2020 Tour de France stage 21 preview

Stage 21: Mantes-la-Jolie - Paris Champs-Élysées

Date: September 20, 2020 

Distance: 122km 

Stage start: 3:45 p.m. CEST

Stage type: Flat

The conclusion of the 2020 Tour de France brings one last hurrah for the sprinters and the crowning of the champion in the traditional Paris finale.

Ernest Hemingway once said, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” He might just as well have been talking about the Tour de France, which is the ultimate moveable feast. 

The greatest bike race in the world gains its meaning and lustre from the fact that it is the same every year, but different. It belongs to all of France’s regions and none of them. It wouldn’t be the same if the route was identical every year. However, the Champs-Élysées is the one constant. Each Grand Départ is different; each route plotted around France attempts to tell a different story. But the endpoint has been the same for 45 years, and it’s hard to imagine that ever being changed. The Tour de France without its grand finale on the Champs-Élysées is unimaginable.

The 2020 finale goes from Mantes-la-Jolie to Paris, reversing the journey 150 years ago of the Impressionists, who headed to the suburbs to capture the elusive light and reflections of the Seine. The riders will head to the Champs in search of their own more tangible goals - to ride, to survive, or maybe to win. 

Sprinters will have tired legs, but will be inspired on the Champs for a final momento. Whoever wears the yellow jersey after the TT atop the La Planche des Belle Filles will then ride into Paris as the 2020 Tour de France winner. 

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