Words & Photo: A.S.O. / CYCLING NEWS
Vincenzo Nibali is the winner of the 101st Tour de France, a race he led for eighteen days out of twenty-one. It’s also the big return of French riders on the final podium with Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot second and third respectively. The last stage on the Champs-Elysées went to Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) just like last year. The German outsprinted Alexander Kristoff in a spectacular final sprint on the Champs-Elysées.
The traditional walk in the park
All the way from Evry to Paris, the 164 riders left in the peloton cruised at about 32km/h. The Maillot Jaune Vincenzo Nibali shared some Champagne with his team-mates from Astana. The tradition was respected.
Jens Voigt’s farewell
Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) was the first attacker as the race really started on the Champs-Elysées. Jens Voigt (Trek) was the next one and it look like a lap of honour for the soon-to-be retired rider at the age of 43. The German veteran won the last intermediate sprint of his last Tour de France, after which a crash occurred in the peloton. Runner up Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R-La Mondiale) slipped in a curve and a got fright with 43km to go. With the help of three team-mates, he made his way back to the pack five kilometres further. Four riders took the lead with 36km to go: Richie Porte (Sky), Michael Morkov (Tinkoff), José Serpa (Lampre) and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne).
Kittel makes it four
Porte, Morkov and Serpa insisted as long as they could. Porte was the last member of this breakaway to be caught, with 7.5km to go. His compatriot Simon Clarke (Orica) was the last man to try to escape 5km before the end. But the inevitable bunch gallop saw the domination of Giant-Shimano in the lead out. Marcel Kittel emerged as the winner of stage 21, adding one success to the three he took in the first week of the Tour. Seven stages out of twenty-one have been won by German riders. Peter Sagan crossed the line in ninth position, therefore beating his record of points in the race for the green jersey. The Slovakian champion won the points classification for the third time in a row.