-Champs-Elysees, 163 km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Tim Maloney and
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 13:35 CEST
Estimated finish time: 17:29 CEST
Mostly a formality, Stage 20 is an all-flat stage that has one final Cat. 4
KOM and a sprint halfway in Livry Gargan before entering Paris for the most
famous criterium in the world, eight laps of the Champs-Elysees where maillot
vert Robbie McEwen hopes to hold off the rest of the thundering herd for
the biggest win of his career, but massive Viking Thor Hushovd could spoil the
Queenslander's plans along the way.
km 86.5: Livry-Gargan (Souvenir Antonin Magne)
km 115.5: Haut des champs-Elysees
The weather at the start in Montereau is good for the final stage. It's generally
sunny with some high clouds with temperatures in the mid-20's. It's a little
breezy with a tailwind for most of the stage before the riders get into Paris.
The stage starts with a 3.2 km neutral section at 13:20, with the start proper
being given at 13:30.
Lance's Livestrong Trek
As the peloton rolls out of the neutral zone, race leader Lance Armstrong is up
the front, surrounded by a gaggle of motorbikes with photographers eager to the
shot of him signalling six victories. Lance is wearing a gold helmet with yellow
stripes on his knicks and riding a specially painted "Livestrong" bike.
Photo ©: CN
Livestrong is the charity that's been promoted by Lance this year. The yellow
wrist bands that you see everyone wearing can be bought for €1 with proceeds
going to the Lance Armstrong foundation to help fund cancer research.
Leblanc drops the flag at 13:32 and they're "racing" in the final stage, which
will be a parade until the riders get to Paris.
Oohlala. Filippo Simeoni has attacked from the gun!! Straight away, the peloton
is lined out in pursuit. Lance is not going to be amused.
13:35 CEST 2km/161km to go
The peloton splits in the crosswind as it chases down Filippo Simeoni. This
is really getting personal. Simeoni has about 10 seconds lead and is riding
There's about 20 riders in the front group with the rest of the peloton strung
out in pursuit, about 5 seconds back. No doubt there'll be a lot of swearing.
So much for the parade!!
13:40 CEST 4km/159km to go
Simeoni has 15 seconds lead as the peloton slows and regroups, with US Postal
on the front. The Posties all have yellow bands on their sleeves.
Well Simeoni probably won't win too many friends by doing this, but he's certainly
making his point.
13:42 CEST 6km/157km to go
Simeoni is being reeled in by the US Postal team time trial after having attacked
from the gun. Interesting move. He'll probably be banished to the back after
13:45 CEST 9km/154km to go
Simeoni is caught by the bunch, point made. The pace slows again.
Phonak's Oscar Sevilla punctures and gets a quick change and is back in the
13:48 CEST 11km/152km to go
The Postal riders slow things up again after the early fireworks. Armstrong
chats to Jens Voigt about the Simeoni incident, with Salvatore Commesso (who
was one of the few to support Simeoni in stage 18) sitting next to them.
13:52 CEST 13km/150km to go
Order is restored, and the bunch can continue its leisurely cruise towards Paris.
Armstrong's now talking to Guerini, Klöden and Ullrich. Pozzato and Rubiera
are exchanging views of the matter. Simeoni is a few wheels behind Armstrong,
chatting to a CSC rider.
Jimmy Casper gets to the front of the peloton, takes his camera out and snaps
a pic of the bunch. Maybe he's looking for a job doing this after he retires.
Photo ©: Chris Henry/CN
Commesso and Simeoni are chatting, as are McEwen and Davis. McEwen, in the green
jersey, is a favourite to win this stage as he has done twice in his career. He
has an 11 point lead in the green jersey classification and will have to have
a terrible sprint to lose that to Hushovd. Anything's possible though.
14:02 CEST 17km/146km to go
Virenque and Voeckler are now off the front of the peloton, generally mucking
around. Virenque is in his favourite spotty jersey while Voeckler is back in
his French champion's red, white and blue.
