The riders clip into their pedals near Le Zoo Safari de Thoiry, some 40 kilometres west op Paris. The riders approach the French capital as if pedalling to the beach. A glass of champagne, a photo shoot, a very slow pace – those are the ingredients of the parade stage on the final day of action. But once the riders hit the cobbles on the Champs-Élysées the bunch accelerates. The stage ends with eight fast laps of almost 7 kilometres.
Mark Cavendish was the fastest sprinter in Paris in the period 2009-2012. In subsequent years Marcel Kittel (2013, 2014), André Greipel (2015, 2016), Dylan Groenewegen (2017), Alexander Kristoff (2018), Caleb Ewan (2019), Sam Bennett (2020), and Wout Van Aert (2021) powered to victory.
Van Aert’s sprint victory on the Champs-Élysées was something extraordinary, as it underlined his versatility. The day before he won a time trial, while he also turned out on top in last year’s mountain stage with a double ascent of Mont Ventoux.
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 biggest annual sporting event!
Tour de France 2022 stage 21: routes, profiles, more
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