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The final stage: Live updates into Paris

5:25 p.m. It's official. The band is playing the Star Spangled Banner. Lance Armstrong has been awarded the Tour's final yellow jersey by the mayor of Paris and the 2001 Tour de France is over! Thanks for tuning in folks. We've enjoyed doing the updates and hope you've found them to be at least a little helpful as you scanned the net while you were supposed to be working. See ya next year! 5:17 p.m. Here are the preliminary results of the 20th and final stage of the 2001 Tour de France. 1. Jan Svoarda (Lampre-Daikin); 2. Erik Zabel (Deutsche Telekom); 3. Stuart O'Grady (Crédit

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5:25 p.m. It’s official. The band is playing the Star Spangled Banner. Lance Armstrong has been awarded the Tour’s final yellow jersey by the mayor of Paris and the 2001 Tour de France is over!

Thanks for tuning in folks. We’ve enjoyed doing the updates and hope you’ve found them to be at least a little helpful as you scanned the net while you were supposed to be working.

See ya next year!

5:17 p.m. Here are the preliminary results of the 20th and final stage of the 2001 Tour de France.

1. Jan Svoarda (Lampre-Daikin);

2. Erik Zabel (Deutsche Telekom);

3. Stuart O’Grady (Crédit Agricole);

4. Sven Teutenberg (Festina);

5. Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo);

As for the overall, we think it was that guy from Texas who won again.

5:07 p.m. The Tour is over. Jan Svorada has won the sprint. Zabel finished back a bit, but just ahead of O’Grady.

Zabel has won his sixth successive points jersey and Lance Armstrong has now won the Tour de France for three years in a row.

Stay tuned for results and details. 5:07 p.m. Vinokourov has been joined by Laurent Brochard.

The two have been caught.

5:07 p.m. The leaders have been caught. Anticipating the catch, Vinokourov has countered. He is a few seconds ahead.

5:05 p.m. The leaders are within 13 seconds of being caught. Realizing that, Vinokourov tried to attack from the lead group, but didn’t gain much ground.

We are less than 5km to the finish.

Oh wait. Nico Mattan has just jumped ahead of the leaders and has a 10 second gap

5:03 p.m. With one 6.5-kilometer lap to go, the lead group are just 18 seconds ahead of the peloton.

5:00 p.m. With 9.5km remaining, the leaders have an advantage of just 26 seconds.

4:58 p.m. The gap is now at 28 seconds. Credit Agricole continues to lead the chase.

4:56 p.m. The gap is now 31 seconds. Credit Agricole is at the front, helping the chase. The points awarded at the finish are O’Grady’s last chance to take back the green jersey, so the team is motivated.

There are 10.5km to go.

4:53 p.m. The gap grew to 30 seconds — perhaps the peloton didn’t realize there were still riders off the front.

But the chase has picked up with Lampre at the front. We are 14.5km from the finish.

4:52 p.m. The gap is down to 24 seconds and Lampre and Credit Agricole are helping Bonjour with the chase.

4:49 p.m. Those nine chasers have been caught and the seven leaders remain about 30 seconds up the road.

We have 18km left in this Tour de France.

4:48 p.m. The seven leaders are 30 seconds ahead of a group of nine, who are five seconds ahead of the Bonjour-led peloton.

We have 19km to the finish.

4:45 p.m. We are now 21km from the finish of the stage — and the Tour for that matter.

The seven leaders — Vinokourov, Brard, Baldato, Aerts, Verheyen and Bouvard — remain 20 seconds ahead of the chase and 46 seconds ahead of the peloton.

4:43 p.m. There are now seven leaders and they have 46 seconds on the pelton.

The remnants of the original break are 20 seconds behind the leaders and the Bonjour team is driving the chase.

4:41 p.m. The lead group has fractured and four riders — Baldato, Verheyen, Aerts and Bouvard — are off the front, with the remnants of the lead group are in pursuit.

4:33 p.m. Bonjour, Bigmat, Postal and a few Domos are powering the chase, but the 23 leaders still have an advantage of about 1:20. We have about 31km to go.

4:28 p.m. The leaders have an advantage still around 1:20 as they begin the sixth lap of Champs Elysees.

Lennard Zinn reports that there are an amazing number of American and Texas flags along the course and very few French tri-colors. So much for the vaunted Chauvanism of the hosts — either that or these are all Texans lining the Champs Elysees. Ya think?

4:21 p.m. The 23 leaders –Vinokourov, Brard, Lino, Baldato, Belli, Tosatto, Verheyen, Verbrugghe, Aerts, Baguet, Mattan, Garzelli, Pascual Rodriguez, Morin, Voigt, Botcharov, Turpin, Laurent Jalabert, Piil, Bouvard, Serpellini, Pinotti and Guesdon — have an advantage of 1:10.

