Skip to main content

Live coverage

Tour de France 2011: Stage 21


Only 95km are left in this year's Tour de France and Cadel Evans of BMC Racing Team can hardly wait to climb on the top step of the podium in Paris. 

This year's Tour is as good as over – this afternoon is only the ceremonial run-in to Paris.  Most of the stage is light-hearted, but just wait until the Champs Elysees – things will be hopping there as the sprinters take their last chance!

The stage will start in about seven minutes, with the "real" start about 20 minutes later.

What a time trial that was yesterday!  Congratulations to Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), who must have had some pretty nervous moments there at the end. And of course to the new – and final – yellow jersey Cadel Evans!

As expected, the peloton observed a moment of silence to honour the victims of the recent tragedies in Norway.  Cyclingnews joins in sending its sympathy.

The two Norwegian riders in the race, Thor Hushovd and Edvald Boasson Hagen, lined up with the four jersey-wearers at the head of the race at the start line.

Things are off to the usual leisurely start.  The four jeseys roll along at the head of the field.

EVans is sporting not just a yellow jersey, but also a yellow bike, helmet and sunglasses.  He also has a very big smile!

Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel is quite resplendant in his polka-dot jersey and shorts.  And is it just me or do those red dots have a very orange tinge to the?

A photo opportunity of two grinning Schlecks riding arm-in-arm with Evans.

We had 168 riders at the start today, which means that 31 have dropped out along the way for one reason or another.  Hardest hit are RadioShack and Katusha, both of which have lost four riders.   Surprisingly, eight teams are still at full strength.

There's not a lot to be said about today's stage, although if there is, we will of course say it. 

Lots of chatting going on.  Plus we just saw that Hushovd said something on Fabian Cancellara's radio.

Andy Schleck borrows a photographer's camera with a huge lens and snaps a few happy pix.

Of the 20 stages so far, we have had 13 individual winners.  The repeat winners are Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) with 4, and two each for Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky).

Now Evans' BMC riders have moved up to him for photos.

Johnny Hoogerland of Vacansoleil is still wearing bandages on his legs from his barbed-wire encounter, but he can look upon them as honourable scars.

Team wise, we have had 10 winners.  HTC-Highroad leads here too, with five stage wins from two riders.  Garmin-Cervelo has four, the team time trial, two from Hushovd and one from Tyler Farrar.  Omega Pharma-Lotto can boast of three wins, from three different riders:  Philippe Gilbert, Andre Greipel and Jelle Vanendert.  Sky was the only other repeater, with both wins coming from Boasson Hagen.

Today's stage started from Creteil. The last time a stage ran from Creteil to Paris, was 1987. Back then it was a 192 km stage won by the American Jeff Pierce.

Of course the last American to win in Paris was Greg Lemond in 1989.

(And many thanks to Carl0880, for this and much of the info here today!)

The stage has officially started!  And what happens?

Well, nothing, actually....

Ten different nations were represented atop the daily podium.  Great Britain and Norway are tied with four wins each.  Germany, Spain and Belgium each had two. That leaves one each for USA, Australia, Portugal, Luxembourg and France.

Phil Gilbert and Andy Schleck have a chat.  Perhaps he is trying to convince Gilbert to join Leopard Trek next year?

Five riders wore the yellow jersey this year.  Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) had it the longest – 10 days.  Hushovd wore it seven days, leaving one day each for Gilbert, Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) and Evans.

The green jersey for the points ranking has made the rounds, too.  Gilbert and Joaquin Jose Rojas swapped it back and forth for a while, before it wandered over to Cavendish.  Right now we still don't know whose shoulders it will end up on!

Best young rider has been variously Geraint Thomas (Sky), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Arnold Jeannesson (FdJ), Rigoberto Uran (Sky), and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), before Pierre Rolland claimed it with his impressive climb up the Alpe d'Huez on Friday.

Garmin-Cervelo will go home with the best team ranking.  Along the way it has shared the honours with Omega Pharma-Lotto, Europcar and Leopard Trek.

Looking back over the last three weeks, I hate to say it but the one moment that most sticks in my mind is from stage nine, seeing that car hit Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil).  That was truly unforgettable, although in a negative way.  As was the sight of the injured Alexandre Vinokourov being helped up back to the road.

