94th Tour de France - ProT
France, July 7-29, 2007
Results & report
Stage 20 - Sunday, July 29: Marcoussis - Paris Champs-Élysées, 146km
Live commentary by Shane Stokes and Bjorn Haake
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 13:15 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:45 CEST
Bonjour pour la dernière fois from France, where La Grande Boucle
concludes its 94th edition and Cyclingnews brings you the live action
once again. Generally the last day that concludes on the Champs-Elysées
is a stroll with champagne drinking and then a fast criterium style racing around
the Champs with a lap of 6.5km to be completed 8 times and the sprinters taking
all the glory. But today could be a little different. Australian Cadel Evans
is down only 23 seconds and could make that gap up with time bonuses alone.
While it is a long shot, it doesn't seem to be impossible. Jan Ullrich was down
about a minute and a quarter in 2003 and vowed to fight until the line is crossed.
And that the sprinters can be beaten was shown by Alexander Vinokourov in 2005,
the last of the Lance years. Of course another American, Greg LeMond, made his
late comeback in 1989 on the Champs, gaining 58 seconds in only 24km of racing,
albeit in a time trial. Evans gained 1'27" yesterday in 55.5km. Had he achieved
the LeMond rate he would be in yellow. Although if American Levi Leipheimer
wouldn't have gotten a 10 second time penalty he would be ahead of Evans now.
Lots of if's, and when's, so let's just enjoy the last day of action in France
The riders are at the start line.
Christophe Moreau is packing his arm warmers away. Too warm.
13:48 CEST 0.1km/145.9km to go
Off they go! The
last day in the 2007 Tour has kicked off.
The atmosphere at the start was relaxed,
with the riders joking with each other. We will see if the threatened protest
will materialize. There were rumours that some teams wanted to stop one metre
from the line.
Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
is wearing the white jersey, even though he is third. But Contador is wearing
yellow and Soler is wearing polka dot. Txurruka will be presented with the most
combative rider award in Paris, though. This award is given by a jury at the
end of three weeks. The most combative award itself is only given out on a daily
basis, without a general classification. In the moment the jerseys are riding
in the front, busy to keep the pace at a reasonable 20km/h
Tom Boonen makes a sign with two
fingers. Yes Tommeke. You won two stages. Soler is on the right, then Contador,
Boonen and Txurruka is riding on the left.
They have a 'gap' of about 50 metres.
The peloton is lead by Lampre.
Christophe Moreau also made the front
group, with his French Champion jersey.
There are two category four climbs
(not so important now, as Soler can't be caught) and two bonus sprints (very
important for the green and yellow jersey battles) today.
climb comes 51 kilometres after the start and is called the Côte de Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse.
This is 2.5 kilometres long and has an average grade of 6%. The second is just
3.5 kilometres later and this, the Côte de Châteaufort, is 1.5 kilometres in
length and also 6%.
The crucial sprints are at kilometre 74 and
km 108.5. The first is outside the French anti-doping agency at Chatenay-Malabry,
the other on the Champs Elysees.
The race started in Marcoussis and
it's only 26km south of Paris. But the peloton will head south-west first, before
looping back to the French capital. Alberto Contador is pretty yellow, including
the frame of his sun glasses.
The peloton is passing a field on
their left where the local farmers have a marked a giant bicycle with white
chalk. And the real start has happened. The waving of the flag from Tour Director
Christian Prudhomme marks the end of the neutral zone.
Stefan Schumacher of Gerolsteiner
is towards the back of the field. He wasn't too pleased with his Tour. He did
well yesterday, leading ahead of Cancellara and Hoste, but crashed with 12km
to go. Hincapie talks to Contador on his left. Hincapie knows very well how
it feels to bring his captain onto the Champs.
14:07 CEST 2km/144km to go
So the 'front group'
of Contador, Moreau, Soler, Boonen and Txurruka has been 'brought back'. We
haven't seen any champagne flowing yet. Is is a sign that Evans and Predictor
aren't in celebration mood yet? Maybe we will see a tough battle all the way
to the finish.
Moreau smiles into the camera and
waves, before stuffing a sports bar in his mouth. The pace is still bearable,
at around 20 to 25km/h. The peloton goes over a freeway bridge. And the camera
goes back to Christophe Moreau, the French hero. He gets a lot of attention.
14:12 CEST 4km/142km to go
Most riders have rolled
down their arm warmers, or stuffed them away. Levi Leipheimer is used to temperatures
in St. Rosa, California, though, and still has his black arm warmers up all
the way. It is overcast today and one wouldn't call it a heat wave, either.
