The Roar
The Roar


One last prediction for the 2015 Tour de France

The reigning Tour de France champion is coming our way. (Image: Sky).
25th July, 2015

As the sun sets on yet another Tour de France, only one question remains unanswered. Who will win the final stage on the Champs-Elysees?

With the climbers and the general classification riders hoping for a relaxed procession into Paris after a gruelling couple of weeks attacking and counter-attacking their way over the Pyrenees and the Alps, it will be the sprinters turn to shine.

Out of all the stages in all the Grand Tours, this is the one they yearn for the most.

How intoxicating must it be to outpace your fellow sprinters in front of such a loud and delirious crowd while the aptly named Arc de Triomphe watches over your every move? How delightful must it be to close the epic test of endurance that is the Tour de France with a win?

Mark Cavendish loved it so much he won this final stage four times in a row. His victory in 2009 was perhaps the most perfectly executed lead out and sprint of all time.

On that occasion Cavendish hung bravely to Mark Renshaw’s wheel as the Aussie defied the laws of physics to rocket his way at breakneck speed through the final twist and turn before launching the Manxman to the most comprehensive of victories.

Renshaw’s speed through the chicane was so fast that no one apart from Cavendish could hold on and he rolled across the line in second position himself giving HTC-Colombia a famous one-two podium.

It remains one of the most memorable cycling moments ever on the Champs-Elysees.


But time moves on and where once Cavendish would be considered the outright favourite for such an occasion, his crown as the sprint king has slipped. He is a fighter though and will be itching to regain his place as the ruler of Paris after that German upstart Marcel Kittel stole his crown in the last two editions.

He will have elite opposition though.

Kittel might not be here but Andre Greipel is.

Greipel has already won three stages at this year’s Tour and if he wins tonight it will be his best ever victory haul at the French race. He has finished ahead of Cavendish in each of the sprint finishes except for Stage 7 which Cavendish won on the line.

His form and confidence is sky high and if he has managed to clear the mountains with his legs intact, then he will be extremely hard to beat.

Having said that, Cavendish’s inability to close out some of the early sprints in this Tour despite being in the position to do so was due more to poor timing than poor form. His gritty win in Stage 7 against Greipel and Peter Sagan proved that, on his day, he is still a competitor to fear.

While the loss of key lead-out man Renshaw (who withdrew due to illness three days ago) is a disadvantage, it is not fatal to Cavendish’s chances. He is smart enough and experienced enough to be able to surf his way from wheel to wheel in the hectic finale of a race and win when it counts.


The only other sprinter to have challenged Greipel and Cavendish in the sprints is the man who many consider not to be a sprinter at all – Peter Sagan! Sagan defies categorisation, but I think his sprinting qualities are undersold by fans and media.

In the stages that have ended in bunch sprints he has finished second to Greipel (twice), third behind Cavendish and Greipel, and fourth behind Greipel, John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff.

He is up there with the very best sprinters of the era and as such must be considered a chance to break his string of minor places on the Champs-Elysees.

In fact he deserves to win. He has finished top five in eight of the stages and to round out his Tour with a victory would be a fitting result.

Of the others only Degenkolb or Kristoff would appear to be any threat although the flatter finish does not do them any favours, while Michael Matthews is still battling the injuries he suffered from that horrific pile up on Stage 3.

So, a final prediction for the 2015 Tour de France?

I’m tipping Greipel to make it three wins in a row for the Germans on the Champs-Elysees. Cavendish will be a tyre width behind in second with Sagan another half wheel back in third.


That is of course, if a cheeky breakaway doesn’t slip off and spoil the party for everyone.

Vive le Tour.