For those of you asking, there is a difference between Virenque and Simeoni.
Yes they have both admitted to taking drugs in the past (and Virenque was a
little, er, reluctant to do so), but Simeoni is the only one suing Lance.
Commesso and Lance are now chatting, good naturedly.
14:04 CEST 18km/145km to go
Armstrong stops to adjust his Livestrong bike, taking great pains to get the
saddle angle correct. It looks like it's more for show than anything else.
Meanwhile, the peloton rolls along in the sunshine towards Fontenailles.
For those of you asking about the devil, yes he has been spotted a few times
this year and we have mentioned him in dispatches.
Armstrong is being brought back to the bunch by Beltran. Simeoni should attack
14:10 CEST 21km/142km to go
With the GC still fairly tight between second and third, readers have asked
whether Basso would try to have a crack at closing the 20 second gap to Klöden
today. It's not completely out of the question, but it's unlikely. Klöden is
going to be glued to Basso's wheel.
Armstrong is now drinking a spot of champagne at the back of the bunch after
getting it from Jean Marie Leblanc's personal stash.
14:14 CEST 23km/140km to go
Ullrich is now drinking some champagne with Bruyneel. He drains the glass very
quickly. This will be the first year that Ullrich hasn't finished 2nd or 1st
in the Tour. 4th isn't bad, but Ullrich will no doubt be disappointed. He is
happy that Klöden managed second.
14:18 CEST 24km/139km to go
Last year's final stage winner JP Nazon
Last year's winner of this stage was Jean-Patrick Nazon, who's still very much
in this race despite a couple of crashes. Nazon was looking good this morning
in Montereau, and will certainly be up for another crack at the Champs Elysées.
Photo ©: Chris Henry/CN
It is a stage that can produce an unexpected result, even if it normally finishes
in a bunch sprint. All of the sprinters will be tired after this last week, and
we could see someone like Hondo or Nazon or even Cooke come to the fore.
Armstrong's now chatting with fellow Americans Leipheimer and Julich.
14:20 CEST 26km/137km to go
Beltran has now swapped helmets with photographer Graham Watson, and looks like
a 1970's rider in his white motorbike helmet. He asks for his normal one back.
The nine Posties (one of two complete teams, the other being Rabobank), are
now all in a row at the front of the peloton with Lance in the middle. There's
an American army jeep driving beside them in a field with French and US flags
mounted. Watch out for the cows!
14:30 CEST 29km/134km to go
While there is absolutely nothing happening in the way of racing at the moment
during this final stage, I would, on behalf of my co-commentators Roger Hughes,
Chris Henry and Tim Maloney, like to take the opportunity to thank all of our
readers for following Cyclingnews' live coverage during this Tour. Your messages
of support and appreciation have been almost overwhelming, and have definitely
helped us keep going through the dark times.
I'd also like to categorically deny that there was any alcohol consumed in the
commentary box before or during the live coverages. If there was, trust us,
you'd know. Things would get really silly...
14:31 CEST 31km/132km to go
The peloton rides past a bunch of fans perched atop of a combine harvester.
Quelle rural scene.
Thomas Voeckler and Paolo Bettini are in deep discussion down the back. Voeckler
has been awarded the Prix Orange by the press corps of the Tour, for being the
most media friendly cyclist.
14:38 CEST 35km/128km to go
Floyd's "baddest mofo of the mountains"
Speaking of prizes, Floyd Landis (USPS) has been awarded a special prize by comedian
Robin Williams, who is a good friend of Lance Armstrong and the team. After his
efforts in the mountains, and particularly stage 17, Williams nominated Landis
the "baddest mofo of the mountains" and gave him a studly gold ring.
