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Live Coverage – Stage 21 Tour de France, 2008

01:31 PM: Good day and welcometo VeloNews.com's Live Coverage of the 21st - and final - stage of the 95th Tour de France, a 143-kilometer ride from Etampes to the classic Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

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  • 01:31 PM: Good day and welcome

    to VeloNews.com’s Live Coverage of the 21st – and final – stage of the 95th Tour de France, a 143-kilometer ride from Etampes to the classic Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

    Following the only long transfer of this Tour (about 240km), this final stage starts south of Paris in the country town of Etampes (population 26,000), which locals call “little Venice” because of its 1,000-year-old churches and small creeks. The course winds its way to the north, hitting two steep, short Cat. 4 hills trough the Chevreuse Valley before entering the city of Paris (population 2.1 million, with another 7.5 million in the metro area) on the right bank of the Seine River. It all concludes with eight and a bit laps of the famous 6.5km circuit up and down the Champs-Elysees, past the Louvre museum and across the Place de la Concorde.

    Every Tour de France except the first one in 1903 has finished in Paris. Until 1967 the grand arrival was at the Parc des Princes velodrome (since replaced by a soccer stadium) in the southwest suburbs; and from 1968-74 at the Piste Municipale velodrome at Vincennes, in the eastern suburbs. The finish has been on the Champs-Elysees ever since 1975. This will be the 34th year for the downtown arrival.

  • 01:32 PM: In the neutral zone

    the peloton – with a very happy Carlos Sastre in yellow – is rolling away from the village departe in Etampes. The formal start will come in about 13 minutes when the peloton reaches the edge of town.

  • 01:36 PM: Today’s picks?

    Only two of today’s starters have won the final stage on the Champs-Elysees: Robbie McEwen (1999 and 2002), and Thor Hushovd (2006). It is never a typical mass sprint because the field gets stretched into a single line by the speeds around the circuit, particularly by the turns around the concluding Louvre loop. Maybe the win this year will go to Forster, Freire, Hunter or perhaps a wild card like Stuart O’Grady (CSC-Saxo Bank).

  • 01:42 PM: The jersey races

    appear to be settled:
    Overall, after 20 stages
    1. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC at 84:01min00sec
    2. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto at at1:05
    3. Bernhard Kohl (AUT), Gerolsteiner at 1:20
    4. Denis Menchov (RUS), Rabobank at 2:00
    5. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle at 3:12
    6. Frank Schleck (LUX), CSC at 4:28
    7. Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi at 6:32
    8. Kim Kirchen (LUX), Team Columbia at 7:02
    9. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne at 7:26
    10. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Ag2r at 9:12

    Overall Points
    1. Oscar Freire (ESP), Rabobank 244pts
    2. Erik Zabel (GER), Milram 202
    3. Thor Hushovd (NOR), Credit Agricole 198
    4. Fabio-Leonardo Duque (COL), Cofidis 164
    5. Kim Kirchen (LUX), Team Columbia 155
    6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne 125
    7. Robert Hunter (RSA), Barloworld 115
    8. Robbie McEwen (AUS), Silence-Lotto 105
    9. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto 101
    10. Julian Dean (NZL), Garmin-Chipotle 99

    Overall KOM
    1. Bernhard Kohl (AUT), Gerolsteiner 125pts
    2. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC 80
    3. Frank Schleck (LUX), CSC 80
    4. Thomas Voeckler (FRA), Bouygues Telecom 65
    5. Stefan Schumacher (GER), Gerolsteiner 61
    6. John-Lee Augustyn (RSA), Barloworld 61
    7. Sebastian Lang (GER), Gerolsteiner 60
    8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne 58
    9. Remy Di Gregorio (FRA), Francaise des Jeux 52
    10. Egoi Martinez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi 51

    Best young riders (overall)
    1. Andy Schleck (LUX), CSC at 84:12:32
    2. Roman Kreuziger (CZE), Liquigas at at1:17
    3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA), Liquigas at 17:01
    4. Maxime Monfort (BEL), Cofidis at 24:16
    5. Eduardo Gonzalo (ESP), Agritubel at 1:08:34
    6. Thomas Lovkvist (SWE), Team Columbia at 1:13:55
    7. John-Lee Augustyn (RSA), Barloworld at 1:24:49
    8. Peter Velits (SVK), Milram at 1:38:17
    9. Remy Di Gregorio (FRA), Francaise des Jeux at 1:38:22
    10. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne at 1:44:07

