After three weeks of racing, the Tour de France has finally made it to Paris, where the victors will be crowned. As the race heads to its conclusion at the iconic Champs-Elysees, join The Roar for live coverage of Stage 21 from 11:30pm (AEST) onwards.
The final stage has come in for some criticism over the years, mainly it feels like a procession for the most part. However, the beautiful streets of Paris and the best riders in the world competing for one last stage win.
Starting in the commune of Houilles, this stage is almost entirely flat. The first fifty kilometres will be essentially neutral racing, with the riders easing along at a leisurely pace, and, if either they or their team have enjoyed success at this year’s race, quaffing champagne in the Parisian suburbs.
Once the race hits the actual Champs-Elysees circuit itself, the tempo will pick up and the real racing will start. Essentially a criterium from here on in, the race will then consist of eight 7km laps between Jardin des Tuilerie and the Arc de Triomphe.
A breakaway will form, but will struggle to get more than thirty seconds to a minute in front of the main field, with several teams still desperate for a sprint finish and a stage win. Expect to see the grand old man of French cycling, 39-year old Sylvain Chavanel off the front of the peloton, even for just a brief period, in what is widely expected to be his final Tour appearance.
After his crash on Stage 17, Peter Sagan will be too exhausted to win today’s stage and will be content to make it to the finish and collect the green jersey that he wrapped up several stages ago.
Instead, from a depleted field it will be one of the two remaining pure sprinters, Arnaud Demare or Alexander Kristoff will take today’s stage honours.
For me, I’m tipping that Demare will just get there off the back of a strong team performance in the run-in from Francois-De-Jeux.