Contador comes back to the field
after he went to the team car. He passes German Champion Fabian Wegmann on his
all yellow bike. It used to be that riders had to wear black shorts or at least
the team shorts. Mario Cipollini changed all this, wearing yellow pants when
he was in yellow or star and stripes, matching his American Cannondale bike.
He probably doesn't remember the amount of fines he paid in his career. Well,
his teams paid... Bit he did manage to get the rules changed, so we get the
nice views of a green Boonen and a yellow Contador.
14:18 CEST 7km/139km to go
The pace has picked
up a bit, it's now between 30 to 35. It still looks like a Sunday afternoon
family ride as the riders master a large round about. They opt for the right
and it's the shortest way around.
Normally, the final stage is very
processional and this should certainly be the case until close to that first
sprint. The intermediate time bonuses, of which there are two, will earn 6",
4" and 2" for the first three past the line. So that means that a maximum of
12" is possible here. Then the finishing sprint will also see a bonus being
awarded; in this case, the gains are 20", 12" and 8".
started today 23" behind Alberto Contador and just 8" ahead of Levi Leipheimer.
He needs to either win two bonus sprints and place second on the stage, or win
the stage and take a total of 4" in the intermediate gallops. That's providing
Contador doesn't get anything himself; in other words, it's a pretty tall order.
However if he can get clear in a group which finishes ahead of the peloton,
then he could gain a bit of time that way.
What's important to mention
is that the green jersey competition is also up for grabs so the sprinters should
be going for these same intermediate points. That'll make things more difficult
for the GC riders to pick up something.
Tom Boonen starts this final
stage in the maillot vert. He has 234 points, 24 more than Robert Hunter
(Barloworld) and 28 up on Erik Zabel (Milram). Each of the intermediate sprints
will award 6, 4 and 2 points. As for the stage win, the first 25 riders past
the line will pick up points. These are 35, 30, 26, 24, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17,
16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.
stays out of trouble and keeps close to (or, even better, ahead of!) his rivals,
he should be safe as regards taking the first Tour green jersey of his career.
The next roundabout is taken on the
left. The centre is a large round field and many people have gathered here to
watch the peloton go by on this last day of this year's Tour.
A church bell! We haven't heard them
much in the last couple of days, as the field has through Gometz la Ville. Again,
many people have come out to cheer the riders on as they go on the narrow two
lane road through downtown.
Sandy Casar (Française Des Jeux)
Photo ©: Gregor Brown
Sandy Casar is at the back of the
field. He finally got a stage win in the Tour, after three second places in
the past few years, including this year when he was beaten by Cedric Vasseur.
His bandage from the right arm is gone. The win certainly helped him heal quicker
after his unfortunate encounter with a dog at almost 60km/h!
14:29 CEST 12km/134km to go
With the speed still
the same, the field heads through Frileuse. If they want to avoid the rain they
better hurry a bit. It's certainly a chance of a wet finish on the Champs today,
which will make the cobble stone section particularly tricky.
As the field heads through the small
patches of forests typical for the area outside Paris, they go past the church
St. Denis. It also rings for the Tour riders. The peloton rides double file
mostly, with team-mates and friends chatting to each other.
The kid's race on the Champs was
won by a little 'garçon of Merignac. During the Tour kids had the chance
to ride the final before the pro's. All were dressed in yellow, provided by
a sponsor. This was done on 14 occasions during the 2007 Tour, with today being
the highlight. The kids had a great sprint finish down the Champs Elysées
14:43 CEST 20km/126km to go
rider has his vest on still! Patches of blue are showing ion-between some clouds,
so maybe we will have a dry finish after all. But there are still some pretty
dark clouds as well. At any rate, the peloton is still not in a hurry, as they
take a sharp right in Le Marais.
The final stage tends to be run off
at a relaxed pace until close to Paris, when the racing begins. However in 2004
things were different; Filippo Simeoni (Domina Vacanze) attacked in the first
kilometres and caused chaos in the bunch. This led the USPS-Berry Floor squad
of Lance Armstrong to chase for seven or eight kilometres.
was seen as a reaction to the tactics of Lance Armstrong two days earlier in
that Tour, the Texan having forced Simeoni to drop out of a breakaway group
with the threat that if he did not do so, he [Armstrong] would stay in the break
and thus cause the teams of the other overall contenders to chase the move down.