    And a non-jersey contest for overall team standings:
    1. CSC 251h54:35
    2. AG2R at 15:49
    3. Rabobank 1h05:33
    4. Euskaltel 1h16:40
    5. Silence 1h17:29
    6. Caisse d’Epargne 1h20:42.
    7. Columbia 1h23:14
    8. Lampre 1h26:24
    9. Gerolsteiner 1h28:01
    10. Credit Agricole 1h37:23

    11. Cofidis 1h51:49
    12. Liquigas 2h13:42
    13. Bouygues Telecom 2h18:53
    14. Garmin 2h31:12
    15. Frannaise des Jeux 2h41:14
    16. Milram 3h13:52
    17. Barloworld 3h33:16
    18. Quick Step 3h44:38
    19. Agritubel 0:00

  • 01:45 PM: Drop us a line

    if you have a question, comment or complaint, simply hit the “Contact our editors” link below the Live Update Window.

    We promise to read them all, answer many and even post a few during today’s coverage.

    We may have the opportunity to post more than usual, since the first 82km of today’s stage is traditionally ridden at a moderate tempo, as the Tour’s winners celebrate their accomplishment… and the rest of the field celebrates completion of a three-week grand tour, no small accomplishment, no matter where you finish.

  • 01:48 PM: Today’s weather.

    It’s warm – 23c – and a bit cloudy today. There is a chance of rain, but we haven’t seen much yet. The wind is coming from northwest at 10kph. It’s a pretty moderate head/crosswind.

  • 01:52 PM: Slow ride

    The CSC team is having a good ol time in the neutral zone, posing for pictures and enjoying the moment. As a result, we’re still ambling through the neutral zone.

  • 01:59 PM: On their way to Paris

    the peloton is on the day’s route. We may not see a lot of attacks in the opening portion of today’s stage.

    We’ve seen attacks in the opening kilometers of these final stages. There will be attacks, of course on the Champs Elysees, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen one. We do remember that attack by Filippo Simeoni, who attacked out of the field on the way to Paris. That was an exception, since Simeoni had… uhhhh…. shall we say issues with then-race-leader Lance Armstrong.

  • 02:00 PM: Rolling

    At the 2km mark, the pace is very mellow, with lots of back-slapping and hand-shaking going on in the peloton.

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  • 02:05 PM: A friendly chat

    Christian Vande Velde is up riding up front next to his former teammate Carlos Sastre. There are plenty of fans along the route, even out here in the rural areas marked by wheat and sunflower fields.

  • 02:10 PM: Easy riders

    at 5km, the peloton is still savoring the moment, with Paris just 78km up the road. There is a fair share of goofing around and very little racing.

    Yeah, we know, a lot of people aren’t fans of these final day parades and many – including us – are often critical of final day “parade” stages… but we’re here sitting at a keyboard and haven’t raced for three weeks. Ya sure can’t blame them.

    There will, of course, be serious racing once the peloton reaches Paris and the Champs Elysees. Traditionally, the peloton will be led into Paris by the team of the yellow jersey – CSC – and then the expected attacks will begin.

  • 02:12 PM: At 8km

    in the town of La Foret-Le-Roi – where we had one of the best dinners of our lives a few years back (sorry for that Dave Duffield moment folks, but it was good.)

  • 02:18 PM: At 12km

    the peloton continues to cruise along at a moderate rate. There are plenty of riders riding up to the front to congratulate Carlos Sastre for his win… and for the remarkable performance in yesterday’s time trial, where all of the smart money was on Cadel Evans’ ability to eat up more than 1:30 in a 53km TT.
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  • 02:22 PM: The Gerolsteiner team car

    is decorated with red polka-dots, in honor of Bernhard Kohl’s remarkable Tour this year.

  • 02:34 PM: Seven men in yellow

    This Tour was close to the record of eight different riders to wear yellow, but it was close this year, with seven different riders wearing the maillot jaune.

