Monday, July 25, 2016

Stage 21 Chantilly / Paris Champs-Élysées - Froome Makes it Black-to-Black Tours for Sky

Stage 21 and after 3,519 km the Tour finally came home on a 113 km parade from Chantilly to the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Gabs’ final duty in the Tour kitchen was to make a raspberry mille feuilles. If you thought the recipe sounds familiar you’d be right, this raspberry mille feuille made its last appearance in stage 21 at the 2014 Tour de France.

*Sigh*, no butter and this hasn’t quite hit the mark of the year ‘of the butter’. The buerremetric counter weighed in at a grand total of 1.1 kg, which is a vast improvement on last year’s Buttergate scandal where only 310g was used. Still, it falls short of the 2014 record of 1.12kg.

Now in its third year, Tomo was talking up the ‘ladies’ race Le Course by Le Tour de France as the riders prepared to take on 13 laps of the most beautiful avenue in the world, the Champs-Élysées. No danger of a parasol getting caught in the spokes here Tomo, the women are all here for a serious bike race.

Ant McCrossan and Rochelle Gilmore were on caravan of commentary duties when all of a sudden the audio went down. Did a fan stumble over the power cord to the commentary box? Whatever was happening it was taking a long time to fix.

A big bunch was starting to rip up the cobbles. What do we do? Without Ant and Rochelle the couch peloton was going to have commentate for itself but how were we going to identify riders without the start list or knowledge of preferred sock length?

A quick scuttle up to the caravan of commentary and it was Henk and Macca to the rescue who held the fort until Ant and Rochelle were back.

The race wasn’t without incident. Nerves in the peloton and the frantic pace brought about a series of small crashes followed by one big massive crash.

In the sprint Chloe Hosking was first across the line and for the second time in five years an Aussie was on top of the podium in Paris! That was some tough racing and the magnitude of the win sinks in when you think of the class Hosking was up against - that class being Marianne Vos, who some would argue is the best all round cyclist, women’s or men’s, in the world.

The publicity caravan came roaring into Paris. Fans were disappointed as the cows had cleaned out all the cowbells and Alpecin shampoo.

At last pictures from the longest départ fictif in history came through.

New Tour champion Chris Froome threw the rule book out the window again and was drinking beer with his teammates, although later he was spotted with the traditional flute of bubbles.

Bernard Hinault finally waved the flag and the ‘race’ was on with a not too serious attack. This is the last year of Tour duties for Hinault. Next year he’ll be standing by the roadside with his grandson. Also, he’s got cows to take care of.

The peloton passed through a field and there was a lost opportunity for field art crop circles if we ever saw one. Aliens, where are you?

Mattie spotted a mini chateau with ‘Le Weber’ on the go for a Sunday afternoon barbecue.

And it was all fun and games in the peloton with Maciej Bodnar hamming it up with a top tube descent. Roman Kreuziger picked up the one remaining KOM point and if he did it on a kiddies tricycle no one would have given a damn.

The peloton edged its way closer to Paris and Andre Greipel stopped for a swap to his raging silverback gorilla bike.

Kitteh loses it after a mechanical

Inevitably the Ps made their catch and we waved bye-bye to Mattie and Robbie. Chapeau to everyone on the commentary team who keep us informed and entertained for three weeks. Robbie McEwen has been outstanding in the caravan of commentary and I look forward to hearing his analysis, expert opinion and humour for many Tours to come.

Into the city proper and Paul noted, “Paris had been put together some time ago”. You could have fooled me, I thought we were getting the pop-up version.

The Ile de la Cité looks to Paul like a miniature Manhattan, just like in the song ‘first we take miniature Manhattan, then we take miniature Berlin’.

Ah Paris, je t’aime you sexy beast and there it was - the aerial tricolore display and the crowd went wild.

Australia’s greatest cyclist Cadel Evans made an appearance for a Troll DJ request ‘Glory Days’ by The Boss. Glory days indeed and Chloe Hosking was definitely having a glorious day.

Phil wasn’t sounding too well and appeared to be losing his voice and did I hear him do a 'bush hanky' in the caravan of commentary? Eww!

Riders hit the Champs-Élysées and Paul noted it boasts some of the most expensive real estate in the world. Really? Have you seen what a broken down outhouse in inner Melbourne would fetch?

Out on the Champs Marcel Kittel had a mechanical and was spitting kittens at the wheel change omnishambles. He managed to get back into the race and after the nine laps past Norwegian corner were complete it was Andre Greipel who won the sprint for the second year in a row.

Chris Froome arrived safely to claim back-to-back yellow jerseys, the first rider to do so since Miguel Indurain in the 90s. With three titles to his name surely this elevates Froome to one of the greats. 

For the record books.

Golden fleece: Chris Froome - again
Green: Peter Sagan – again
Polka: Rafal Majka
White: Adam Yates
Team: Movistar - again
Super-combative: Peter Sagan

Once again I'd like to thank all who have taken an interest in Le Wrap and thanks for the comments and retweets. I do this for the love of the Tour and your support is what keeps me going.

Until next time, au revoir!

1 comment:

  1. Totally awesome dedication to the task. Hope to see more next tour. Thanks of behalf od all the couch peleton. lurkers and contributors both