Photo ©: Chris Henry/CN
14:44 CEST 38km/125km to go
The pace has picked up a bit now, but only 38 km have been covered in the first
14:49 CEST 41km/122km to go
Irishman Mark Scanlon has a big grin on his face as he chats to a teammate at
the back of the bunch. Scanlon has ridden superbly in his first Tour and is
one of the 147 riders who will make it to Paris today. He's even been in a few
14:53 CEST 43.5km/119.5km to go
US Postal, with their special yellow striped jerseys on, are leading the bunch
through La Foret de Crecy at a good clip now, around 40 km/h.
14:59 CEST 47km/116km to go
The peloton is travelling through the Foret de Crecy with Armstrong and Hincapie
still on the front, riding two abreast. There are very few spectators here,
as most people who want to see the Tour hang out on the Champs Elysées today.
15:03 CEST 49km/114km to go
Carlos Da Cruz offloads a water bottle and gets back in line in the peloton.
In front it's still Armstrong and Hincapie setting a 35-40 km/h tempo, looking
very relaxed. The feed zone is coming up very soon in Villeneuve le Comte (km
15:10 CEST 52km/111km to go
This is a big forest and the road through it is flat and is as straight as a
gun barrel. I vaguely recall riding up this way to see the final stage in '98,
but my memory is pretty poor. It's not particularly bike friendly (single lane,
no bike lane) unless you are cocooned in a caravan of support vehicles.
Armstrong leads the pack into the feed zone.
15:14 CEST 55km/108km to go
Cyclingnews spoke to CSC's Bobby Julich before the start this afternoon in Montereau.
Julich was at the Tour in support of Ivan Basso, but a crash in the Pyrenees put
paid to his chances of helping his team leader a lot in the Alps. We asked Julich
whether he was satisfied with his Tour:
Photo ©: Chris Henry/CN
"Personally, not really. It was frustrating having good legs but I just
kept crashing. That's part of the Tour, and it happens. It's difficult
to deal with. As a team I think we accomplished some of our goals,
though not the team GC which was a big one. That kind of ended the day
"The team is definitely happy. We're on the right track and we have a
goal for next year.
Julich finished fifth in yesterday's final time trial, a nice result at the end
of the race. "To be in the top five in a Tour time trial is important and it felt
good. But it definitely didn't make my Tour, because I had more disappointment
and more down days than up days. That's life, and it's
good to end on a good note."
15:16 CEST 57km/106km to go
Simeoni is now chatting to his director Santoni in the Domina team car. Santoni
supported Simeoni the other day.
On the front of the peloton, it's still Hincapie and Armstrong.
15:24 CEST 61km/102km to go
The peloton has just over 100 km to go as it rolls across the A4, not far from
Disneyland Paris. Armstrong and Eki are chatting now, with a couple of other
Posties on the front of the bunch.
15:29 CEST 63km/100km to go
The bunch exits Jossigny and now has exactly 100 km to go to the finish. The
race ends with eight laps of a 6.5 km circuit, and that's generally when the
racing really begins.
The only real jersey to be decided today is the green jersey. Barring crashes,
there are four riders in with a chance today with 35 points for the stage win:
1 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo 238 pts
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 227
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile Team 221
4 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis - Le Crédit Par Téléphone 215
15:35 CEST 68km/95km to go
If my calculations are right, the average speed for the Tour so far up until
stage 19 is 40.63 km/h. Last year's Tour was actually 0.3 km/h faster. Today's
stage will probably lower the overall average due to the rather long, slow prelude
15:40 CEST 71km/92km to go
Several readers have pointed out that the Texas flag which is flying today in
Paris in honour of Lance's sixth Tour win, is upside down and looks more like
the Cuban flag than the Texan flag...
Well it wasn't us!
15:44 CEST 73km/90km to go
The peloton crosses the river Marne and is now in the outer 'burbs of Paris.
The sun is shining quite pleasantly now, and the temperature is warming up to
the high 20's.
JP Nazon punctures, but there's no panic and he gets a new rear wheel. He's
still in the caravan so there should be no problem getting back on.