    Stage 1 – Stage 2: Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne)
    Stage 3: Romain Feillu (Agritubel)
    Stage 4 – 5: Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
    Stage 6 – 9: Kim Kirchen (Columbia)
    Stage 10 – 14: Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto)
    Stage 15 – 16: Frank Schleck (CSC)
    Stage 17 – 21: Carlos Sastre (CSC)

  • 02:35 PM: At 18km

    the peloton is still enjoying a relaxed Sunday afternoon ride to Paris. No attacks. None expected for a while either.

  • 02:40 PM: Reader question

    Chris J writes in to ask:

    Why is it that the final stage is treated as a formality? Would it really be impossible for Evans to make up 1 minute, or is there a gentlemen’s agreement among GC contenders that no one will attack the yellow jersey?
    It is something of a tradition. Riders generally see the ride to Paris as a celebration and they really look forward to spending the day taking it easy. That said, the rules don’t bar a rider from attacking and Evans could theoretically launch an attack, but it’s not realistic. It’s a flat stage and the CSC team has shown that it’s much stronger than any other squad out there. Imagine the reaction if Evans did try a break. CSC would merely have to put O’Grady, Cancellara, Voigt and the rest of the crew at the front. We’d bet that one would get shut down fast.

  • 02:41 PM: With 121km remaining

    the pace remains quite moderate.

  • 02:46 PM: Most aggressive

    The press corps will be voting on this year’s most aggressive rider. We may be inclined to vote for Stefan Schumacher or Sylvain Chavanel. Recent winners include:
    2000 Erik Dekker Rabobank
    2001 Laurent Jalabert CSC
    2002 Laurent Jalabert CSC
    2003 Alexander Vinokourov Telekom
    2004 Richard Virenque Quick Step-Davitamon
    2005 Oscar Pereiro Phonak
    2006 David de la Fuente Saunier Duval-Prodir
    2007 Amets Txurruka Euskaltel-Euskadi

  • 02:48 PM: Sastre

    makes a trip back to the doc’s car… no injuries, just to accept a hand-shake.

    No he’s accepting a glass of champagne from one of the officials’ cars.

    We told ya there wasn’t a lot of racin’ going on.

  • 02:53 PM: Reader comment/question

    Jain in Boston asks:

    Hey ya big LUG!
    Thanks so much for yesterday. I was laughing out loud at some of your puns. Please forgive (and forego) if you answered this already along the big loop, but what are the stats on brothers in the tour at the same time? Or for that matter other family connections, has there ever been a father /son duo? Twins? Instances of family members competing against one another?
    Paris is always bittersweet. This race is the gilding on my summer. Thank you for taking us there everyday.

    The Schleck brother have certainly made a mark on this Tour. Indeed, they were the best brother duo that we can recall (but we’re getting old and our memory falters).

    Do note that the Schlecks weren’t the only brothers in this Tour. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) was in the Tour with his brother Sebastian, who was riding for Francaise des Jeux before he pulled out.

    Father/son combos? Not in the same Tour, but there have been plenty of riders whose sons have both done the Tour including, of course, Eddy and Axel Merckx.

  • 02:56 PM: Attack, Attack, Attack

    …. okay…. just kidding.

    The peloton is still ambling and enjoying the ride. They have covered less than 28km in the first hour and still have 114km to go.

  • 03:04 PM: Reader question

    Lyle in Halifax writes in to ask:

    Are there enough points left for Zabel or Hushovd to take the green jersey if they win the final sprint?
    Well how many points are on the line today?

    There are two intermediate sprints, at which 6, 4 and 2 points are offered to the first three to cross the line.

    Then at the finish, the top 25 riders are awarded points in the following order: 35, 30, 26, 24, 22, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1.

    Now let’s look at the Overall Points Standings:
    1. Oscar Freire (ESP), Rabobank 244pts
    2. Erik Zabel (GER), Milram 202
    3. Thor Hushovd (NOR), Credit Agricole 198
    4. Fabio-Leonardo Duque (COL), Cofidis 164
    5. Kim Kirchen (LUX), Team Columbia 155

    So, the answer is yes. If Hushovd took both sprints and the won the stage and Freire earned no points, he still would end up with 47 points today, which would – assuming Freire earns less than five points, he would win.

  • 03:07 PM: Champagne

    Bjarne Riis is handing out glasses of Champagne to the whole CSC crew from the team car, the sort of feed you only see on the last day.

    This is a big day for the CSC team, winning its first Tour de France.

