Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) finished second behind Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) but had plenty to celebrate as he looked up to the Arc du Triomphe after crossing the finish line on the Champs-Élysées. With Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) only finishing seventh, Petacchi was confirmed as the winner of the points competition.
Petacchi was clearly emotional as he climbed on the podium to pull on the special green jersey. He won two stages in the first week of the Tour but has fought off illness, rivalry from Thor Hushovd and Cavendish, and the accusation of doping in Italy to win the special jersey.
The 36-year-old Italian scored a total of 243 points, beating Cavendish by 11 points and Hushovd by 21 points.
"This jersey is very special for me because I came to the Tour just hoping to win a stage and never even thought I had a chance to win the points competition," he said.
"I won two stages and the jersey came along stage after stage. I've got to thank my teammates if I managed to win it, because they played a huge part by helping me so much in the sprints.
"Since breaking my kneecap in 2006, I've faced a string of major problems. It was a similar story in this Tour but thanks to the help of my family and all the people who have always been close to me, I got through it. It's a pity my son Alessandro isn't here because I wanted to take him onto the podium with me but I took a special good luck charm with me: his first pair of shoes."
Petacchi is the first Italian to win the green jersey at the Tour de France since Franco Bitossi in 1968.
"I've known Franco for a long time and I'm honoured to inherit his title of last Italian to win the green jersey," he said.
"He was great champion. I'm just a rider who has always given his all during his career and I think this green jersey is another important victory of my career."