Simeoni was suing Armstrong at the time in a defamation of character case. Armstrong
had called Simeoni a liar after the Italian said that Armstrong's coach, Dr.
Michele Ferrari, had supplied him [Simeoni] with doping products.
No lack of Châteaux in this
area. The next one is on the rider's left as the peloton has bunched up some
more and they are riding for abreast. And Voeckler flats. He waits at the right
hand side of the road and holds his wheel up, to make sure his team car knows
what is going on.
14:47 CEST 21.5km/124.5km to go
has no trouble coming back in no time, passing the team cars and then hitting
the end of the peloton.
Normally the yellow jersey gets champagne
while pedalling along. Not too much, mind...just enough to keep the photographers
happy as they snap-snap-snap away.
Fabian Wegmann has a Bart Simpson
mask! He's wearing it now.
This final stage can bring some funny
moments, such as the tried and trusted 'tallest guy in the bunch on the smallest
guy's bike' move.
Charly Wegelius (Liquigas)
Photo ©: Cyclingnews.com
Our reader Dennis informs us that
Charlie Wegelius grew up in Kirkkonummi (Kyrkslätt in Swedish), just like him.
It's a little town some 30km west of Helsinki. Wegelius rides for the Liquigas
team and was about 6 minutes down in yesterday's time trial. He is 45th in the
overall, ahead of names like De la Fuente, Vasseur and Cuesta.
This is Wegelius' first Tour, but
he has taken part in several Giri d'Italia. This season he was part of the Liquigas
team of Danilo di Luca who won the Italian race.
On the field of the left a horse
is trying to keep up with the peloton. Its rider is not one of the Tour guys,
just somebody on a horse. With the speed of the peloton horse and rider have
no trouble keeping up.
15:00 CEST 28km/118km to go
The first climb is
in 23 kilometres. The riders are moving quite slowly now. A Quick.Step - Innergetic
rider takes the opportunity to jump off his bike and head into a field for a
toilet break. Stomach trouble, we suspect.
Unfortunately the SRM data doesn't
appear to be in operation today. It would have been interesting to see how low
the heart rates are at this pace! Anyway, we hope you enjoyed the chance to
supplement this live coverage with streaming data from some of the riders in
The riders are in the 'parc national
regional de la Haute vallée de Chevreuse, passing the Château Porgés.
It's situated on a little hill, surrounded by trees, with a long straight road
leading up to it. There is a also the Eglise d'Assomption, but strangely enough
no bells are ringing
Perhaps Quasimodo is on a day off..
Christian Vande Velde has ended the
rumours and confirmed that he will be going to Team Slipstream next season.
This will be exciting for the American outfit led by Jonathan Vaughters.
Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) is
at the team car. Will he try something still? After he was done discussing things
with his directeur sportif he went back to the end of the peloton and discusses
some more with team-mate Johan van Summeren, before heading forward again. We
Cadel Evans gave it a great effort
Photo ©: Sirotti
15:12 CEST 34km/112km to go
Contador is chatting
with Spanish compatriot Pereiro. Easier to speak in your native language. The
Lotto boys Aerts, Hoste and Van Summeren are still hanging at the back. Truce
for now. The sprint isn't coming up for another 40km.
The German riders were seen discussing
things earlier. Will they follow through with a protest on the Champs? The spectators
don't care - they cheer the riders on, some using a step ladder to have a better
view and one lady not caring much for the peloton, instead using her yellow
umbrella to get some attention from the helicopter camera - we can also clearly
see her opening and closing the umbrella from our blimp.
The peloton rides along between a
corn field on the right and a wheat field on the left. Paris, the agricultural
Even if the GC stays the same today,
Cadel Evans fans have good reason to cheer him on. Second overall is the best
Australian performance to date in the Tour; Phil Anderson was twice fifth, a
position Evans equalled last year. He told AFP that he believes he can win a
"I'm still on my progression. I debuted in eighth, then I
came fifth and now second. I've got a good five or six years of Tour riding
in front of me, I think."
It remains to be seen if Evans will try
something today. He'll also need to keep an eye on Levi Leipheimer, who is himself
just 8" further back.
The field will be happy to pedal
slow for now and fast around the Champs later. It is perfect preparation for
the post-Tour criteriums, which start as soon as tomorrow! The crits were started
to give communities the opportunity to see the Tour heroes. The results aren't
usually important - the important part is to see the heroes. In the mean time
the field passes the Château Dampierre, built in the 17th century.
