Tour de France 2018 Favourites stage 21: Elysium sprint of the heroic
As always, the finish of the Tour de France is on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The first half of the race is a parade with champagne and on occasional cigar, but once the riders hit the cobbles of the famed avenue it's all systems go. Yet, the outcome has been a bunch sprint for the past twelve editions. (Slideshow route/profile)
We have to go back to 2005 for the last rider who managed to hold off a charging peloton on the Champs-Élysées. Aleksandr Vinokourov pulled it off. In 2006, Thor Hushovd won the sprint and since then the scenario has been unchanged. After three weeks of racing the Tour de France boil down to a thrilling criterium on the cobbles and an ensuing bunch sprint. At 116 kilometres, the 21st stage of the Tour de France travels from Houilles to Paris. Winning this one is the holy grail for every fast finisher.
Last year, Groenewegen broke the German hegemony with his first Tour de France win. In the years before Greipel (2016, 2015) and Kittel (2014, 2013) ruled on the Champs-Élysées, while it was Cavendish territory in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Following the onslaught in the Alps the fastest sprinters on the Tour de France are already home. Fernando Gaviria and Dylan Groenewegen both powered to two wins, while Marcel Kittel, André Greipel and Mark Cavendish also abandoned. So we know one thing in advance, the 2018 winner on the Champs-Élysées will never have won the Tour de France’s last stage before.
The first bunch sprint after the Alps was won by Peter Sagan ahead of Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Démare. Moreover, the World Champion did win two other stages on this Tour de Francen. The last sprint before the Paris stage was won by Arnaud Démare.
By the way, Champs-Élysées is French for Elysium, the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous in Greek mythology. What a place to end the World’s largest annual sporting event!
Favourites 21st stage 2018 Tour de France
*** Alexander Kristoff, Arnaud Démare
** Peter Sagan, Magnus Cort Nielsen, John Degenkolb, Edvald Boasson Hagen
* Sonny Cobrelli, Andrea Pasqualon, Christophe Laporte, Timothy Dupont
Tour de France 2018 stage 21: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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