15:49 CEST 76km/87km to go
Nazon is now in the peloton again, helped back by three teammates. Voeckler
is in his customary position of third last wheel.
Up front, it's Padrnos on Rubiera setting a steady tempo with Lance and Axel
Merckx right behind them.
The first and only climb of the day is approaching at km 82, the Cat. 4 Cote
de Montfermeil, a 600m climb at 7.2%. Who wants to be that Virenque goes for
15:51 CEST 78km/85km to go
The crowds are getting thicker as the riders cruises towards the heart of Paris.
15:54 CEST 80km/83km to go
US Postal will definitely top the prize money list in the Tour, taking home
the €400,000 prize for first place, and another big chunk for 5th (Azevedo).
The top five teams after stage 19 are:
US Postal Service - €86,684
T-Mobile - €62,308
Team CSC - €58,586
Quickstep-Davitamon - €56,319
Cofidis - €54,304
The bunch rolls into Montfermeil with a km to go before the climb. It's still
Postal on the front, with Azevedo and Noval sharing the tempo. Spectators cheer
them all the way.
15:58 CEST 82km/81km to go
The climb steepens and the crowds thicken. Moreau cheekily takes the points
ahead of Azevedo and Hincapie and moves up to 6th in the mountains GC. There
is much mirth.
16:00 CEST 83km/80km to go
The first sprint is approaching at Livry Gargan (km 86.5), and the sprinters
teams are massing in front. US Postal will probably have to take a second row
seat if the others are serious about the 6, 4, 2 points.
16:01 CEST 84km/79km to go
Lotto Domo and Credit Agricole jerseys are to the fore, mingled in with the
blue train. McEwen is watching Hushovd like a hawk.
16:03 CEST 85km/78km to go
Marichal launches a spoiler attack just before the sprint, but has most of the
Credit Agricole team on his wheel, along with McEwen, Hushovd and Zabel.
16:04 CEST 86.5km/76.5km to go
Four Credit Agricole riders lead out Hushovd: Moreau, Fedrigo, Joly and Dean.
But McEwen jumps early and takes the points from Hushovd and Zabel. McEwen now
has a 13 point lead in the green jersey comp, and looks very pumped.
16:05 CEST 87.5km/75.5km to go
The sprinters now sit up and wait for the peloton. The crowds are getting bigger.
This is a huge stage for spectators.
16:11 CEST 90km/73km to go
Nicolas Portal (Ag2r) has a problem with some plastic in his derailleur. He
stops and fixes it, gets going again, stops, fixes it again....
Simeoni is back at the front again, right behind the boys blue, planning another
attack no doubt.
16:13 CEST 92km/71km to go
The peloton is now riding through Neuilly-sur-Marne at a steady Postie pace.
Krivstov has dropped back to wait for Nicolas Portal, who had an encounter with
a plastic bag a few km ago.
Steven has emailed us from the turn on the Champs Elysées by the Arc de Triomphe.
"I'm on the barriers for 6 hours. Tell them to hurry!"
An attack! It's Simeoni and a RAGT and a Rabobank rider!
16:15 CEST 93km/70km to go
Kroon is the Rabo rider and drops off the pace. Simeoni continues his effort
but the Postal train is quickly up to speed and pegs him back.
16:17 CEST 95km/68km to go
The attack of Simeoni has strung the peloton out in one long line. This time,
it's Hincapie who leads the Postal train up to the Italian's back wheel. Ekimov
makes a sign with his index and little finger on his helmet as he passes him.
The Postal boys now start to roll over. The race is starting.
Voeckler was caught out by that attack, but he's back to the rear end of the
16:19 CEST 96km/67km to go
For those of you who haven't been following the Simeoni/Lance feud, I refer
you to our stage
18 live report.
Simeoni decides to attack again. He doesn't get far. Ekimov has a chat to him.