Evans drops back to the very end of the field.  Back, n fact, to his team car.

And now he has the traditional glass of champagne, to toast his victory.

Once again Cyclingnews and Easton Cycling have teamed up for a contest during the Tour.  We have some great prizes line up for you, ranging from a signed BMC team jersey to the grand prize, a complete BMC Teammachine SLR0.  For more, just click here.  

All you have to do is answer one trivia question and you are automatically entered.  And you get 21 chances, one per stage!

Here is today's trivia question in the Easton/Cyclingnews Tour de France Trivia Challenge:  Not counting the 2011 Tour, which country has won the most Tours?

If you need a hint, click here.

You are entered for the random drawing for prizes by filling in your answer here.    Good luck!


Normally Paris is a procession, but you never know what might happen. In the last 10 years, we have had 2 DNS for the 21st stage, 203 Uwe Peschel and in 06 with Florent Brard. Time can be lost, and in fact one rider in the top 5 knows this.

Normally the last place rider of the stage comes in roughly one to one-and-a-half minutes behind. The largest time loss on the final stage in the last 5 years... belongs to none other then Thomas Voeckler, who in 2007 lost 4:08 on the winner that day.

Coincidently, the rider who finished next to last on that stage is his current teammate and 2010 KOM winner, Anthony Charteau, who was 2:30 down.

Carlos 0880 came up with somre more interesting numbers for us: Thor Hushovd has 10 TDF stage wins, but he was won stages in 8 different Tours (2 in '11 and '06, 1 in '10,'09,'08,'07,'04, and '02) That puts him in a 3 way tie for 3rd. The Sprinter Andre Darrigade won stages in 11 different Tours. Lance Armstrong won stages in 9 Tours. Tied with him at 8 are Andre Leducq, and the Badger himself, Bernard Hinault.

86km remaining from 160km

No attacks yet.  Not that we expected any yet.

Cadel Evans stops and climbs off his bike!


No, don't worry, he is just changing bikes from his pretty yellow one to his usual one.

But he is way behind the field!  Will he catch up again, without help?

We don't really think that will be a problem.

Small tidbit about Hinault, he won a stage in every TDF he participated in.

Eddy Merckx only participated in 7 Tours, winning stages in 6 of them.

Just in case you forgot, here is the Top Ten coming in today's stage, and presumably the Top Ten at the end of the day, too:

1     Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team     83:45:20      
2     Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek     0:01:34      
3     Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek     0:02:30      
4     Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar     0:03:20      
5     Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SunGard     0:03:57      
6     Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi     0:04:55      
7     Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD     0:06:05      
8     Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale     0:07:23      
9     Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo     0:08:15      
10     Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale     0:10:11      

The points classification is the only one not yet settled.  There are only 15 points between Cavendish and Rojas, so it all depends on the outcome of today's stage.  The rankings at the moment:

1     Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad     280      pts
2     Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team     265      
3     Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto     230      
4     Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team     208      
5     Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo     195      
6     Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling     157      
7     André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto     130      
8     Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi     105      
9     Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SunGard     105      
10     Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo     101    

Fabian Cancellara drops back to his team car for a long chat.  Perhaps planning a long solo breakaway?

“Samu” Sanchez finally climbed to the top of the mountain rankings and isn't going to give it up.

1     Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi     108      pts
2     Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek     98      
3     Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto     74      
4     Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team     58    5     Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek     56      
6     Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank SunGard     51      
7     Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ     45      
8     Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar     44      
9     Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Pro Team Astana     40  10     Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team     40    

77km remaining from 160km

Lots of happy faces on this still-leisurely ride.

Astana's Roman Kreuziger drops back to the medic's car for some treatment.

For some reason, only the top three best young riders are available.  Rolland should be able to defend his lead and take the white jersey home with him.

1     Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar     83:56:03      
2     Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne     0:00:46      
3     Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun     0:07:53      

Garmin-Cervelo is top team here!

