Critical Section

TDF stage 21 / parade - Cavendish wins! and takes green (and we are there!)

Sunday,  07/24/11  09:34 PM

What can I say?  To be on the Champs d'Elysee for the finale to the Tour de France was awesome!  It was a boring race even by last-stage-of-the-Tour standards - hardly any breakaways, easily chased down, and a bunch sprint ending in a runaway victory for Mark Cavendish - but it was great to be in the huge crowd, sense the atmosphere, and see the peloton flashing by.

A few pictures for your viewing pleasure:

the scene: Paris!

the Arc d'Triomphe punctuates one end of the Champs d'Elysee

the Champs d'Elysee, perhaps the most famous shopping street in the world
converted on the third Sunday in July into the most famous velodrome :)

looking straight down the 3 mile racetrack

one kazillion people were on hand, wow

the intermediate sprint point

giant monitors relay the action for the crowd

there they are!  Cadel Evans looking good in yellow

the peloton whooshes by

it's a break! - but reeled in quickly

Mark Cavendish wins!
his fifth stage win, wrapping up the green jersey

the final podium: Andy Schleck (2nd for the 3rd year in a row), Cadel Evans, Frank Schleck

winning team: Garmin Cervelo
Thor Hushovd (world champion's rainbow at left) won two stages and wore yellow all the first week
note cardboard cutout of Dave Zabriske who crashed out

And so ends a great Tour, which had a little of everything.  More than anything else it had drama, the end was in doubt 'till the last, many great attacks, many crashes, many heroes, many victims, and a number of interesting subplots.  (And blessedly no doping scandals!)  I will post some summary thoughts when I get back - stay tuned...

[ Tour de France 2011:  all postsindex ]

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