16:21 CEST 98km/65km to go
Simeoni attacks a fourth time, and gets Andrea Peron (CSC) for company before
the blue train swallows him up.
So what are the chances of Simeoni riding for Discovery Channel next year?
Ekimov's sign to Simeoni was (allegedly) the Texan "Hook 'em Horns" sign on
his helmet. It looked more than that.
16:27 CEST 102km/61km to go
The pace has picked up a bit now as the Postal workers lead the peloton into
Paris. Lance is still looking pretty chirpy, as Jens Voigt and Scott Sunderland
move up towards the front.
16:29 CEST 103km/60km to go
The bunch rides through the Bois de Vincennes, across the Quai de Bercy and
into the centre of Paris.
Our readers response to the actions of Lance and co. squashing Simeoni is split
about 50-50. Half of you believe that it's very bad sportsmanship of Armstrong
to chase down Simeoni at every opportunity, while the other half support him
for being authoritative.
16:35 CEST 107km/56km to go
Postal is driving the tempo up in the peloton under the Quai de Bercy and Quai
de la Rapee. Voeckler seems to have had too much fluid and is trying to eliminate
it at the back of the bunch.
16:38 CEST 110km/53km to go
The tempo is upped to 45-50 km as the bunch rolls onto the Boulevard Henri IV.
Just 4 km to go before the first passage of the finish line. They're now passing
through the Place de la Bastille and are on the Rue de Rivoli.
16:39 CEST 112km/51km to go
Past the Hotel de Ville (no vacancy) and onto the finishing circuit, the Postal
boys lead all the way.
16:42 CEST 114km/49km to go
Armstrong is sheltered behind his nine man train as they cross the Place de
la Concorde and come up to the finish line for the first time. Let the biggest
criterium in the world begin!
16:43 CEST 114km/49km to go
It's Ekimov who drives the bunch at high speed past the line with 8 x 6.5 km
laps to go. All the GC riders are well place. Sylvain Chavanel (Brioches) makes
the first attack. He might be able to take the sprint points but there's a host
of sprinters behind him.
16:44 CEST 116km/47km to go
Hushovd and McEwen go head to head for the Haut des Champs Elysées, and it's
Hushovd who holds off the green jersey wearer. 11 points is the difference again!
16:45 CEST 117km/46km to go
A Brioches rider has a small gap at the Arc, and with a whole lotta teammates
behind him he might be able to open it up more. It's Jerome Pineau.
Fedrigo took third in the sprint.
Pineau hammers on the downhill over the light cobblestones of the Champs Elysées,
cheered by thousands of fans lining the road 5-6 deep. Erik Dekker bridges the
gap to him, then Merckx.
Merckx is halfway across to the leaders and has caught them now. It's full on
pursuit behind them.
16:48 CEST 117km/46km to go
Voeckler has now got himself to the front of the bunch, which is bearing down
on the three men in front. It's extremely difficult to get away in this stage.
16:49 CEST 118km/45km to go
Bettini, Voeckler, and Sunderland have a small gap with Merckx still there too.
Santos Gonzalez bridges the gap but the peloton is coming.
16:50 CEST 120.5km/42.5km to go
There's 10 men off the front as they reach the line for the second time. Jalabert,
Flecha, Sunderland, Voeckler, Merckx... 10 seconds.
16:52 CEST 122km/41km to go
The break is in the right hand gutter as it reaches the Arc with a 18 second
Kroon, Bettini, Jalabert, Pereiro, Flecha, Astarloza, Sunderland, Voeckler,
Merckx and J. I. Gutierrez are the men in front.
The leaders are working well, as Sunderland rolls over Merckx. Then Gonzalez
(or is it Pereiro?) and Gutierrez come through for their turns.
16:55 CEST 125km/38km to go
It is Pereiro, and the composition of the break is: Kroon, Bettini, Jalabert,
Gonzalez, Flecha, Astarloza, Sunderland, Voeckler, Merckx, J. I. Gutierrez.