15:29 CEST 43km/103km to go
And now the Château
mauvières - do those castles never stop? Bit all are pretty and also
have nice locations in the forests. It's a little far to the next bike shop.
The nice thing about being out in
the country side is that taking a natural break is no problem. Many riders take
the opportunity to stop on the side of the road.
George Hincapie (Discovery)
Photo ©: AFP Photo
We are still in the Chevreuse valley,
in the natural 'parc'. Ralf Grabsch (Milram) and the sprinter Robert Förster
(Gerolsteiner) are discussing things. Are they talking about the latest stock
market crashes, the newest training tips or a potential protest? It is their
15:37 CEST 47km/99km to go
George Hincapie is
discussing things with a few Agritubel and Liquigas riders. He has a rain cape
stashed in his back pocket. The neon number that the riders leading the team
classification are wearing will provide a safety measure should it be getting
darker and start raining. Never go without a tail light or at least reflector.
The Château de la Madeline is passed, less than 100km from the finish.
15:43 CEST 50km/96km to go
We are close to the
first climb of the day. The top is in about 1km
Some riders are out of the saddle
but everything is together and some riders are even smiling. Hoste and Casar
are close to the front.
15:48 CEST 52km/94km to go
Thomas Lövkvist (Française
Des Jeux) has a cycling cap underneath the helmet. The Swede should find the
temps agréable. And here goes the mountain goat! Gert Steegmans
(Quickstep-Innergetic) accelerates out of the peloton and does the sprinter's
tiger jump to get his wheel across the mountain top in first. Ok, so that wasn't
a serious sprint, with Steegmans being 20 metres ahead of the field. Lövkvist
and Frederik Willems (Liquigas) get second and third.
The peloton splits up in Les Hauts
de St. Rémy around a round about. One half to the left and one half to
the right. And coming back together at the other side. Dekker and Boogerd are
discussing things. The two were hoping to arrive today with yellow in their
team and have the honour to lead the bunch to the Champs. But things have changed
with the exclusion of leader Rasmussen. And Boogerd missed out on the stage
win a couple of days ago.
15:53 CEST 54km/92km to go
A little split in
the field, but more caused by the down hill than by any action on the front.
Pineau was at the back, with his rain jacket flapping in the wind on the downhill.
15:55 CEST 55km/91km to go
Wow, Steegmans takes
the second KOM. He looks to get closer to Soler in the mountains classification.
Sorry Gert, that was it for any available mountain points and Soler will keep
it. Thanks Goodness the doping charges that some overly excited journalists
have spread a couple of days ago were completely false.
Albasini and Popovych get second
and third on that last KOM of the day. Now all is left is the flat run-in to
Paris. But we are curious about the sprint coming up at km 72 - so in less than
20km. Will Contador and Evans go for it?
Levi Leipheimer pulled out a fantastic
Photo ©: Sirotti
Oops, one rider went around the left,
whereas the peloton went around the right of a roundabout, which is shorter...In
the mean time Leipheimer stuffs in a PowerBar. Looks like the 'Wild Berry' flavour.
16:09 CEST 65km/81km to go
The riders are getting
closer to this first bonus sprint. Will Contador/Evans/Leipheimer sprint? Just
in case, two Discovery riders are on the front - Popovych and, we think, Gusev.
The pace is still pretty relaxed.
The temperatures are around 17 degrees
centigrade. It's mostly cloudy, but not too cold, so many riders have done away
with the arm warmers. Some spectators are using the separate bike path as the
grand stand. And the camera motor bike uses it as a way to get some pix of the
peloton from the side...The field is split as well, with some dividers in the
middle of the road making it necessary for some to ride on the left, 'against
The peloton is near the airport Orly,
where some riders may fly out tonight from. But some will stay in Paris for
the night, to celebrate the finish.
There's still no sign of the pace
being wound up prior to this first intermediate sprint..
Just in case, Boonen is close to
the front. We are not sure where Evans and the two Disco riders are just yet.
16:20 CEST 71km/75km to go
The peloton goes over
a bridge across the rail road tracks, while some kids are running on the side
walk, trying to keep up. Voigt and Vasseur are in an animated discussion. Jens
is gesturing a lot with his right hand. His left side is pretty banged up still
from the crash on one of the cols (down, not up.)
16:21 CEST 71.2km/74.8km to go
Just over two
kilometres to go until the sprint and the pace is still very relaxed...