1     Team Garmin-Cervelo     250:57:43      
2     Leopard Trek     0:11:04      
3     AG2R La Mondiale     0:11:20      
4     Team Europcar     0:41:53      
5     Euskaltel-Euskadi     0:52:00      
6     Sky Procycling     0:58:24      
7     Katusha Team     1:09:39      
8     Saxo Bank SunGard     1:16:12      
9     FDJ     1:30:16      
10     Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne     1:47:29    

Might the Tour start in Qatar in 2014?  And might we see the Alpe d'Huez in both the Tour and the Giro next year?

Anything is possible....

Now there's a nice picture.  Evans and Contador having a friendly chat!

Bad news if you are a fan of Rojas and hoping for him to have a chance at the green jersey. The last time a Spaniard won in Paris?? How about all the way back in 1955, by Miguel Poblet. Other notable last winners:

Last Belgium- 2008 Geert Steegman
Last Italian- 2007 Daniele Bennati
Last French-2003 Jean Patrick Nazon
Last Australian-Robbie McEwen in 02.

Andy Schleck has worked his way through the team cars, chatting with his own and BMC's.  Now he is at the official race jury car.

68km remaining from 160km

Things are starting to happen!  With the intermediate sprint coming up in 9 km or so, Omega Pharma-Lotto has moved up to the front of the field.

Still a lot of happy chatting going on, but things will get serious soon enough.

Pierre Rolland is the first Frenchman in white since Benoit Salmons in 1999.

Happy Birthday Ferdi Kubler!  Today is the 92nd birthday of the 1950 TDF Champion and 1951 World Champion.

Maybe in honour of the great Swiss Rider, Cancellara can pull off a victory. He did finish 3rd back in 2005 on the streets of Paris.

We can't do numbers:  the intermediate sprint isn't until 35km to go.

Polka Dot jersey- When you think of racers from Spain, you think of mountain specialists. Samuel Sanchez is the first Spaniard to win the jersey since 1974, when Domingo Perurena won it. Mariano Martinez won the jersey in 1978, was born in Spain, but was a naturalized French citizen as of 1963.

Everyone talks about the difficulties of the Giro/Tour Double, which has been done on 12 occasions, but the Tour/Vuelta double has only been done twice, Jacque Anquetil in 1963 and Bernard Hinault in 1978. Cadel has been mentioned for maybe going to the Vuelta, or the new Pro Cycling Classic in Colorado.

Europcar is of course proud of what it has accomplished at this Tour, and will look to get even stronger in the future.  More here.

Ah, Paris...... perhaps now thngs will start happening!

Hushovd back at the team car stocking up on bidons.

Ah, the tempo has finally picked up!

Was this the cleanest Tour in years?  Some experts think so.

And we are finally on the closing circuit course!  They are now approaching the finish line for the first time.

The field takes the sharp u-turn and heads back up.  Still all together.

And just like that a handful of riders jump away.

They aren't away though.

Down into the tunnel they fly!

A RadioShack rider has a small lead.

Much looking around and waiting to see who will go.

42km remaining from 160km

A Sky rider has now built up a slight lead, then a group of three or so ahead of the field.

Not Sky, but Rui Costa of Movistar.  The green helmet fooled us....

41km remaining from 160km

The three chasers have been caught, but Rui Costa holds on to his slight lead.

But now he is caught too.

Now three riders in the lead:  Chavanel, Rui Costa and a Rabobanker.

Caught and the next attack comes!  This tme it really is a Sky rider.

It is the aptly-named Ben Swift who has ridden out a tidy little lead.

Five riders give chase.

The field likes this group as their pace slows down.

Down into the dark of the tunnel and back into the sunshine.

The chasers have now caught Swift.  Let's see i we can't catch some names. 

Koren of Liquigas, Bak of HTC, Riblon of AG2R, Paolinho, Roy, and Swift.

BMC of course at the head of the field.

35km remaining from 160km

And they bump along over the cobblestones with a 29 second lead.

The intermediate sprint appraoches:  HTC leads out Cavendish who easily takes the seventh place, with a teammate behind him, and Rojas only ninth.

So Cavendish can add another point or two to his lead.

Koren won the max amount of points at teh sprint.

Ooh, Cavendish has to stop and change bikes.  That throws him back, but he has a teammate there to help pull him back up to the field.

Not good, when everything is moving so fast!

