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Tour de France 2014: Stage 21

Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of the 21st and final stage of the 2014 Tour de France.

After three weeks of racing the riders of the Tour de France are in Paris for the final stage of this year's race.

The riders have rolled out of Evry and in the long neutralised sector of the race.

The riders will pass kilometre zero at 3:45 local time and begin the 137.5km stage that ends with laps of the Champs Elysees.

The four jersey wearers are currently leading the peloton and posing for photographs.

For the first time Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has matching yellow shorts to go with his leader's yellow jersey.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) wears the green points jersey, Thibaut Pinot (Fdj.fr) wears the best young riders white jersey and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) wears the polka-dot mountains jersey.

All the Astana team has yellow bar tape for the final stage and is riding together to celebrate Nibali's victory.

The team is about to toast Nibali's success with plastic glasses of champagne.

The Astana line out with Nibali and down their champagne. They deserve it after working so hard. 

Nibali celebrates with the Astana team cars and the Tour de France race officials before heading back to the front of the peloton.

The other riders are rolling along, laughing, smiling and enjoying the satisfaction of having finished the Tour de France.

We will have a high-speed sprint at the end of the stage, with Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) the big favourite to win again.

The stage is officially underway but the speed remains slow as the riders enjoy the moment. The speed will increase as the riders see the Tour Eiffel and then race on the Champs Elysees.

At the moment Kittel seems more worried about putting on some sun screen than racing.

The riders have upped the speed and are riding through the fields on the outskirts of Paris. The face the last small climb of the race after 30km of racing.

The Italian riders who have finished the Tour are now celebrating with Nibali.

The French are also celebrating today, with Jean-Christophe Peraud and Thibaut on the podium with Nibali.

Peraud is 37 and so perhaps past his best but Pinot is only 24 and will surely go onto challenge for success at the Tour for years to come.

Ag2r-La Mondiale is also celebrating winning the team classification by posing together for photos.

The stage includes nine full laps of the Champs Elysees circuit.

Another contender for today's expected sprint finish is French national champion Arnaud Demare (Fdj.fr). He's failed to make an impact in the sprints, with Kittel and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) dominating the sprints.

The riders are being applauded as they head to the centre of Paris.

107km remaining from 137km

The riders are still rolling slowly to wards Paris. The speed is below 30km/h but will touch 60km/h in the final lap of the race.

As so often in the past, the Astana is leading the peloton, setting the tempo for the peloton.

The Lotto Belisol riders are also celebrating after the team announced that Soudal will step as the team's new second title sponsor.

100km remaining from 137km

The crowds are gathering in the centre of Paris as the kilometres tick down.

Nibali is about to be crowned the winner of the 2014 Tour.

He has faced a series of doping questions but has always replied. Read what he said in his final press conference by clicking here.

The average speed for the first hour of racing was 32.2km/h. It's going to get much faster very soon.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has dominated the green points jersey for a third year but has yet to win a stage this race. Can he finish on a high in Paris?

 

Before the men's stage the women raced on the Champs Elysees in the historic first edition of the La Course.

Read the full race report and check out the first race photos here.

Team Sky had a difficult Tour de France after dominating the last two editions of the race.

The British team has already begun to study what went wrong and plan for 2015, when they will no-doubt be back with Froome.

Read out interview with Performance coach Tim Kerrison here.

 

75km remaining from 137km

Astana is still leading the peloton, setting a steady pace.

What was your favourite moment of the 2014 Tour de France?

We selected the stage on the cobbles and stage 18 when Nibali won alone at Haustacam.

Let us know via our Facebook page here.

We can see the Tour Eiffel from the Cyclingnews blimp and so the riders will see it soon too.

56km remaining from 137km

Here we go. the riders are in the centre of Paris and heading to the Champs Elysees.

The skies are overcast but the racing is about to heat up.

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) is the first to go off the front of the peloton on the Champs Elysees.

50km remaining from 137km

The speed is up! Here we go.

And there goes Jens Voigt!

The German veteran makes one last attack at the Tour de France.

The peloton lets him go a little but others riders are also trying to attack.

Daniel here taking over from Stephen.

 

Voigt, in his last Tour, is leading the peloton by 8 seconds. Just like Hincapie he's given his chance to lead the race into Paris. Only this time he's not being chased down by a single rider.

There are a number of counter attack now though with three riders with Van Avermaet included leading the chase. Sagan and Nibali remain well positioned near the front of the peloton.

There's been a crash and Peraud is down along with a few other riders.

Cheng is also down as we see Peraud back on his bike and riding again. Voigt has now been caught by a large chase group but they only have a few seconds over the main field.

42km to go as the race heads out from the tunnel. The gap to the break is at roughly two seconds although as Tuft powers them along. Thomas is here, Siebert too. There are around ten riders in total.

The race is back together at the front as Danny Pate sets the pace but Peraud is 22 seconds down on the peloton.

Peraud has made it back to the main field as we see Bakelants, out of contract this year, attack.

The Belgian is swiftly closed down but the bunch are lined out now as they dip close to the final 35km of racing in this stage and this year's Tour de France.

There's now an acceleration from Porte and four riders have moved clear of the field.