From the blimp we can already see
the Eiffel Tower. The riders are in the outskirts of Paris and won't see the
famous "Tour Eiffel" yet. It's blocked by the houses.
Now two Quick.Step riders go off
the front, seeking to absorb the points. It's Barredo and one other.
There's less than 500 metres to go
so it looks like nobody of significance is going to contest this.
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
That's not to insult Barredo, of
course, just saying that he is not a contender in the tight yellow or green
The two are passed right before the line by
Lilian Jegou (Française des Jeux). But the three were going at perhaps 30 -
35 km/h; not really a sprint.
Second and third were Carlos Barredo
and Steven de Jongh, both of Boonen's Quick.Step - Innergetic team.
16:34 CEST 79km/67km to go
Casar is at the end,
lifting his arm. He wants some attention from the team car, as the peloton rides
by an observatory. But too cloudy today to see anything. And the stars are riding
in the Tour anyway.
Evans didn't contest the sprint but
we are sure his team-mates wouldn't mind trying to get him into first place
overall, even if it is a tough ask. The motivation, apart from the prestige,
is the considerable difference in prize money. The winner of this year's Tour
de France will get 450,000 euro, which he will split between his team. The second-placed
rider gets less than half that, earning 200,000 euro!
I'd sprint in that case :)
The peloton heads down a wooded area,
then manage to safely pass one of the gazillions roundabouts. The pace is slowing
down again as they ride through Meudon, where again many people have come out.
The weather is holding up so far.
Levi Leipheimer also has good reason
to try to make up the handful of seconds which separate him and Evans; his third
place overall is worth 100,000 euro.
So, have they:
a) Decided to let things stand today?
b) Decided to only start racing
when they get to Paris?
c) Agreed on a truce whereby Leipheimer won't
try to take second if Evans agrees not to chase first?
d) Some other,
as yet undetermined tactic?
Answers on a postcard to the Cyclingnews
16:42 CEST 84km/62km to go
Other race news: Santi
Botero won the prologue of the Tour of Colombia, by 8 seconds. The race will
head into the mountains soon. Another Colombian is of course making headlines
here. Mauricio Soler from the Barloworld team is the winner of the polka dot
jersey this year!
The filed is now passing the building
of L'Equipe on the left, the newspaper that really started the Tour (it was
called L'Auto back then). L'Equipe is a more fitting name.
16:45 CEST 87km/59km to go
Change at the front
of the field, as the pace picks up. The river Seine to the right it's now Discovery
on the front. They will lead Contador onto the Champs, as it's the tradition.
The France television building is passed now as well.
The field is now close to the mini
version of the Statue of Liberty (11 metres high). It's on an island in the
Seine that is connected to both sides of the river via a bridge.
The Eiffel Tower is looming on the
right, ahead of the field. The most beautiful sight for a cyclist, now doubt.
The Tower is near on the 'Champs
de Mars'. For the millennium celebration there were lights installed that now
blink periodically at night. The riders head down through a tunnel.
16:51 CEST 92km/54km to go
This tunnel looks
rather dimly lit, but the riders have no trouble finding their way. Discovery
is still at the front, keeping the pace closer to a race pace now. We are close
to the Place de la Concorde now, already on the circuit that the field will
have to do 8 times.
Alberto Contador struggles to the line
Photo ©: Sirotti
Egoi Martinez is on the front of
the bunch as they head towards the Champs Elysees. Then George Hincapie takes
16:54 CEST 94.8km/51.2km to go
the riders up what is perhaps the most famous street in the world. He's been
with the US Postal/Discovery team for all eight of its Tour triumphs. The others
then take over, with Contador sitting seventh in line.
The riders climb towards the Arc
de Triomphe, having crossed the finish line once.
at the top will do their utmost to get good shots of Contador in the maillot
jaune in front of that monument.
16:57 CEST 97km/49km to go
Thor Hushovd won here
last year, taking his second victory of the race. The Credit Agricole rider
will hope to do so again. He's already taken a stage in the race, so it would
equal his tally from last year if he manages to do so.
What an end to the Thueringen Rundfahrt,
the week long stage race for women. After almost 600km American Amber Neben
got beaten by three tenths of a second!!! Judith Arndt won the overall for the
first time in her career. What a fight! Arndt said that Neben is a great competitor
and counts her among the favourites for the Worlds in Stuttgart.
16:59 CEST 98.1km/47.9km to go
An Agritubel rider
attacks; it is Freddy Bichot.
