Paris, France—July 21, 2013—By Jen Benepe © All rights reserved. Photos © Jen Benepe
To the delight of fans, Chris Froome, the new winner of the 2013 Tour de France rode into Paris sipping champagne, while the sun set on the Champs Elysees.
Marcel Kittel came to the line in a final sprint, dashing all hopes of a final stage win on “the greatest avenue in the world” for Mark Cavendish, though they were bike-to-bike in the end.
Cavendish had a flat in the middle of the race in the Elysees, and had to work hard to get back to the peloton, an event that may have impacted his ability to take the stage.
Though Froome lost 53 seconds to the winner of the final stage and 43 seconds to his nearest rival, Quintana in the general classification, the Sky team sealed its second successive victory in the Tour de France.
Colombian Nairo Quintana (MOV) won both the youth (White Jersey) and climbing (Polka Dot Jersey) classifications in his debut in the race. As he accepted his honors on the podium, a large crowd of Colombians stationed near the finish line waves Colombian flags and screamed his name, “Quintana, Quintana, Quintana,” drowning out all other sounds including the voice of the master of ceremonies who remarked that there was “a large group of people here for Quintana.”
Peter Sagan who was fourth in the final stage won his second successive green jersey.
Froome who seems to maintain a low profile was also briefly upstaged when two small children of Joaquin Oliver Rodriquez climbed up the podium stairs to join their father, the smallest one barely making the stairs.
At one point Froome gamely leaned down and shook their little hands, and it was quite a sight to see. Froome who is so tall and thin he bears a slight resemblance to the Tin Man, as he stretched out his long arm he towered over them and their father by not only his own height, but also the extra height of the podium for the overall winner.
It seemed like all of Paris was out to see the Tour de France on Sunday, with the exception of those who had to work. The normally sophisticated Parisian doesn’t really pay attention to the Tour, many of them using the main avenue to get from one place to another, navigating around tourists who walked at meandering paces. One could see fashionably dressed women on bikes and on foot going about their business with impatience.
Riders did not come onto the Champs Elysees until well after 8 PM. So before that fans melted in the sweltering heat, some sleeping in their self-reserved spots, or cooling their heels in the few fountains around.
Displayed on large screens positioned along the Elysees, Froome could be seen sipping champagne on his way in from Versailles alongside the Sky team car having a laughing chat with his support team.
After much anticipation, the teams came down the their first lap of the Champs Elysees, and huge roars came up from fans all around.
With a 9.40 pm finish, four at the top of the sprinters classification came to the line with Marcel Kittel who began the Tour as he started it – with a victory.
The German also won Bastia, St-Malo and Tours (stages one, 10 and 12) and held off a late challenge from the four-time winner in Paris, Mark
But behind them the mood was much more celebratory: Froome came over the finish line arm-in-arm with team-mates David Lopez and Richie Porte, with an advantage of 4’20” over the best young rider – and King of the Mountains – Nairo Quintana.
“I get a lot of inspiration from reading messages from fans who say that just watching the Tour de France makes them want to get out on their bikes or start cycling,” said the champion of the 2013 Tour. “That’s what this is about. It’s one of the main reasons we’re here, why Sky is sponsoring us – to get that kind of response and support from the public back home is a really cool feeling.”
Sadly, because of the late hour, organizers at the Amaury Sports Organization decided not to allow the teams to do their normal parade around the Champs Elysees. Some, like Orica GreenEdge, did a spontaneous parade anyhow.
But for the winners it most certainly must have been a comedown. By the time he was finished with his podium finish and interviews in a closed off area for big media only, Froome attempted to reach out to a small crowd that happened to be in the right place at the right time and had the patience to wait for him to appear. But surrounded by about 15 strong-arm handlers who threatened photographers, he was whisked away into the night.
A mostly symbolic ride into Paris, Except for the Sprinters
The official start of the final stage of the 100th Tour de France was at 6.26 pm and included two category-four climbs in the opening hour: the cote de Saint-Remy-les-Chevreause (at 29.5km) and cote de Chateaufort (at 33.5km). The peloton idled along at an average speed of 35.6km/h for the first hour, and rode around the gardens of the palace of Versailles to showcase the beauty of the area for TV cameras around the world. There is no doubt that the Tour is one of the best marketing tools for travelers entertaining a visit to the country.