  • 03:08 PM: Viva Espana

    Oscar Freire spoke to Eurosport this morning: “Today is the last chance for many riders so I think it will be difficult and dangerous. I will try and win and make it a good year for Spanish sport. I am the first Spanish green jersey. Carlos won the Tour. We won the football (Euro 2008) and the tennis (Nadal at Wimbledon).”

  • 03:14 PM: Reader question

    Jeffrey writes to ask

    LUG,
    With the Olympics coming up almost immediately, what happens to the traditional post Tour criterium/kirmesse races? I assume the riders with commitments to their Olympic teams won’t participate.

    For that matter, now that riders’ contracts are, in most cases, big enough to support a family, do riders depend on the local criteriums for income much anymore?

    By the way, fantastic coverage of the Tour! As usual, I got virtually nothing done at work before 11am for the better part of July. A bientot!
    First off, I just want to say I am shocked that you are following the Tour from work. People actually do that?

    As for the post-Tour criteriums, we haven’t heard, but those races are pretty easy and there’s guaranteed appearance money – in excess of 100,000 euros a pop – so we’d have to expect that Sastre won’t skip all of them.

    Remember back in 2006? The fact that Floyd Landis started skipping those races was the first sign that something was going on, the problem that ultimately turned out to be the Stage 17 positive.

  • 03:17 PM: Contador

    A Carlos Sastre victory in the Tour de France is the best possible consolation for being barred from competing in the race, according to last year’s winner fellow Spaniard Alberto Contador.

    “As I was unable to defend my yellow jersey, the best thing that could happen is for a compatriot to win the race,” Contador told Spanish sports daily Marca on Sunday. “I’m especially pleased that Carlos Sastre is going to win it because he has spent his whole career improving one step at a time.”

    “This is a reward for his whole career. He has ridden very intelligently throughout the Tour, knowing what he wanted and fighting for it from the very start.”

    Of course, Contador will also try to get some solace from the fact that he is taking a shot at winning his third grand tour in 14 months, when he lines up for the Vuelta this year.

  • 03:25 PM: The peloton

    remember those guys?

    Well, after almost 1:20 in the saddle, they’ve reached the 40km mark.

    There are 2 Cat 4 climbs ahead:
    The Cote de Saint Remy les Chevreuse at 48km
    The Cote de Chateaufort at 51.5km

    Bernard Kohl has a lock on the KOM jersey, so neither climb will affect that race.

  • 03:27 PM: Cadel Evans

    meanwhile, told the Australian Associated Press that “to come in two times second is a bit bitter.”

    “I rode a really good time trial and some other people just had an incredible, incredible time trial … what can I do?” Evans said. “I went in really well and the team, everyone, was calm and not nervous. We came here to do a good race, we did our best and we got beaten.”

    “I will be back next year. I think I have three or four good Tours left in me.”

  • 03:31 PM: Reader comment

    Patrick D writes:

    What’s with this tradition? Parade celebrations can happen after the race. This gentleman’s agreement to not attack all the way to the finish line is nonsense. The notion, of a “Joy-Ride Lolly-Gag” into town is bogus. In other sports do you just give it to the team at half time just because they’re up a goal, and then simply play for show…? Evans should absolutely not settle for second place. No way man, put down the glasses of booze, work hard, and let’s see some action!

    Well, Patrick, we’re not fans of the parade lap aspect of the final stage and our favorite Tour finish remains the 1989 Tour that ended with a dramatic final stage time trial. That said, we’ve been sitting at a desk for three weeks, so we’ll decline to talk smack about these fellas. We’d probably want a cruise into Paris, too, had we been on our bikes. If there is blame, it rests with the organizers who designed the final stage to be a flat roll into a (very nice) criterium in Paris.

  • 03:32 PM: A little action

    A smiling Bernhard Kohl has scampered out of the peloton with a friendly shove from Columbia’s Bernhard Eisel to take the day’s first KOM.
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  • 03:37 PM: At 50km

    the peloton is heading up to the last ranked climb of the Tour de France. As we already noted Kohl has a lock on that contest, so he will probably be handed this one, too.

  • 03:41 PM: Well, there ya go

    it wasn’t Kohl who took that last climb. Freddy Bichot (Agritubel) who won the Cote de Chateaufort ahead of Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) and Marco Manzano (Lampre).