And now they are already back in the field.

The tunnel again.  We do so hope that they come out again.....

Yes, they made it through again!

Omega Pharma-Lotto is building up at the front, hoping to put Greipel across the line first.

Garmin-Cerveo is also up there helping to lead the chase as they cross the finish line again.

Evans is safely protected by his team.  A crash now would be very bad -- he does have to cross the finish line to win!

World Champion Thor Hushovd himself leads the chase.

Another turn and they all head away from the Arch du Triumph.

Who is that at the back of the field?  None other than Belgian champion Phil Gilbert.

25km remaining from 160km

25 km still to go and a gap of 36 seconds.

The leading group crosses the finish line for the fifth time.

And so does the peloton.

All the usual suspect teams are the front of the field.

22km remaining from 160km

The gap is actually climbing, now up to 43 seconds.

Ther was a crash:  Barredo of Rabobank, but he is ok and going again.

Barredo is just about back to the peloton.

Once more into the tunnel!

The field passes the finish line again.  Only 18km to go!

This escape group is working well together and still has 36 seconds.  Think they might make it o the end?

No, not really.....

15km remaining from 160km

The gap is falling ever so slightly, now down to 32 seconds.

The peloton has picked up its speed and is getting strung out.

Another crossing of the finish line. We have lost count by now, but we know that there are only 11.7km left to go.

The gap is now under 30 seconds.

The peloton is bunched back up again.

9.7km to go and a gap of 22 seconds.

We haven't mentioned the weather yet:  it is lovely!  (For a change!)  Sunny and about 21° Celsius.

8km and 18 seconds.

The peloton is strung out single file as th gap is 18 seconds still.

The break group approaches the finish line for the next-to-last time.

The bell lap!

The gap is down to 13 seconds and soon will be nothing.....

Barredo takes off from the field.

The lead group falls apart as the field approaches.

Swift and Bak still in the lead.  Barredo passes the others.

BAk pulls away from Swift.  Thnk he can take ths stage instead of his teammate Cavendish?

Surprise, HTC-HIghroad at the head of the peloton..... 3.6 km to go.

Another rider jumps, from FdJ.

Bak holds on to an 11 second gap.

2.5km to go!

Bak's gap is down to 4 seconds and he gives up.

Phil Gilbert at the head of the field, followed by Hushovd.

The last km of this year's Tour de France!

Eisel takes over the lead work. 

HTC in the lead.

Hushovd out.  Cav on thrd wheel.

The final straight.

No Cav goes!

ANd Cavendish takes it for the third time in a row!

GC winner Evans also crosses the finish line and is immediately buried in a group hug by his teammates.

Cavendish is thus the first Briton to win the green jersey, and also the first rider to win on the Champs Elysees three times.

Second on the stage was Edvald Boasson Hagen, with Andre Greipel third.  The German was the first to congratulate Cav.  Nice to see there are no hard feelings between the two.

We have our final podium, as expected: Cadel Evans, followed by Andy Schleck and Fränk Schleck.

Evans is the first Australian to win the Tour de France!  We are sure all our colleagues and friends Down Under are celebrating!

And the Schlecks are the first brother pair to be on the final podium!

The stage:

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) HTC-Highroad 2:27:02
2 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:00
3 André Greipel (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:00
4 Tyler Farrar (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:00
5 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Leopard Trek 0:00:00
6 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:00
7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:00
8 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Pro Team Astana 0:00:00
9 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:00:00
10 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:00:00

And the top ten of the final overall:

Final general classification 
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  86:12:22
2 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek  0:01:34
3 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek  0:02:30
4 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar  0:03:20
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard  0:03:57
6 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  0:04:55
7 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD  0:06:05
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  0:07:23
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo  0:08:15
10 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  0:10:11

Congratulations to Cadel Evans and Mark Cavendish for their victories today!

But congratulations also to every single rider out there today.  Finishing the Tour de France is a major accomplishment, one of which every rider can be very proud.

That's all, folks!

Thanks for joining us once again for this three-week long journey across France.  It was another thrllling race, with many highlights and lowlights.

Once more, congratulations to all and thanks to all of you.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews