Monday, July 24, 2017

Stage 21 Montgeron / Paris Champs-Élysées - It's a Wrap

Stage 21 and can you believe it, another Tour de France done for another year? Seems like we were in Düsseldorf only three weeks ago at the start of this four week, three week bike race.

Gabs was in his element in Paris, drinking champagne and dining out at cutting edge restaurants serving art on a plate. Well, it's good for some. The closest Gabs got to an apron was nosing about in other chef's kitchens and if it wasn’t for a supply of 2 Minute Noodles and the occasional largesse of the NBC catering crew the peloton would have died of starvation.

There was a change of format for the women’s race La Course by Le Tour de France this year. It wasn’t held on the Champs-Élysées and concluded in Marseille yesterday. Annemiek van Vleuten won and what a season she's had coming back from a horrible crash at last year's Olympic Games in Brazil.

In Montgeron 167 survivors of the original 198 riders followed the big red car and at the drop of the flag the Sunday morning coffee ride was on in earnest.

Tradition dictates that there is no challenge for yellow so it was a mere formality for Froome to get to the finish line in one piece and a fourth Tour de France victory would be assured.

The run to Paris is a chance for the riders to relax, have some bubbles and for Adam Hansen to drink beer from one of his hand made shoes.

A real highlight of the stage, and indeed the whole Tour, was Cyril Gautier’s proposal to his girlfriend on worldwide television with the words ‘Caroline, do you want to marry me?’ scrawled on a torn out page of the roadbook. Robbie McEwen later confirmed Caroline said "Oui". NAWWW!!!

The riders made there way by the Seine and I swear sail boats are going faster than the peloton. Apart from the numerous speed humps, this stage looked too easy. Perhaps Christian Prudhomme could spice it up with the riders battling a giant octopus next year?

This Tour has been a great story for Aussie riders. Sure GC favourite Richie Porte crashed out but out of the nine starters, six have come home with one in green. 

Thomas Voeckler and his tongue farewelled the Tour and we will truly miss him. We hear he wants to do more TV after he retires. What a surprise.

Christian Knees was spotted joking for the umpteenth time about getting on his knees praying for a win. After three weeks of listening to this the Skybots couldn't wait for the finish. 

The peloton arrived on the Champs-Élysées to a few drops of rain - not good on the cobbled surface of the famous boulevard - for an eight lap crit race.

Bit of a scare for Warren Barguil after experiencing a mechanical. As he paced to get back to the peloton he bumped into the back of the team car and you don't want to crash out on the final stage of the Tour.

In the final sprint to the line Dylan Groenewegen edged out Andre Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen and for the first time since anyone can remember the Gorilla went home without a stage win.

Chris Froome arrived safely to claim his fourth Tour de France and is on his way to match the all time greats.

For the record.

Golden Fleece: Chris Froome (again)

Green: Michael 'Bling' Matthews (you little ripper)

Polka: Warren 'Wazza' Barguil (Bling's roomie)

White: Simon Yates (Yates you can like your brother)

Team: Sky (Sunweb were better bagging Green, Polka and Super-combative)

Super-combative: Wazza

Buerremetric counter: DNF

This is the final Le Wrap. I’ve given the future of this blog a lot of thought these past three wonderful weeks. Little did I realise when I put up the first post in 2013 to celebrate the 100th edition of the Tour that I’d still be going five editions later. 

It’s always been terrific fun (if at times a little daunting) putting each post together, finding the perfect photo and composing a ridiculous headline.

But it’s time to move on finishing on a high note. I want to thank you, the couch peloton, for all the support and kind comments over the years – I couldn’t do this without you!

However, I'll continue to write about cycling, I occasionally pop up on The Roar under the pseudonym Kurt Decker and I'll be still be live tweeting cycling as enthusiastically as ever as @Tete_delacourse 

Who knows what projects await – a podcast that’ll give Lance a scare? Movie deals? An action figure? My own tonight show?

Au revoir!

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