The peloton is now 35 seconds back.
16:57 CEST 126.5km/36.5km to go
The blue train is setting the tempo in the peloton with a token Credit Agricole
rider: Benoît Salmon. Matt Wilson (FDJ) is also up there, as well as a Gerolsteiner
rider. Most of the sprinters teams have men in the break, so there's no need
The leaders are almost at the end of lap 2. Across the Place de la Concorde
and up to the finish line, with Bettini driving.
16:58 CEST 127km/36km to go
The peloton is looking pretty thin now as four riders are working on the front,
chasing the 10 leaders. 36 seconds at the line.
Voeckler looks good as he rolls through for his turn up towards the Arc.
16:59 CEST 128km/35km to go
Karsten Kroon is Rabobank's representative up here, and Axel Merckx is looking
very good too for Lotto-Domo. This is a tough climb up to the Arc, but they're
making good ground.
Sunderland hammers and leads them round the top corner. The crowds are incredible
up here. 10 deep even. 39 seconds.
17:01 CEST 129km/34km to go
The leaders fly down the "descent" on the cobbles, all still working hard, doing
short turns. Flecha is in the break, a handy man to have.
Credit Agricole has more guys on the front of the bunch now. US Postal is right
17:03 CEST 130km/33km to go
Along the Quai des Tuileries and then under the tunnel, the break is making
good ground on the peloton where there is a bit of panic from the Credit Agricole
Lotto will be very happy if this break stays clear. a) because it has Merckx
in it and b) because no-one can threaten McEwen's green jersey.
17:03 CEST 131km/32km to go
Botcharov buries himself on the front of the bunch with Farazijn (Cofidis) on
The break is not working perfectly, but it's hanging together. Kroon comes through
and looks for the rest.
17:04 CEST 132km/31km to go
The leaders traverse the Place de la Concorde at 55 km/h and are coming up to
5 laps to go. The gap is 40 seconds and steady.
A rough average speed for the first three laps: 53 km/h. Impressive.
17:06 CEST 133.5km/29.5km to go
The peloton has pegged it at 35 seconds at the line, but there's still a bit
of work to do to haul the leaders back.
In front: Kroon, Bettini, Jalabert, Pereiro, Flecha, Astarloza, Sunderland,
Voeckler, Merckx, J. I. Gutierrez.
17:08 CEST 134km/29km to go
Sunderland is riding well, leading them up to the Arc again, hammering around
the corner and bringing the break up to speed again. The peloton is still riding
hard behind, with Wilson on the front. They're both Aussies, but there's no
cries of "Judas", thankfully.
Moreau punctures and gets a quick bike change at the Arc. Crash in the bunch
- an RAGT rider and Casar. Eisel is also there. Casar is waiting for a wheel.
This is going to be tough to get back.
17:10 CEST 137km/26km to go
Casar is on Eisel's wheel, doing 60 km/h down the Champs Elysées in pursuit
of the peloton. That crash/change would have cost 30 seconds. It's very difficult
to come back without help. He gets help from the caravan.
The gap is stable at about 37 seconds as the bunch crosses the place de la Concorde
on back straight.
17:12 CEST 138.5km/24.5km to go
Under the tunnel and up to the Place de la Concorde on the other side of the
course, the breakaways are riding flat out. Their gap is still 37 seconds and
it's 10 riders versus 6 on the front of the peloton, leading the chase.
17:13 CEST 139km/24km to go
The speed is still 53 km/h as the peloton comes up to the line with four laps
to go, 33 seconds behind the 10 leaders.
17:14 CEST 140km/23km to go
The breakaways climb the hill up to the Arc, hugging the right hand gutter.
Jose Ivan Gutierrez comes through for his turn, rolling over Pereiro. This is
flat out racing. Jalabert goes next, and then Sunderland. Bettini leads them
round the corner.