17:00 CEST 99.5km/46.5km to go
He heads past
the huge Ferris wheel and has quite a decent lead at this point. But it's a
very difficult thing to stay clear of a hungry peloton..
He's got 15" here as he crosses the
17:01 CEST 100km/46km to go
The gap is 15 seconds
as the bunch hits the finish line for the second passage.
Cancellara has punctured...
A Predictor Lotto rider attacks!
We don't think it is Evans, though...maybe Horner. He gets hauled back.
There is an incredible amount of
people out, many with yellow T-shirts. The spectators are certainly not boycotting
the Tour. Cancellara has a flat, about 100m from the finish line as they were
heading into the third lap.
It was Horner. He's back in the peloton,
but another rider tries to go. Caisse d'Epargne. But no joy.
17:04 CEST 102km/44km to go
Bichot rounds the
corner at the top of the Champs Elysees but is caught. Vicente Garcia Acosta
(Caisse d'Epargne) and Marcus Burghardt (T-Mobile) try to go clear but nothing
is really working thus far.
17:05 CEST 104km/42km to go
The crowds are very
big here, as you might expect.
No matter the high speeds, you need
to eat. A Barloworld guy rides with one hand at 60km/h on the cobbled streets
and uses the other to get some Gel out. Very skilled!
It must be an incredible sensation
to race here...huge crowds, very wide streets, historic backdrop.
Cancellara made it back to the field
despite the high speeds. Arvesen is with him.
Simon Gerrans (Ag2r - Prévoyance)
is trying to go across to a Liquigas and a Milram rider.
17:10 CEST 106.7km/39.3km to go
it was a Gerolsteiner rider. A group of ten riders are clear heading towards
the finish line for the next crossing.
Gerrans is there, Jose Ivan
Gutierrez, Nicolas Portal (both Caisse d'Epargne), Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner),
Christian Knees (Milram), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre-Fondital), Juan Antonio
Flecha (Rabobank), Mickael Delage (Française Des Jeux), Murilo Fischer (Liquigas)
and Anthony Charteau (Credit Agricole).
They have been clear for a lap now
and have a 15" lead. Took a while to note all those names :)
Simon Gerrans (AG2r Prévoyance)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
17:11 CEST 109.1km/36.9km to go
Tour of Flanders
winner Ballan drives it, then the others come through. They are all working
100% co-operation is needed if they
are to stand a chance.
The intermediate sprint went to Gerrans
ahead of Ballan and Portal. So the general classification riders (and the sprinters)
17:13 CEST 111.4km/34.6km to go
leading the chase for Robert Hunter.
The gap is now up to 27". The whole
Barloworld team are on the front, including the youngest rider in the race,
Geraint Thomas. Well done to him for reaching Paris.
A win by Hunter today would help
his green jersey hopes, to say the least..
He is second to Tom Boonen in those
17:15 CEST 112.8km/33.2km to go
The peloton comes
out of the tunnel and continues to chase. The gap is 27".
The Australian Gerrans would love
to do something here.
Knees leads them across the finish
line for the fourth crossing.. Five laps to go.
Each lap is 6.5 kilometres. Barloworld
are riding hard but thus far, the gap remains at 27 seconds.
The main field is very stretched
out. The pace is incredibly high. Flecha is always hanging at the back. He hasn't
taken a pull yet, waiting for his trademark attack later.
If Boonen holds on to green, it will
be a happy moment for him. He changed his race programme this year, aiming to
hit form later in the season in order to have a good Tour. He finished the race
in 2004, winning the final stage ahead of Jean-Patrick Nazon (AG2R Prévoyance),
Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner), Robbie McEwen (Lotto-Domo) and Erik Zabel (T-Mobile
17:22 CEST 119km/27km to go
With 27 kilometres
remaining the gap is up to 33"... Portal leads for now as they head towards
the finish line once more.
17:23 CEST 119.5km/26.5km to go
Big George is
riding right in front of Contador. That is some good protection for the Spaniard!
The Place de la Concorde is spectacular...a
huge cobblestoned area leading onto the Champs Elysees.
17:23 CEST 120km/26km to go
Scholz leads the
break over the line for the fifth crossing. They have 33" now.
Barloworld remain on the front; 34"
gap, so it's rising at the moment.
17:25 CEST 121km/25km to go
The gap is now 37".
They may be happy to leave this break out there for a while, as it will dissuade
others from trying.