Porte, Morkov, Serpa and one other rider have around 8 seconds as Astana set a steady pace. They're trying to keep the attacks down and the four leaders now have 11 seconds.

Fonseca is the fourth rider in the break and he takes a turn that helps them extend their lead to 20 seconds.

Giant Shimano with Kittel in mind are now setting the pace at the front of the peloton.

They've been joined by Lotto as we see Peraud riding near the back of the field, his jersey cut to pieces. He's a lucky guy because that fall could have been a lot worse. He really needs to move up though.

Griepel is sitting in seventh wheel with most of his team leading the peloton. Peraud is finally starting to move up as well.

Jurgen van den Broeck currently sets the pace with Lotto looking for their third stage win in this year's race. They've had a mixed Tour with Greipel and Gallopin winning, the latter wearing yellow, but Van den Broeck hasn't had it in the mountains.

31km remaining from 137km

We're into the last 31km and the gap to the four leaders is now at 23 seconds.

Kirstoff has a puncture but he should make it back to the bunch without too much effort. A few teammates would be helpful though, as we see them now drop back.

Deep down the Europcar team are starting to organise their train for Coquard to have one final chance of winning a stage. The four leaders have 16 seconds with 27km to go.

Kristoff has made it back to the peloton - the chase took longer than it should, as we see Greipel looking comfortable in fifth wheel.

Orica GreenEdge has joined the chase as we see a second group of four try and move clear.

23km remaining from 137km

The race turns around the Arc de Triomphe once more and the bunch now just have four riders clear, Porte, Morkov, Serpa and Fonseca. All at 13 seconds with 23km go to.

We now just have three leaders: Porte, Serpa and Morkov.

Rogers, back with the team cars is tossing his bidons into the crowd. He takes a couple of fresh ones from the Tinkoff car as the break moves back out to 25 seconds with 20km left.

Cannodale have joined the chase though, so we have Lotto, Giant and Sagan's team setting the pace.

Durbridge has attacked from the field too but he's struggling to get a decent gap.

The Australian is quickly reeled in as Serpra, Porte and Morkov trade turns.

The chase has jumped up a notch as Giant lift the pace. Katusha and Kristoff have moved up too as Kittel and the rest of his team huddle near the front.

Tony Martin has punctured it seems and is back with the team cars.

15km remaining from 137km

Inside the final 15 of racing and the gap holds at 15 seconds.

And Porte has attacked from the break and he's clear with 13km to go.

The former Paris Nice winner has 9 seconds on the field as Morkov and Serpra sit up.

The Sky rider gains a couple of seconds but the gap is only at 12 seconds with 12.5km to go.

Just 10km remaining and Porte holds just seven seconds as De Marchi leads the peloton.

Cheng has now been lapped by the peloton after his earlier crash.

Porte looks back, he can see the bunch are closing in and it's almost all over.

Around Norwegian corner with 8.2km remaining and Porte is about to be shut down.

Tuft now sets the pace with one lap to go.

The Canadian pulls over and it's Lotto who look the most organised at this stage.

Giant line out on the right, Lotto on the left and Katusha, Europcar and even Garmin move into play. Nothing from Cannondale yet.

Arashiro is near the front but there's an attack from Orica with 5.1km to go.

It looks like Clarke and although he's flying the bunch are so rapid. The Australian does have a gap though with 4.4km to go.

It's all Lotto on the front though with Greipel in the best position.

3.7km for Clarke but here from Giant.

They've flooded the front of the bunch and Clarke is caught.

Kittel looks down at his gears, time for one final check before the sprint.

Renshaw has Omega in the mix too as Cannondale appear too far back.

2.4km to go.

It's all Giant Shimano on the front.

But now Omega drive on.

With 1.8km to go.

Through the tunnel and Cannondale lead with Giant and Lotto there.

It' all Omega on the front and there's almost a crash.

Giant lead around the final corner.

Here comes Kristoff. He's leading with 100 to go. Can Kittel come back?

The German is closing in on Kristoff, Greipel is out of it.

Here comes Kittel in full flight. And he takes it.

Marcel Kittel wins by just over a wheel but he had to do it the hard way after Kristoff went first.

And at the line Nibali is mobbed by his wife, his baby daughter is there, and even Vino, who helps draw the Italian Tour winner closer to his family.

1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 3:20:50
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:00:00
3 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - Sharp 0:00:00
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol 0:00:00
5 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:00
6 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky 0:00:00
7 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:00
8 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:00
9 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale 0:00:00
10 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:00:00

Final general classification
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 89:59:06
2 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:37
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:08:15
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:09:40
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:11:24
6 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:11:26
7 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:14:32
8 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:17:57
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:18:11
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:21:15

The riders have now started to make their way to the team buses and soon they'll start a lap of honour.

But now Kittel makes his way onto the podium in Paris for the second year in a row. That's four stages for the German and seven stages for Germany in this Tour de France - a new record.

Sagan is next up as he collects the green jersey while Kittel praises his team in a post-race interview.

Majka is followed by Pinot onto the podium. Next up will be Vincenzo Nibali. It's time to call it a day here but thanks for following througout the Tour de France this year. You can find our report, results, and race photos from today, just here.

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