Botero and Aldag have now move to the front of the peloton to help chase. There's
about eight riders now doing the work to chase the break. It's still 33 seconds.
Casar is on the back of the bunch again.
17:17 CEST 142km/21km to go
In the bunch, Botero does a big turn down the Champs Elysées as Moncoutié and
Guerini come up to lend a hand. There's also a Liberty rider there. This could
doom the break, but it's 35 seconds with 3.5 laps to go.
In front, Pereiro pedals a big gear as he does his turn, then Sunderland and
Voeckler. Bettini is looking strong.
17:19 CEST 143km/20km to go
Moncoutié and Botero lead the chase with Guerini also up there. T-Mobile want
to put Zabel in a good position for the win. Credit Agricole has dropped out
of the chase.
Ullrich is right up near the front behind a few blue boys.
17:19 CEST 146km/17km to go
The leaders are across the Place de la Concorde and are coming up to the sixth
finish line passage. All the time, they have a 35 second gap.
They're lapping in about 7'30 for 6.5 km.
The peloton is pulling them back and it's 23 seconds across the line.
Sunderland does another big turn up the hill, trying to keep the break clear
from the clutches of the peloton. Merckx is suffering, forcing the pace too.
The peloton is getting closer.
T-Mobile has decided to use the heavy artillery. Jan Ullrich himself is on the
front of the peloton and has pulled the leaders back a bit more.
Bettini leads round the Arc, looks across and sees Ullrich towing the peloton
15 seconds behind. That will create Doubt.
Simeoni is in fourth last wheel in the company of his teammates.
17:24 CEST 147km/16km to go
The breakaways are flying down the Champs Elysées with 15 seconds of their lead
intact. The peloton is really motoring thanks to Ullrich's effort.
Basso and Armstrong are right behind each other.
17:25 CEST 148km/15km to go
Across the Place de la Concorde and along the Quai des Tuileries, the breakaways
are not giving an inch. The gap is 15 seconds as Liberty and T-Mobile lead the
chase. It's up to 19 seconds again.
17:26 CEST 149km/14km to go
The 10 leaders have really lit up this stage: Kroon, Bettini, Jalabert, Pereiro,
Flecha, Astarloza, Sunderland, Voeckler, Merckx, J. I. Gutierrez.
Ullrich is back on the front of the bunch, with Nardello on his wheel. He immediately
carves 5 seconds off the lead. Ouch.
17:27 CEST 151km/12km to go
2 laps to go and the 10 man breakaway is fighting a losing battle, but it's
not over yet. The peloton is in a very very long line in pursuit.
Bettini on the front, grimly determined. 8 seconds lead at the line, with Nozal
leading the chase for Liberty.
Voeckler and Sunderland roll over, then Merckx. The gap is just 5 seconds but
the Ullrich driven peloton is now bearing down on them.
Bettini attacks just for something to do.
17:29 CEST 153km/10km to go
Bettini takes Pereiro, Kroon and the rest with him. The peloton is 5 seconds
back at the top of the Arc. Ullrich's dropped back to fifth wheel.
Kroon goes it alone on the downhill section, but the other breakaways haul him
back. The peloton hasn't quite closed the gap. Ahh, here's Ullrich again.
17:31 CEST 155km/8km to go
Ullrich pulls the bunch up to the break and it's history. Less than 1.5 laps
Jalabert has another go but hasn't really got the gas, despite the bottle sticking
out of his back pocket. Peloton together is it goes under the tunnel.
Voeckler attacks again, and gets nowhere. Ullrich brings a few riders up. Cancellara
17:34 CEST 156km/7km to go
About 10 riders are off the front as they come up to the line with 1 lap to
go. Ullrich, Voeckler, Cancellara are all there.
17:35 CEST 157km/6km to go
Da Cruze, Dekker, Ullrich, Klöden(!), Voeckler are all in the break. Ullrich
is looking imposing.
