Upsetting the game plan for McEwen and co.
By Shane Stokes in Paris
The predicted script for today's final stage of the Tour de France was that a bunch of riders would attack, tear up and down the Champs Elysées, make a gallant effort to stay away until the end, but be reeled in with one or two laps to go. Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady and Thor Hushovd would then unleash the turbos and scorch down the cobblestoned finishing straight, settling the stage win and maillot vert between them. That's what we expected, anyway.
The thing is, a couple of guys never read that script. One of these was Francaise Des Jeux's Bradley McGee, a former world pursuit champion who wanted to use that speed to salvage a disappointing, injury-hampered Tour.
The second was Alexandre Vinokourov, the swashbuckling T-Mobile rider who has been one of the main animators of this year's race. He's had real high points and several low ones in the Tour, bursts of speed which dynamited the bunch in the mountains and also moments of weaknesses which saw him slip right back. The Kazakhi's unpredictable but exciting, a born attacker who rides on adrenaline and impulse rather than plans and logic. And it was that same aggression that paid off today.
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