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Tour de France 2017: Stage 21


It has finally arrived, the final stage of the 2017 Tour de France. The riders will set off from Montgeron in just over 25 minutes. 

For the general classification riders, today will be one of celebration and champagne. The sprinters, on the other hand, still have some work to do. Today is their final chance to notch up a victory. 

The final stage also means a few special editions. Team Sky has got in on the party with a yellow accented jersey and a yellow bike for Chris Froome. Take a look at it here

Next to the party and celebration, there is a much heavier security presence than recent years due to the terror attacks over the last few years. 

Orica-Scott is not to be outdone in the special edition stakes and Scott has given Simon Yates a white and black Addict to celebrate his victory in the white jersey competition. Peruse the gallery here

The riders have set off and they are making their way through the 3.7-kilometre neutral zone. When the flag drops, the pace is unlikely to pick up much until the peloton hits the circuits through the centre of Paris. 

Unless something unusual happens, there will be a fight between the sprinters. Marcel Kittel and Michael Matthews have dominated things and there are quite a few sprinters without any wins. Andre Greipel is one of those. He spoke to Cyclingnews about his Tour de France and his hopes for today after yesterday's time trial. Read his full comments here

The four jerseys are up at the front of the pack chatting to each other. The clouds above do not represent the feeling within the peloton. They're a few dark ones up there but there is also some blue sky, so let's see if it holds out. If it does rain then this could be an altogether different day out. 

The "racing" is under way. Not much has changed though. Froome has dropped back to be with his teammates, Warren Barguil is leading the way, and Stephen Cummings is sitting at the back of the peloton. 

In fact, Froome is in deep conversation with Alberto Contador. Penny for their thoughts. Perhaps discussing their post-race plans. Both are likely to be heading to the Vuelta a Espana, so we should see them racing each other in the not too distant future. 

Today's stage is traditionally not one for any major changes to happen in the overall classification. However, in theory, there could be changes to the podium. Romain Bardet held onto his place on the podium by a single second over Mikel Landa. Many have been speculating if Landa will attack to take some bonus seconds, but that is very unlikely to happen. 

97km remaining from 103km

While some are riding into Paris for the last time, others are doing it for the first time. Taylor Phinney is one of those doing the latter. It's been quite a journey for the American rider since his huge crash at the 2014 US nationals to get to this point. He spoke to Cyclingnews after the time trial. Read his comments here

Team Sky has moved to the front and has cracked out the champagne. It must be a very nice taste after three weeks of hard racing. Also, after three weeks of hard racing, you don't want to have too much of it on the bike as it'll go straight to your head. 

As the riders enjoy the taste of champagne, now seems as good a time as any to run through how the various classifications ended. First up, the overall classification. 

89km remaining from 103km

Luke Rowe decides to have a bit of fun and sprays his teammates with beer. A few of the riders preferring beer to the champagne. 

Back to the classifications and the points classification. Michael Matthews is comfortable in the lead of that competition, although the points will change a little due to the intermediate sprint and the finish line sprint. 

Yohann Offredo has gone up the road on his own. He's perhaps gone to say hello to a few people. It wasn't really an attack, he just slowly moved off the front as the teams ride an easy pace behind. 

Offredo has been one of the more aggressive riders in this year's Tour de France. He said after stage 2 that he wasn't here for showpiece attacks, just for the publicity, but each one was a proper attempt to win. 

Last of the jersey competitions is the mountains classification. Warren Barguil took that competition with plenty of panache and two stage wins along the way. He is well clear of the next best riders and wasn't really challenged in the competition.  

With two riders in the top four, Team Sky dominated the team competition. AG2R La Mondiale gave them a push though, finishing just over seven minutes down. 

While all the other competitions are based on a points system. The super combatif is a lot more subjective. Many people expected Thomas De Gendt to walk away with the prize but the jury handed it to Warren Barguil. While clearly disappointed, De Gendt said he didn't hold a grudge against Barguil. Read his full comments here

Meanwhile, Landa is having a little bit of fun out there. He launches an attack but soon looks over his shoulder and grins at the riders behind. 

Back in the peloton, it seems that Cyril Gautier has proposed to, we assume, his girlfriend, by writing it on a ripped page from his road book. 

One more, unofficial, competition, the Lantern Rouge. Luke Rowe is this year's Lanterne Rouge, finishing 4 hours 35 minutes behind his teammate Chris Froome. He is just over five minutes behind the next rider in the classification. 

