Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stage 21 Versailles / Paris Champs-Élysées – Au Revoir Le Tour

Here it is, the final stage of the 100th edition of Le Tour de France. Seems like the race only started three weeks ago. The 133km stage to Paris from the glittering palace of Versailles comprises a parade to the heart of the city of light then 10 laps seven kilometres each of the Champs-Élysées. For the very first time the riders get to go around the world’s most famous bit of traffic furniture and worst roundabout, the Arc de Triomph.
Yours truly picked up the race at the civilised hour of 4.00am to catch the twilight finish just as the peloton was about to hit the famous thoroughfare. The Ps were busy pointing out many of the famous landmarks and monuments of Paris like they were auditioning for jobs as English speaking guides on those sightseeing buses. And it wouldn’t be the last day of Le Tour without Paul’s obligatory Jardin des Tuileries lecture.
It was going to be a long night after three weeks of hard racing and Gabriel Gate prepared Boeuf à la Ficelle aux Légumes de Printemps or poached beef with spring vegetable. No butter but I guess you could dab a little knob on the veggies if so desired. The lack of butter this Tour made me wonder if Gabs had been listening to the advice of the dietary gurus. However, the Beurremetric counter crossed the line on an artery clogging 634g.
As the riders hit the Champs-Élysées, Troll DJ busted out Art vs. Science’s ‘Parlez Vous Francais?’ The Champs-Élysées is a busy street and we are getting down with everyone we meet. The sprinters started getting busy and getting down as the laps counted down to the finish. As the sun set the riders popped on their flashing LED lights. Some donned fluoro vests and plastered their bikes in reflective tape for extra visibility.
Be sure to get an Eiffel of Paris

A rumour had circulated Cannonball Peter Sagan was going to do an Evil Knievel jump over the Arc de Triomph on his bike. It wasn’t to be, however he thrilled the spectators with a jump over the Orica-GreenWEDGE team bus. He didn’t achieve quite enough clearance and took the aircon unit clean off.
A fast and furious sprint finish to the line saw Argonaut Marcel Kittel take his fourth stage win of the Tour pipping favourite Mark Cavendish (Oooomega Farmer – Quick Stop) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).
Under darkening skies came the podium presos. Vases and umbrella stands were the order of the day. The Arc de Triomph became a canvas for a fancy projection show. The Eiffel Tower sparkled in excitement. Tour Down Under organisers could learn from this and light up Rundle Mall in Adelaide.
At the end of 21 days and more than 3,000km of racing the history books will record:
Richie Froome (Sky) – Yellow Jersey
Peter Sagan (Cannonball) – Green Jersey
Nairo Quintana (Moviestar) – Polka-Dot AND White Jersey
Taxo Sinkoff – Team Winner
Christophe Fabulon – Super Combative
This concludes Le Wrap for the 100th edition of Le Tour de France. I hope you have enjoyed following it as I have writing it every day of the Tour. Before I go, I have to agree with Paul Sherwin's observation the other week - Chris Froome looks strange on a bike.

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