Flecha counter attacks up towards the Arc. He is pursued.
17:36 CEST 157.5km/5.5km to go
The pace is still brutally fast as Flecha switches to the right hand gutter
where it's smooth. He has 5 seconds at the top.
The peloton starts to get organised to chase down Flecha. 3 seconds.
17:37 CEST 158.5km/4.5km to go
Flecha's teammate Cancellara is well placed at the front of the peloton, ready
to counter. Flecha opens up a nice gap on the descent.
17:38 CEST 159km/4km to go
Quick.Step forms a train with Bettini, Mercado and Rogers in pursuit of Flecha,
who has 2 seconds. He's gone.
17:38 CEST 160km/3km to go
Three Quick.Step riders lead two Fassas and two Gerolsteiners onto the Place
de la Concorde for the back section.
The pace is intensely high as Bettini continues his job in front. Then Dufaux
takes over with Rogers on his wheel. Zabel moves up.
17:39 CEST 161km/2km to go
McEwen is on Hushovd's wheel on the right hand side. They hit the tunnel for
the last time.
Rogers leads out of the tunnel with two Fassas on his wheel. All together with
1.5 km to go.
17:41 CEST 162km/1km to go
FDJeux.com start a train on the right side. Pozzato is well placed, looking
for a stage win.
Ivanov leads Zabel up to the front with 1 km to go. McEwen is down a bit, on
Hushovd's wheel. Boonen is much better placed.
17:42 CEST 163km/0km to go
Across the Place de la Concorde and Tosatto swerves, Zanini avoids and leads
out but Boonen is not there. Boonen comes off Zabel's wheel, goes up the middle
and he and Hondo go head to head to the line and it's Boonen who wins!!!!!!!!
Nazon takes second from Hondo, McEwen and Zabel. McEwen wins the green jersey.
Tom Boonen wins his second Tour stage in one of the nicest sprints of his career.
What a fantastic debut Tour for the young Belgian. Let the comparisons with
Yellow jersey Lance Armstrong finishes in 114th place, 19 seconds behind the
winner after easing off in the final kilometres with his teammates as company.
He can finally claim his historic sixth Tour de France win, the first rider
ever to do this. It's been a dominating performance from Armstrong and his team
for the last three weeks. The only stage that he conceded any time to his rivals
was that to La Mongie when Basso beat him by about a bike length. Since then,
it's been all Armstrong, all the time.
We've seen some good performances from Andreas Klöden and Ivan Basso, who could
be the next generation of Tour winners. Ullrich was a little disappointing in
fourth, but he'll be back for another crack next year. Will Armstrong? We'll
With McEwen taking the green for the second time in his career, the other jerseys
went to Richard Virenque (mountains) and Vladimir Karpets (young rider). T-Mobile
won the team classification.
Filippo Simeoni took the Most Combative prize for the day! But Richard Virenque
claimed the overall Most Combative prize over the three weeks.
Thanks for following our live coverage of the Tour de France on Cyclingnews.
We'll be back with the Olympics, late season World Cups, Vuelta, World Championships
and whatever else in the coming months. And cows.
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick.Step-Davitamon 4.08.26
2 Jean Patrick Nazon (Fra) Ag2r
3 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Gerolsteiner
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo
5 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile
6 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Cofidis
7 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis
8 Baden Cooke (Aus) FDJeux.com
9 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Domina Vacanze
10 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank
114 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor 0.19
Final general classification
1 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal p/b Berry Floor 83.36.02
2 Andreas Klöden (Ger) T-Mobile Team 6.19
3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 6.40
4 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 8.50
5 Jose Azevedo (Por) US Postal p/b Berry Floor 14.30
6 Francisco Mancebo Pérez (Spa) Illes Balears - Banesto 18.01
7 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 18.27
8 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 19.51
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank 20.12
10 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 22.54
the commentary team