TDF Stage 20

26 Jul

Today was the final stage of the 2010 Tour de France. As I noted in my post yesterday, the final stage of the Tour is part processional, part bike race.

For the processional part of the stage, Alberto Contador and his Astana teammates enjoyed the fruits of their labor in the form of champagne. As is traditional, the yellow jersey winner and team rode together at the front of the peloton and toasted Contador on his victory.

Contador and his main rival, Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) had a mock breakaway, taking off from the peloton. They had a good laugh, shook hands and then rejoined the group. The other excitement in the early part of the stage came from Team Radio Shack. They had new kits on with the Livestrong insignia and the number 28 on the back of each jersey. The number 28 signified the 28 million individuals living with cancer around the world. Unfortunately, Radio Shack didn’t get permission from the proper authorities (the UCI – sticklers for rules) beforehand, and were forced to remove the jersey or face disqualification. Radio Shack removed the jerseys until the stage was over, but then put them back on to go on to the podium to accept the Team Classification prize.

Once the peloton arrived on the Champs E’lyse, the racing began in earnest. There were two prizes still to be decided – the stage win and green jersey competition. After some false starts, a breakaway formed and managed to stay free for a while. Teams HTC-Columbia, Lampre, Team Sky and Cervelo worked successfully to bring the remaining riders in the break back so their respective sprinters could go for the stage win. Lampre had an interest in the stage win and protecting Allesandro Petacchi’s green jersey.

It was no contest – Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) easily won his fifth stage of this Tour and did it without a lead-out from his Team. In his three Tours, Cavendish has won 15 stages – incredible when you consider how many he may win in his career. He is the fastest sprinter in modern times and may be the fastest ever in the Tour de France. No one came close to matching his speed today – or any other day for that matter

Petacchi was able to hold on to the green jersey by finishing 2nd in the stage to Cavendish – collecting enough points to stay ahead of Cavendish in the green jersey competition.  There was no racing today for the yellow jersey, green jersey or white jersey – another unwritten rule in the Tour de France.

The final stage is never the most exciting, but the camaraderie between the riders, plus the ride into Paris, makes it a very enjoyable stage to watch.  Plus, it gave Lance Armstrong a chance to say goodbye.

The final podium:

1st Place – Alberto Contador (91h 58′ 48″)
2nd Place – Andy Schleck (00:39″)
3rd Place – Denis Menchov (02′:01″)

Yellow Jersey – Alberto Contador (Overall Winner)
Green Jersey – Allesandro Petacchi (Points Competition)
Polka-Dot Jersey – Anthony Charteau (KOM Competition)
White Jersey – Andy Schleck (Best Young Rider)

I will post a recap of the 2010 Tour de France later on this week – so check back. Sleep calls now.  Until then, read any of the 30-something posts I did on the Tour – wow, that’s a lot of writing for a lot of riding!

*Pictures are from Getty Images.

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2 Responses to “TDF Stage 20”

  1. Tri Girl July 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    I’m so sad it’s all over. I usually have TDF withdrawals for a week or two after. It was a great race, and I loved every minute.
    Now I have about 4 hours that just freed up every night. What to do now? 😉

  2. Susan July 28, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    Tri – It was an awesome race, one of the best we’ve seen in many years. Guess we will have to make do with the Vuelta in September!

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