Marcus Burghardt and Christian Knees chatting on the front of the bunch. This has been a big Tour de France for German cycling. After years of the Tour not even being showed on the television, the race started in Germany. They have five stage wins from Marcel Kittel, and maybe one more is Andre Greipel can win today. The two German registered teams have also had a good race with Sunweb claiming two jerseys and four stage wins, and Bora-Hansgrohe taking two stage wins. 

The Team Sky and AG2R La Mondiale cars move up alongside each other and those inside share a handshake as the peloton are about to enter Paris proper. 

While the riders are into Paris, it will be another 10 or so kilometres before the pace will ramp up as they hit the circuits. 

Rowe and Froome sharing a bit a little moment during today's stage. 

Oh dear, a crash for Grmay on a small section of cobbles. He doesn't look too injured and just needs to get his bike sorted and he can carry on. 

A mechanical problem for Chris Froome and fortunately the team has a second yellow bike for him. There won't be any problem to get back up to the bunch. 

It seems that the change of bike wasn't a mechanical for Froome but he had a bike with a GoPro on it and he was taking one without. 

The peloton passes through the Grand Palais. It's an interesting change to the route. The riders got a big welcome as they went through. 

56km remaining from 103km

The attacks are coming thick and fast. Offredo is the one trying to light things up at the moment. 

We have seven riders off the front of the peloton, who are chasing Daryl Impey head of them, as the riders head towards the Arc de Triomphe. 

52km remaining from 103km

I've had the joy of standing on the Champs Elysees on this stage both as a fan and a journalist. It never ceases to amaze me just how fast the riders take this stretch of road, particularly after three weeks of racing. It is the exact opposite of the opening section of the stage as they go all guns blazing. 

Impey has been joined by three more riders as Sylvain Chavanel, Nils Politt and Julian Vermote get up the road. 

Michael Schar, Imanol Erviti and Alexey Lutsenko are also in there now. 

A couple more riders to add to that list out front, Dion Smith and Marcus Burghardt. That's nine riders in total. 

Meanwhile, it's raining in Paris. This could make this stage very interesting, in a not so good way. 

The jersey wearers will not be too happy about this rain. The last thing they want is a bad crash so close to the finish line. Not that any of the riders would want to crash today or any other day. 

The sprinters' teams are all up front and they're not letting the breakaway get much of a gap. It's just 14 seconds at the moment, but it is a very strong group up there. 

40km remaining from 103km

Sunweb, Lotto-Soudal, and Dimension Data getting involved in the chase. They've got Matthews, Greipel and Boasson Hagen interested in the finish here. They've kept the gap down to less than 20 seconds for now. 

Those three are probably the favourite sprinters to contest the win, but there are several more who will be in the mix. Nacer Bouhanni, John Degenkolb, Sonny Colbrelli and Alexander Kristoff could all get up there. 

Alexander Kristoff is still showing the war wounds he picked up earlier in the week, on the same day as Marcel Kittel crashed out. Kristoff crashed on his own, hurting his face, arm and sides. We'll have to wait and see how much that impacts his chances. 

Barguil still making his way through the cars in a heart-stopping manner. He's almost at the back of them now, but it's so strung out that he's still about 20 seconds from the front of the bunch. 

33km remaining from 103km

Thomas De Gendt now on the front of the chase. If he didn't have a sprinter in the team there would be no doubt he would have been in this break. Today, he is working to kill the break. 

Team Sky is keeping a watchful eye just behind the group of sprint teams. Being at the front, they hope to avoid any crashes. 

The riders leave the Champs Elysees as they loop around the Louvre and back. On television, the Champs Elysees looks fairly flat, but it does have a gradient and on the cobbles it takes its toll. 

This break is pushing as hard as they can to snap the elastic but the peloton is not interested. Just 14 seconds the gap with four laps remaining. 

The rain has ceased and the roads have dried out a little bit. That will play into the hands of the peloton as they keep this breakaway at bay. Stephen Cummings has been brought in to do a bit of donkey work on the front for Dimension Data. 

There are two former Champs Elysees winners in the peloton today. Andre Greipel has won on the boulevard over the last two years while Daniele Bennati won there way back in 2007. Bennati has had a good Tour but it's hard to see him getting into the mix today. 

