Monday, July 27, 2015

Stage 21 Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest / Paris Champs-Élysées - Le Tour Comes Home

Stage 21 and after three hard weeks in the saddle the Tour finally came home to Paris. This year the Tour celebrated the fortieth anniversary of finishes on the Champs-Élysées, but before the racing got underway a car crashed into one of the race barriers at Place de la Concorde and shots were fired by police. Geez, you’d want to be careful doing a runner on a booze bus then.

Being the final day of the Tour Gabs wanted to prepare a special treat so he cooked up a cherry and almond tart. At 60 g of butter that was a pretty good kick to the finish line for the Buerremetric counter. However, I’d been crunching the numbers on the buerremetric counter since records began in 2013 and 2015 fell well short. 2013 recorded 634 g. In 2014 it was a thumping 1.12 kg. This year it was just a measly 310g. That’s not enough for my toast! So yes, buttergate was a real thing.

But forget Buttergate, did anyone see any sunflowers at this year's Tour?

The women’s race La Course by Le Tour de France, now in its second year,  got underway on the Champs and these conditions were far from ideal for racing. Rain combined with gunk on the road and the slippery cobble surface was a recipe for crashes and punctures. This didn’t bode well for the men who were to arrive later that afternoon and the rain got heavier.

On the final lap commentator Ant McCrossan watched as the riders emerged from the ‘Merc in the tunnel’ and I’m wondering if that was still a bit too soon?

On the final kick for the line Anna van der Breggen soloed to victory. Hats off to Anna for surviving the rough conditions.

After the women’s race Tommo and Robbo caught up with Australia’s greatest cyclist Cadel Evans. I must admit it was bit strange to see him on the spectator’s side of the barrier. As it turned out he was there to watch the Tour Caravan sprint on the Champs.

Ohhh, it's a touch of wheels in the Tour caravan sprint!

Finally, we had some pictures of the Sunday coffee ride into Paris. As is the tradition it’s a time for the riders to relax and even have some bubbles on the road. Another tradition is a team photo. The Skybots linked up for their shot and there was a bit of a wobble from Richie Froome. It'd have been really embarrassing crashing during the team embrace vanity shot at that moment.

Meanwhile, Phil and Paul were compering their sightseeing tour of Paris. They’re getting pretty good at it, and why not since they’ve been doing it for a long time but can anyone explain to me Paul’s obsession with concrete? Needless to say no final day of the Tour would be complete with Paul’s Jardin de Tuileries lecture.

As the peloton got closer to the Champs the riders passed la Tour Eiffel. The Tour passing the Tour, how meta! Paul thought any one up the tower would have the best seat in the house. Sorry Paul, it’s always the vultures that have the best seat in the house.

The riders nervously hit the Champs and fortunately for Froome race referees stopped the official time at the first crossing of the finish line in case Porte got into another  hands free wobble.

The riders started on the loop of the Champs up the famous boulevard and around the back of the Arc de Triomphe and in a face palm moment from Phil the ’tomb of the unknown shoulder’.

The weather cleared and the race wasn’t marred by crashes  we saw in La Course but at just 2.2 km to go int the final lap a protester in a sheet appeared on the course and was nearly taken out by the riders. Bloody hell, who gave Peter Hore a passport?

Disaster was avoided and ‘The Griller’ Andre Greipel crossed the line to make it win number four and what a fantastic Tour he’s had. He’ll be cooking up a storm for the team tonight!

Chris Froome arrived safely to officially claim the golden fleece as champion of Le Tour de France for the second time and Nairo Quintana was runner up, just like in 2013.

For the record books:

Golden Fleece: Chris Porte
Polka: Chris Porte
Green:  Peter Sagan (again)
White: Nairo Quintana
Team:  Moviestar
Super-Combative:  Romain Bardet

Once again I’d to thank you for taking interest in Le Wrap, it’s a labour of love and your interest is what keeps me going.

Before I go I’d like to leave you with one thought; despite his injuries, did we ever doubt Adam Hansen would make it to the end the Tour?

No comments:

Post a Comment