Stage 21: Évry - Paris Champs-Élysées
Highest point: 172m
For the second year in a row, the Tour de France's final stage has been put back to the evening and will culminate in an atmospheric sprint on the Champs Élysées around 7.15pm. Also like last year, the peloton will ride past the Louvre before starting the first of nine laps of the finishing circuit and pass around the Arc de Triomph rather than turning just short. After the 80km exhibition ride from the satellite town of Évry – a chance for the jersey wearers to sup champagne for the cameras – the pace will gradually ratchet up as the sprinters' teams prepare to light the fireworks. If the green jersey competition's tight – but don't expect it to be expected if Sagan's there – the intermediate sprint on the second lap could also be contended.
Nor will any running green jersey battles prevent the ever hopeful but inevitably doomed breakaways seeking one last hit of publicity by riding in the gutter of the Champs-Élysées. The city's cobbles and long drag up to the Arc de Triomph make the circuit a lot harder than it looks. Riders with three weeks' worth of riding in their legs will be able to taste the finish.
Traditional lore has it that the sprinter who's shepherded around the last right hand corner in the Place de la Concorde in the second wheel will win the day. Marcel Kittel pulled it off last year but he was run very close by André Greipel and Mark Cavendish – the latter who has won the stage four times in his career.
Koen de Kort says... "The big finale, the world championships of sprinting, the one every sprinter wants to win. Cavendish has won here many times already but I'm going to say that I expect Marcel to take this one. He'sgot one of the fastest sprints around."
Walter Godefroot was the first rider to win on the Champs Élysées in 1975 after the finish line was moved from the Vélodrome de Vincennes. The so called Bulldog of Flanders became a manager and, in 2005 directing T-Mobile, his rider Alexander Vinokourov caused a historic upset by keeping the sprinters at bay to win the stage after a late attack. Just don't question what means he used to achieve it.
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