  • 03:43 PM: At 53km

    the peloton is closing in Paris. They have 30km to go before the peloton reaches the Champs Elysees. After the first lap, the day’s potential stage winners will be ripping it up.

  • 03:46 PM: How cool is that?

    The peloton has just passed by a guy in a yellow jersey riding a bike on a tightrope about 15 meters above the ground. We bet Carlos Sastre can’t do that.

  • 03:50 PM: Our pace

    is still around 27kph. It’s certainly a relaxed day for the 145 riders in the peloton.

    Wim Vansevenant (Silence-Lotto) is the 145th on GC and will “win” the Tour’s Lanterne Rouge for the third year in a row… which, according to Adam, our official Live Update DFL historian, that’s a record. Congrats (?) to Wim.

  • 03:55 PM: Correction

    we went back and discovered an error on our part. Our apologies. Hushovd could theoretically win the green jersey today. If Hushovd took both sprints and the won the stage and Freire earned no points, he still would end up with 47 points today, which would – assuming Freire earns less than five points, he would win.

    Our error was rooted in our shorting the points at the intermediate sprints. They give six points for those, not the three we mentioned. Our apologies.

  • 04:03 PM: 79km

    remaining. There are still no attacks.

  • 04:11 PM: 75km to go

    the peloton continues on auto-pilot. The pace has not bumped up beyond the 30kph mark today. It’s gonna be pretty slow until the final eight laps around the famous 6.5km circuit up and down the Champs-Elysees, past the Louvre museum and across the Place de la Concorde.

  • 04:13 PM: Your favorite moments?

    Drop us a short note describing your favorite moment of this Tour de France and we’ll try to post a nice selection.

  • 04:24 PM: Stage winners

    STAGE 1: Brest-Plumelec – Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne)
    STAGE 2: Auray-St. Brieuc – Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
    STAGE 3: St. Malo-Nantes – Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis)
    STAGE 4: Cholet-Cholet TT – Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)
    STAGE 5: CHOLET – CHATEAUROUX – Mark Cavendish (Columbia)
    STAGE 6: Aigurande-Super-Besse – Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) – (Ricardo Ricco Positive)

    STAGE 7: Brioude-Aurillac – Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne)
    STAGE 8: Figeac-Toulouse – Mark Cavendish (Columbia)
    STAGE 9: Toulouse – Bagneres-de-Bigorre – Vladimir Efimkin (Ag2r) – (Ricardo Ricco Positive)
    STAGE 10: Pau – Hautacam – Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) ( this may change)
    STAGE 11: Lannemezan – Foix – Kurt Asle Arvesen (CSC)
    STAGE 12: Lavelanet – Narbonne – Mark Cavendish (Columbia)
    STAGE 13: Narbonne – Nimes – – Mark Cavendish (Columbia)
    STAGE 14: Nimes-Digne-les-Bai – Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
    STAGE 15: Embrun-Prato Nevoso – Simon Gerrans (Credit Agricole)
    STAGE 16: Cuneo-Jausiers – Cyril Dessel (Ag2r)
    STAGE 17: Embrun-L’Alpe d’Huez – Carlos Sastre (CSC)
    STAGE 18: Bourg d’Oisans-St. Etienne – Marcus Burghardt (Columbia)
    STAGE 19: Roanne-Montlucon – Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)
    STAGE 20: Cerilly – Saint-Amand-Montrond TT – Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner)

  • 04:26 PM: CSC

    is at the front of the peloton. The race has reached the 75km mark and we are (finally) reaching the outskirts of Paris. The team will lead the peloton on to the Champs Elysees.

  • 04:27 PM: Favorite moment

    Lyle in Halifax writes:

    Seeing Ricco get busted. I always thought he was dirty and his mouth was bigger than his brain. He showed no respect to his teamates, cycling or the race. As they say, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. So long Ricardo.
    Yeah Lyle, that one left us feeling all warm and fuzzy, too.

  • 04:34 PM: Favorite moment

    Pamela B. wites to say that her favorite moment was

    when Denis Menchov crashed on the climb in stage 15 and the rest of the big GC players showed enough class to wait until he was back. This sport has class.

  • 04:36 PM: Through Issy-les-Moulineaux

    which is significant, because that’s were ASO is HQ-ed.

    There are 60km remaining. The peloton is riding along the River Seine

  • 04:39 PM: Stuart O’Grady

    is at the front of the peloton. It’s remarkable that he’s here, considering the crash he had in last year’s Tour.