Julian Dean is sitting a bit far
back. Hopefully he can move up later to help Hushovd win again. That would be
a great finish for the Credit Agricole team.
Hushovd sends Erik Zabel (Milram) and
Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Photo ©: AFP
Ballan leads the break up to the
180 degree bend. He rides on the non-cobbled part of the road on the extreme
17:26 CEST 122.1km/23.9km to go
The gap is now
43"! That's pretty good going.
No sign of any move by Evans or Leipheimer.
They won't be able to do anything at this pace.
17:28 CEST 124km/22km to go
The peloton is now
45" back. It is thundering down the far side of the Champs Elysées. Boonen sits
near the front, with Contador on his wheel. Moreau is a little further back.
Flecha looks to be having a hard
time here. One of the Barloworld rider is on the front, using invisible time
trial bars.. That could be risky, especially with your whole team on the wheel!
They come out of the tunnel and it
is still Barloworld doing everything. They have taken two stage wins thus far,
one by Hunter and the other by Soler.
17:30 CEST 126.5km/19.5km to go
Gerrans is on
the front heading towards the sixth passage of the finish line. Then Ballan
and Portal come through. Three laps to go..
17:31 CEST 127km/19km to go
Barloworld is still
leading the peloton, followed by Discovery. They are lined up single file, the
speeds are incredibly high.
The peloton now hit the line, with
the gap at 42". Soler is sitting at the back of his team's line.
Evans has a cluster of team-mates
around him, as do Contador and Leipheimer.
Evans is setting protected by his
Predictor team mates. Barloworld is down to three riding in the front. The speed
definitely will take its toll on those who make the pace.
Flecha is hanging off the back of
the break. He's been quite quiet during this Tour.
Now Dmitriy Fofonov (Credit Agricole)
comes to the front to help the Barloworld riders. He'll be hoping Hushovd has
good legs today.
Credit Agricole takes over with Fofonov.
Barloworld is still staying close to the front, but the red colours are a bit
further back as three Credit Agricole riders take the front.
17:33 CEST 128.2km/17.8km to go
The gap is coming
down now, 35". Some splatters of rain are falling; that will make the cobbles
very slippery if it continues.
Halgand takes over, wit Botcharov
on his wheel.
Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole)
is now on the front.
17:34 CEST 130km/16km to go
are still near the front , but it is the Credit Agricole work which has diminished
the lead to 30 secs
Boonen's team probably don't have
to do much; he's leading the green jersey classification, after all, and if
this break stays clear that will suit them just fine. Well, he'd like to go
for the stage win, but he can let the teams of those who want to take his maillot
vert do the work.
Lampre is moving up on the right.
They have Ballan in the break and Bennati for the sprint. Soler is pushing through.
He prefers the mountains, no doubt.
And the field is passing the Place
de la Concorde again. Left, right, left.
17:36 CEST 130.6km/15.4km to go
The break are
still 30" clear. Flecha still sits at the back; is he planning on taking a flyer,
or is he stuffed? He's certainly been hanging a bike length or two back, which
would suggest a) he's tired, or b) he's in line for an Oscar. We will see.
17:37 CEST 132km/14km to go
The peloton is riding
along the Seine to their right, stretched out. They are going 50, 52 km/h
The riders are now inside the final
14 kilometres of this year's Tour de France! Contador needs to be careful on
17:38 CEST 132.7km/13.3km to go
As Gerrans brings
the break over the line for the seventh crossing, the gap is 24". Two laps to
17:39 CEST 134km/12km to go
19" now... Will the
peloton bring these back?
Credit Agricole and Barloworld in
the front, then it's Lampre, then Discovery. So Soler is actually ahead of the
yellow jersey right now. It's safest to stay close to the front. Less chance
of crashing. Big George is still guiding the Kid Contador.
Gerrans is doing a lot of the work;
he's riding well. Ballan too, he's back on the front.
17:40 CEST 135km/11km to go
The peloton can see
the break ahead as they are close to the turn at the l'Arc de Triomphe.
Flecha is stuffed; he lost a few
lengths on the uphill drag to the Arc de Triomphe. He gets back on.
Ok, now he is going through...maybe
some words were said to him for sitting on..
17:41 CEST 136km/10km to go
The peloton now turns.
They could see the break as the 10 were heading the other way. Only 18 secs
17:42 CEST 136km/10km to go
Ten kilometres to
go! The gap is 20".
There is a bottle on the ground,
but the peloton safely misses it. That could cause a problem.