19km remaining from 103km

Lotto Soudal controlling things on the front of the peloton. 

Just 10 seconds for the escapees as the riders cross the line. Just two more laps remain. 

Tony Martin has attacked off the front of the peloton. 

This is perhaps an indication that Kristoff is not up for the sprint today. That or they're trying to avoid doing any work on the bunch. 

10km remaining from 103km

The pace is so high that many riders are struggling to keep in tough. Pierre Latour drops back for a new wheel. He's got something stuck in it. He rests on the team car as the team change the wheel. 

It's a very long wheel change and the mechanic has to go into the car to get something out. Latour is back on his way but he'll just soft pedal the final kilometres just to make it to the finish. 

While we were looking at Latour, the break was officially caught and it's gruppo compatto. More riders are trying to get free but Team Sky moves to the front to calm things down. 

The riders enter the Champs Elysees for the penultimate time. Next time out, the riders will be gearing up for the sprint. 

Dmitri Gruzdev has attacked off the front. 

At the back Thomas Voeckler has let the peloton go. He's going to sit up and enjoy this last loop around Paris. These are the final few racing kilometres of his career. 

Stybar is trying to chase Gruzdev. Quick-Step Floors need to try something without Kittel. 

Gruzdev has been brought back and it's Stybar on his own. 

It might seem a fruitless attack, but remember it was Quick-Step that upset the sprinters at the 2015 Giro d'Italia when Iljo Keisse beat Luke Durbridge to take the final stage win. 

2km remaining from 103km

A sprint finish looks almost certain now, but who will be the winner?

The pace is breaking up the peloton and about 30-40 riders are just clear of the rest. 

1km remaining from 103km

Boasson Hagen moving up the pack.

Bouhanni near the front two as Katusha and LottoNL Jumbo bash shoulders. 

They turn onto the Champs Elysees. 

Groenewegen leads it out

Greipel came back fast but it looks like that went to Groenewegen. 

Groenewegen is celebrating, this is the biggest victory of his career. We wait official confirmation though. 

Chris Froome crosses the line safely behind. He greets his wife and child who have arrived in Paris. 

An overhead shot shoes that Greipel made up a lot of ground in the final few metres but he was out of position and Groenewegen held him off. 

This is how that sprint finished

Confirmation of the final general classification

It must be noted, that with that second place Andre Greipel has ended his run of Grand Tours with a stage win. Since the 2007 Vuelta a Espana, Greipel had won at least one stage of every Grand Tour he'd ridden. He looked utterly dejected at the finish line. 

Here are a few words from Greipel on the result today and his Tour as a whole. 

And some words from the race winner Chris Froome:

Chris Froome celebrates his win with his son. 

The words of today's stage winner Dylan Groenewegen:

Chris Froome up on stage after collecting his yellow jersey for his fourth Tour de France.

It was a much closer affair for Chris Froome in this year's Tour de France compared to other years. The reduction in big mountain stages and so many fewer mountain finishes, it was a lot harder for any rider to build a significant advantage. Froome didn't look as strong as he has in recent years, although his team looked as strong as it has ever been. Romain Bardet and his AG2R La Mondiale team posed the biggest threat in the mountains, but in the end it was Rigoberto Uran that pushed him the closest. 

What a Tour de France is has been for Rigoberto Uran. He took that stage win at the end of the first week despite a broken bike and he has looked strong ever since. Had there been a stronger climbing team around him, you have to wonder what might have been possible. 

The top three on the podium at the moment as Chris Froome makes his speech. He first dedicates the win to his family and his team. 

Froome having a few problems with his papers. There's a breeze coming down the Champs Elysees and it has blown his speech out of his hand. Rigoberto Uran saves them for him. 

Froome finishes his speech with a short section in French. He thanks the crowd for their passion and their support and professes his love for the race and for France. Prior to that there had been a few boos, but his words seem to have calmed things and he's given a cheer as he finishes his speech. 

Froome's relationship with the French public has been tense at times, particularly since the rise of Romain Bardet, and this year was so different. It's unlikely to get any easier, but Froome has handled it quite well. 

For the results, report and photos from today's stage and the final classification, click here

Thank you for following the Tour de France with Cyclingnews live! The season isn't over yet - it's only just beginning. We will have live coverage coming soon from the Tour of Poland, Clasica San Sebastian and Prudential RideLondon this month, then on through the Vuelta a Espana.

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