  • 04:46 PM: With CSC

    at the front, the peloton is on the Champs. We have eight laps to go.

  • 04:47 PM: What a sight

    The peloton is heading to the Arc de Triomphe and and CSC is in control. We will see attacks here soon, though.

  • 04:48 PM: And the first little digs

    We see a couple of riders trying their best to get away.

    Cofidis’s Stephane Auge is the first attacker of the day. Indeed, he was in the first break of the Tour three weeks ago.

  • 04:53 PM: Reeled in

    and a new dig. We see Caisse d’Epargne’s Ivan Gutierrez and Bouygues Telecom’s Xavier Florencio at the front.

  • 04:54 PM: With 46km

    to go our two escapees are just eight seconds ahead of the peloton. This won’t last.

  • 04:55 PM: In the gutter

    The two leaders are riding in the gutter, the only non-cobbled surface here. The crown barriers are a good meter or two from the edge of the sidewalk.

  • 04:55 PM: The day’s first sprint

    Florencio and Gutierrez are heading to the day’s first sprint. Freire will be happy to see that one.

  • 04:57 PM: Gutierrez get six points

    Florencio takes the second spot for four and the peloton came through at 10 seconds. It was not a green jersey contender who took the final two. It was Rabobank’s Joost Posthuma, sweeping up points for his teammate.

  • 04:58 PM: Now Freire

    has a lock on the green jersey… as long as he finishes.

  • 04:59 PM: Our two escapees

    have been pulled back by the peloton. We have 42km remaining.

  • 05:01 PM: Another attack

    We have five riders trying to slip off, but they aren’t getting much…. uhhh actually nothing. They’re back.

  • 05:02 PM: 38km to go

    We see many, many attempts to get away, but there are a lot of riders and teams hungry for a stage win. No one is being allowed to get too much of a gap.

  • 05:05 PM: All together

    again. The peloton is now behind the CSC team, which is there to protect Sastre and maybe, maybe, just maybe to send Fabian Cancellara off on a daring attack with a few km to go.

  • 05:05 PM: Nicolas Vogondy

    The French champion is trying another attack.

  • 05:07 PM: Vogondy

    Has Quick Step’s Carlos Barredo with him. The Spaniard wants another shot at a stage win.

  • 05:09 PM: With 34km remaining

    Vogondy and Barredo are about 10 seconds ahead of the peloton.

    Man, there are HUGE crowds out here. It’s a beautiful day and the Tour de France is a big draw on days like this.

  • 05:09 PM: 12 seconds

    Our two escapees are 12 seconds ahead of the field and the peloton is led by CSC.

  • 05:11 PM: 15 seconds

    the two leaders have 15 seconds on the field. They are five km from taking on the next intermediate sprint.

  • 05:12 PM: Jose Luis Arrieta

    The Ag2r rider is attempting to bridge up to the two leaders, who are now 18 seconds ahead fo the peloton.

  • 05:13 PM: Jose Luis Arrieta

    is now 10 seconds behind the leaders and 10 seconds ahead of the peloton. There are 29km remaining in the Tour de France.

  • 05:15 PM: Jose Luis Arrieta

    Has been reeled in, but the two leaders are still 20 seconds up the road. Barredo is especially driven, given his near miss on Friday.

  • 05:17 PM: Flags

    We see a veritable U.N. of flags in the crowd today. Aussie flags are everywhere, American, French, Spanish… we even spotted Kenyan and South African banners in the crowd.

  • 05:18 PM: The gap

    with 25km to go, the two leaders are now just eight seconds ahead of the field. The pace is high out there now… about twice what it was on the way to town.

  • 05:18 PM: Caught

    our two escapees are back in the peloton. There are new attacks developing.

  • 05:20 PM: With 22km to go

    the peloton is strung out in single file.

  • 05:21 PM: It was 2005

    when an escapee held off the peloton on a Champs stage. Alexander Vinokourov attacked with 10k to go and managed to stay off for the win.

  • 05:23 PM: With 20km reamaining

    Stefan Schumacher and a couple of others have tried to get away… and they’re back in the peloton.

  • 05:26 PM: Three laps to go

    it sure looks like we’ll get a bunch sprint today. Silence Lotto’s lead-out and sprint men are watching the front. Johan Van Summeren joined a small break, just to keep an eye on things. He’s there to help Robbie.