4:19 p.m. The seven leaders have been joined by sixteen others — including Laurent Jalabert — and collectively, this group of 23 riders has an advantage of 40 seconds.

4:14 p.m. With less than 50km to go, the race will surely heat up.

There are six riders off the front – Kevin Livingston (Telekom), Jakob Piil (CSC); Stefano Garzelli (Mapei); Rik Verbrugghe (Lotto); Florent Brard (Festina) and Nicolas Vogodny (Française des Jeux). They have a lead of about 20 seconds.

The UCI has issued a press release:

“A review of the anti-doping actions taken during the Tour”

“The statement says that UCI carried out its regular medical controls before the Tour and found no aberrant results.

“43.7 percent. 1.17 percent – well within normal limits.

“These same controls were subsequently carried out three times and the results

“After each stage 8 anti-doping controls were carried out in collaboration with the ministry of youth and sport and 10 random tests

“In total there were 170 urine samples analyzed. Thus far the results of the first 122, one tested positive for EPO – Txema Del Olmo of Euskaltel. He was subsequently fired by his team

“Considering the one case this year and considering the preceeding results the UCI would like to conclude that the problem of EPO no longer influences cycling at the elite level.

“Of the 122 samples studied, only 32 have traces of corticosteroids. The corticosteroid will show up in urine for two months and therefore the results are within norms and not suggestive that the peloton is using the products during the Tour. Because of the possible and acceptable uses, this should not be considered as proof of doping.”

3:59 p.m. The peloton has completed its first lap around the famed Champs Elysees. The Postal team is still at the front.

Interestingly, the big Ferris Wheel in the center of Paris has stopped.

3:53 p.m. The peloton has just passed the Place de la Concorde and are on the finishing circuit, which they do 10 times. We have another 65km to go.

3:52 p.m. The pace has picked up and the Postal team is leading the peloton still. Race radio theorizes that the team is pulling hard because they can see the Eiffel tower. Kinda like horses heading back to the barn after a loooooong ride.

3:48 p.m. 3:48 p.m. It’s cool. The church bells of Paris are ringing to welcome the peloton, which is now being led by the Postal team — the spot they deserve coming into to Paris.

3:42 p.m. A total of 20 riders joined that attack and built a lead of 9 seconds before they were caught.

The Postal team is now in the front of the peloton as the race heads into Paris, in full view of the Eiffel Tower.

They are now crossing the river Seine.

3:35 p.m. So Zabel scored six points in the final intermediate sprint of the 2001 Tour de France. That was Vinokourov in second. He earned four points and O’Grady was third with two.

There is now a four-point margin going into Paris.

With the sprint over, a Bonjour rider attacked and riders are trying to join him. This is now a real bike race!

3:32 p.m. The day’s second sprint ended in disappointment for O’Grady. He finished in third behind Zabel and a rider we believe to be Vinokourov.

3:30 p.m. With a kilometer to go, the Credit Agricole and Telekom teams are at the front. O’Grady is at the back of the Telekom line — right on Zabel’s wheel.

3:29 p.m. The peloton is now at km 74 and the Telekom team is moving up to position Erik Zabel for the intermediate sprint at km78.

3:20 p.m. The Dr. Ferrari dispute between Lance Armstrong and the Sunday Times of London, reporter David Walsh has not eased off any. Walsh is the reporter who prompted Armstrong to reveal his working relationship with the Italian doctor.

Walsh has a new column in today’s Sunday Times of London in which three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond weighs in on the question.

3:15 p.m. The pace is still slow, we’ve been averaging about 33kph for the past two hours and it is doubtful that things will pick up until the day’s second sprint in Chatenay-Malabry at km 78.

3:07 p.m. Rubens Bertogliati (Lampre)crested the climb first and he was followed by Fassa Bortolo’s Wladimir Belli and the man who has won the overall climbing contest, Laurent Jalabert (CSC)

The next item on the agenda: The sprint at km 78.

We are now at kilometer 62.3:00 p.m. local time We are coming up on the day’s only rated climb, the Category 4. Col de Gif sur Yvette. There will probably not be much of a contest Laurent Jalabert — repledant on his polka-dot decorated Look carbon bike — has the climber’s jersey locked up.

2:51 p.m. local time We are at kilometer 53 and — surprise, surprise — the peloton is still together.

We are about 110 km from the finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

2:28 p.m. local time Lance Armstrong is working his way through the race caravan, chatting with drivers and mechanics along the way.

The pace is obviously relaxed and not much is expected to happen until we approach that second sprint. But given the history of the one-on-one competition between Zabel and O’Grady, the “smart money” has to be on the Telekom rider for this last sprint and the finish in pAris. If the smart money is right, the German will win his sixth successive Tour de France points jersey — having worked harder for it this year than in any of his previous five wins.