17:43 CEST 137km/9km to go
Two Barloworlds and
three Credit riders are leading the bunch, which makes its name honour and is
a little more bunched up. Maybe the pace is going down, as the lead is going
up again. 21 secs
17:43 CEST 137.4km/8.6km to go
The break looks
a bit less organised now... Ballan goes to the front and gives it another injection
Zabel is safely tucked in. Can he
finally win in the sprinter's heaven in Paris?
The peloton is heading through the
tunnel again, led by Botcharov.
It's getting a bit scrappy at the
front. Gerrans pushes the pace at the front. They need to keep this going..
They come up on the other side. The
uphill out of the tunnel is painful!
17:45 CEST 138.1km/7.9km to go
and Flecha have gone, the Spaniard starting the move. Flecha's Academy Award
is being cleaned and ready for presentation if he can stay clear..
17:45 CEST 139.5km/6.5km to go
Two Barlo's are
now at the back. They have done their share of work and will just try to finish.
And then do the lap of honour after the race.
17:46 CEST 139.5km/6.5km to go
Flecha looks strong,
he's doing much of the work. The others have been caught and they only have
10" at the bell..one lap to go..
Flecha goes through and pushes the
pace. But they are toast...
17:46 CEST 140km/6km to go
They have been caught...
Barloworld and Lampre are at the
front, also a Credit Agricole rider.
17:47 CEST 140.6km/5.4km to go
Lampre have this
lined out for Daniele Bennati...
17:48 CEST 141km/5km to go
are about to turn at the Arc de Triomphe for the final time..
17:48 CEST 141.5km/4.5km to go
Lampre still doing
it all..the speed is really high...
17:48 CEST 142km/4km to go
Will Evans or Leipheimer
It's still Lampre...one of their
riders hurls a bottle to the side of the road.
Further back in the bunch, many riders
are trying to move up. Boonen will need to get into position..he has a green
jersey to defend..
17:50 CEST 2.5km/143.5km to go
The riders are
in one long line..
New Zealand champion Julian Dean
is now where he belongs, getting ready to deliver big Thor Hushovd of Norway
to the line!
Quick.Step and Milram are getting
into position, waiting for the right moment
17:51 CEST 144.3km/1.7km to go
They are inside
the final 3 kilometres now, so if there is a crash they all get the same time.
17:51 CEST 145km/1km to go
One kilometre to go!
Credit Agricole hits the front...
No sign of Evans...we guess he won't
Boonen is moving up..
They are onto the finishing straight..
Hunter and Boonen are sprinting hard...
But it is Bennati! He did a superb
sprint and takes his second win of the Tour!
He won one in a break, then one here
on the Champs Elysees. Contador is congratulated by his team.
Boonen faded badly in the sprint,
but took fifth...that will be enough for green. His first maillot vert.
Wow...Cancellara was seventh and
David Millar eighth in that sprint..
Sebastian Rosseler led it out for
Boonen but Bennati thundered through and held off Hushovd by about a metre.
Zabel took third.
Hunter was fourth...he's ridden well
in this Tour.
"The legs were good but the stress
and all the attention for the jersey was hard," said Tom Boonen. He said that
today he was riding to make sure of the green jersey, and that he's a bit tired
mentally after three weeks of racing for the maillot vert.
So Contador takes yellow ahead of
Evans and Leipheimer in what is one of the closest Tour finishes in years. The
young Spaniard is also landing the white jersey as best young rider, while Boonen
gets green ahead of Hunter and Zabel. Colombian rider Juan Mauricio Soler keeps
up his country's great tradition, finishing here in Paris as the best climber.
He has a promising future ahead of him...
Well, thanks to all for following
what was a very suspenseful, exciting and sometimes-scandalous Tour with us
here on Cyclingnews! We are going to take the blimp in for a much-needed service,
so that completes our live coverage for today and indeed for the 2007 race.
However we'll be back soon to bring you unfolding action from the remaining
top events of this season.
Before then, make sure to surf on back
over shortly for the results, report and news from today. Au revoir from Paris!
1 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
2 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
4 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld
5 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic
6 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des Jeux
7 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC
8 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir
9 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
10 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Liquigas
Final General Classification
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 91.00.26
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor - Lotto 0.23
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.31
4 Carlos Sastre Candil (Spa) Team CSC 7.08
5 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 8.17
6 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 11.37
7 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team 12.18
8 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 12.25
9 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 14.14
10 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 14.25
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