    Our money is on a Cancellara attack, but we’re not sure it will stick.

  • 05:27 PM: 17km remaining

    and the peloton is all together.

  • 05:28 PM: 15km

    to go and there are little digs off the front, but no one is getting much of a gap.

  • 05:29 PM: Three riders

    Auge and Marcus Burghardt and a Credit Agricole rider are taking a try. They are five seconds ahead of the field.

  • 05:31 PM: That Credit Agricole

    rider is Alexandre Botcharov. He is up with Stephan Auge and Columbia’s Kanstantsin Sivtsov (we had mis-IDed him)

  • 05:32 PM: The gap

    with only two of three working the gap is just seven seconds.

    Botcharov is there, but his team wants to see a win by Hushovd.

  • 05:33 PM: Well

    Botcharov is the only rider in the break left. He’s giving it a go, but the peloton is just four seconds ahead. 10km to go.

  • 05:34 PM: With 9.5km to go

    our lone escapee is just ahead of the peloton. The CSC team is leading the chase…. and he’s caught.

  • 05:36 PM: And

    the peloton is now 8km from the finish of the Tour de France. The three km rule is in effect, so even if Sastre crashes in the final three kilometers, he will win the Tour de France.

  • 05:38 PM: A new attack

    Franicaise des Jeux has a rider off the front… Arnaud Gerard but he’s about to be caught, though.

  • 05:38 PM: Bell lap

    the last lap 6.5km to go.

  • 05:39 PM: Arnaud Gerard

    has been caught… but then his teammate Philippe Gilbert attacks.

  • 05:40 PM: Philippe Gilbert

    is about four seconds up the road. He… awww never mind. He’s caught.

  • 05:41 PM: 3km to go

    the speed is very high. That makes it hard for attacks… but they are trying.

    Quick Step is up front. They really want a win

  • 05:42 PM: 2.5km to go

    Cofidis’ Sylvain Chavnel goes off

  • 05:42 PM: Caught

    2.km to go

  • 05:43 PM: 1km to go

    Quick Step leads.

  • 05:45 PM: Sprint!

    All Quick Step up front and they get a stage win! A long charge with a perfect lead out and Gert Steegmans wins it!

  • 05:47 PM: Steegmans

    holds off a late charge from Columbia’s Gerald Ciolek.

    1. Gert Steegmans (B), Quick Step
    2. Gerald Ciolek (G), Columbia
    3. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank

    Meanwhile Sastre is off his bike and talking to his kids. Carlos Sastre wins the Tour de France.

    Oscar Freire wins the green jersey

    Bernhard Kohl wins the polka-dot jersey

    Andy Schleck earns the white jersey of best young rider.

  • 05:56 PM: Top 10

    1. Gert Steegmans (B), Quick Step
    2. Gerald Cioleck (G), Columbia
    3. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank
    4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence-Lotto
    5. Thor Hushovd (N) Credit Agricole
    6. Julian Dean (NZ) Garmin-Chipotle
    7. Stefan Schumacher (G) Gerolsteiner
    8. Robert Forster (G), Gerolsteiner
    9. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
    10. Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld

  • 05:58 PM: Final GC

    Final overall
    1. Carlos Sastre (ESP), CSC
    2. Cadel Evans (AUS), Silence-Lotto at at1:05
    3. Bernhard Kohl (AUT), Gerolsteiner at 1:20
    4. Denis Menchov (RUS), Rabobank at 2:00
    5. Christian Vande Velde (USA), Garmin-Chipotle at 3:12
    6. Frank Schleck (LUX), CSC at 4:28
    7. Samuel Sanchez (ESP), Euskaltel-Euskadi at 6:32
    8. Kim Kirchen (LUX), Team Columbia at 7:02
    9. Alejandro Valverde (ESP), Caisse d’Epargne at 7:26
    10. Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Ag2r at 9:12

  • 06:00 PM: Podium presentations

    It’s time for the Tour’s big podium presentation… with the Arc de Triomphe in the background.

    Well, folks. They’re giving out the awards and the Tour de France is done. Three weeks and seven different leaders. It’s been a great Tour. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll be back for the Vuelta a Espana.

    Thanks for tuning in this month… now, do what we can finally do and go ride your bike!