2:19 p.m. local time And when the peloton realized that the yellow jersey was among those taking a break, the all got off.

The peloton is now back on course and we are on our way to Paris.

The final intermediate sprint is coming up km 78. It is a slightly uphill (three-percent) grade to the sprint line. The beautiful thing about it is, however, that when the riders crest that little rise after the sprint, the first thing that pops into view is the Eifel Tower. Before that, you can’t see the tower from the course. Can Jean-Marie Leblanc script these things or what?

2:17 p.m. local time We are at km 36. Well, things are relaxed again and several riders are on the side of the road taking a small “restroom” break.

2:07 p.m. local time Well it may be an intense competition, but it is a friendly one, as well.

Now that the sprint is over, Zabel and O’Grady are riding along side one another, chatting and smiling.

The next sprint comes at kilometer 78 in Chatenay-Malabry, right at the edge of Paris.

2:04 p.m. local time There is now a tie for the green jersey. Zabel won the sprint with O’Grady in second. Closing up the two-point gap. But were it to stay this way, Zabel would get the jersey because of the stages he’s won.

2:02 p.m. local time The sprint in Breux-Jouy is coming up in 3km.

The Telekoms are spread all the way across the road up front and there is no sight of O’Grady and the C.A.s

1:58 p.m. local time With the sprint coming up in a few kilometers, the Telekom team has moved to the front of the peloton.

1:55 p.m. local time The sprint is at 28.5 km. So there are 5km to go.

1:54 p.m. local time We are closing in on the day’s first sprint and the peloton is still just cruising along.

1:50 p.m. local time At km 19.

The Postal team is resplendant in yellow socks and gloves. They have — fortunately — not gone so far as Pantini’s temmates did in 98 and dye their hair yellow.

The flashiest Armstrong has ever been was in 1999 when he sported yellow Ksyriums on his bike.

By the way, John Wordin was at the start this morning. The Mercury team director is still hoping to be at the Tour next year and was talking to riders. He says he is on his way to solving his team’s current financial problems that were triggered by the bankruptcy of Viatel.

1:45 p.m. local time It should be heating up soon — actionwise that is. The peloton is now within 7km of the first intermediate sprint.

Still, right now, though, it is very slow and the peloton is all together.

1:40 p.m. local time At km 14 we are still cruising along at very moderate pace — you will get updates like this for most of the day, by the way.

There is a slight breeze, which is offering a little relief from the heat, but not much.

1:37 p.m. local time We are at km 12 and the pace is still slow and the mood largely celebratory.

We just passed through a small village decked out with American flags, a gracious nod to the winner of this Tour

1:34 p.m. local time We are at 10km and Armstrong, O’Grady and Jalabert are up at the front. The men in the jerseys are posing at the front, but Mr. O’Grady has Erik Zabel right there, too

1:29 p.m. local time We are at km 8.5. So we’re going at about half the speed of yesterday’s opening kilometers.

The sprint — if they contest it — is on a flat and narrow road. O’Grady really enjoys those flat sprints, so we’ll see how he does.

1:24 p.m. local time We are 6km into the race and we are staying at a very mellow pace.

This day is pretty much dedicated to goofiness and relaxation, despite the battle between Zabel and O’Grady.

1:19 p.m. local time We are proceeding at a pretty moderate pace — a welcome contrast to the fast, wild speeds of yesterday’s opening kilometers.

We have the first intermediate sprint coming up in a few kilometers, at 28.5km in Breaux-Jouy.

1:13 p.m. local time The riders are officially underway.

Will there be the usual procession for the fist 50km? Probably not with the O’Grady-Zabel battle still raging. Normally, in the opening kilometers, the jersey winners move to the front of the field and pose while riding along side one another. Well, the yellow and polka-dot are settled.

1:07 p.m. local time It is a warm day on the outskirts of Paris today. We can expect temperatures in the 90s throughout the day and thus far no talk of late afternoon thunderstorms, which is good, since the cobbles of the Champs Elysees are quite dangerous when wet.

1:00 p.m. local time The peloton is off and we are on our way through the neutral zone and to the official start of the last stage of the 2001 Tour de France.

12:53 p.m. local time Well this is it. We’ve come down to the final stage of the 2001 Tour de France. The starting village is set up on the Boulevard John Kennedy in Corbeil Essonnes and the peloton will be rolling out at 1:00 p.m. neutral start and the official start about ten minutes later.

It’s just 160.5 flat kilometers to the finish on the Champs Elysees in Paris. Normally that would be an easy ride to a sprint finish in Paris, but we still have one contest to decide. Stuart O’Grady and Erik Zabel are locked in a down-to-the-wire struggle for the green points jersey. Separated by just two points, the two intermediate sprints – at kilometers 28.5 and 79 – will take on special significance.