Steegmans (OPQ) and Rojas (MOV) were the riders who claimed the final climbing points of the 2013 Tour. There was a small crash involving Lagutin (VCD) at the 25km mark but he remounted his bike quickly and rejoined the peloton
Sky leads to the streets of Paris
The Sky team led the peloton to the site of the finish for the first of 10 laps of the Champs-Elysées while Richie Porte had the honour of leading the peloton through the first lap. After the first lap, Lars Boom (BEL) became the first to gain any ground on the peloton.
With 53 km to go, the winner of the four most recent stages in Paris – Cavendish (OPQ) – punctured his front tire; it took him three kilometers to rejoin the peloton. At 48 km to go, Meyer (OGE) instigated an escape. He was joined in the lead by David Millar (GRS), Juan Antonio Flecha (VCD) and El Fares (SOJ).
Millar and Flecha kept the break alive and led by 20 seconds at the intermediate sprint (87km) where the Spaniard took first place for the intermediate sprint. Westra (VCD) was forced to abandon the Tour de France with 38 km to go.
Omega prepared for the stage win
With 36 km to go, two riders from the Omega Pharma-Quickstep team went to the front of the peloton. Millar and Flecha were 10 seconds ahead. Millar remained at the front of the stage while Flecha, who was briefly joined by Muravyev (AST) was caught 30 km from the finish. With 25 km to go, Millar had a lead of 30 seconds and held off the peloton until 18 km to go. With 21 km to go, Jeremy Roy (FDJ) attacked the peloton, he caught and passed the stage leader but then retreated to the peloton. This prompted another move: Quinziato (BMC), Valverde (MOV) and Tankink (BEL) were in the lead at 17km to go. They had an advantage of 12”. Omega Pharma-Quickstep got seven men to the front of the peloton with 10km to go and Valverde’s trio was 10” ahead. The escape was over with 6.5km to go.
100th Tour ends as it began: Kittel 1st in the stage
But Omega Pharma-Quickstep team came to the front of the peloton in the closing kilometers though Argos-Shimano, Lotto-Belisol and Cannondale battled it out for the front. Kwiatkowski led Trentin and Steegmans to the ‘Flamme Rouge’ but it was Argos-Shimano that opened up the sprint as they traversed the Place de la Concorde. Kittel started his sprint with about 300m to go and held off a strong challenge from both Cavendish and Andre Greipel. The German is the only rider to win four stages of the 2013 Tour de France.
|1.||GBRFROOME Christopher||1||SKY PROCYCLING||83h 56′ 40”|
|2.||COLQUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander||128||MOVISTAR TEAM||84h 01′ 00”||+ 04′ 20”|
|3.||ESPRODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquin||101||KATUSHA TEAM||84h 01′ 44”||+ 05′ 04”|
|4.||ESPCONTADOR Alberto||91||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||84h 03′ 07”||+ 06′ 27”|
|5.||CZEKREUZIGER Roman||94||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||84h 04′ 07”||+ 07′ 27”|
|6.||NEDMOLLEMA Bauke||164||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||84h 08′ 22”||+ 11′ 42”|
|7.||DENFUGLSANG Jakob||63||ASTANA PRO TEAM||84h 08′ 57”||+ 12′ 17”|
|8.||ESPVALVERDE Alejandro||121||MOVISTAR TEAM||84h 12′ 06”||+ 15′ 26”|
|9.||ESPNAVARRO Daniel||139||COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS||84h 12′ 32”||+ 15′ 52”|
|10.||USATALANSKY Andrew||178||GARMIN – SHARP||84h 14′ 19”||+ 17′ 39”|
|11.||POLKWIATKOWSKI Michal||153||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||84h 15′ 39”||+ 18′ 59”|
|12.||ESPNIEVE ITURRALDE Mikel||116||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||84h 16′ 41”||+ 20′ 01”|
|13.||NEDTEN DAM Laurens||167||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||84h 18′ 19”||+ 21′ 39”|
|14.||BELMONFORT Maxime||47||RADIOSHACK LEOPARD||84h 20′ 18”||+ 23′ 38”|
|15.||FRABARDET Romain||82||AG2R LA MONDIALE||84h 23′ 22”||+ 26′ 42”|
|16.||AUSROGERS Michael||98||TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF||84h 23′ 31”||+ 26′ 51”|
|17.||ESPMORENO FERNANDEZ Daniel||106||KATUSHA TEAM||84h 29′ 14”||+ 32′ 34”|
|18.||BELBAKELANTS Jan||42||RADIOSHACK LEOPARD||84h 32′ 31”||+ 35′ 51”|
|19.||AUSPORTE Richie||6||SKY PROCYCLING||84h 36′ 21”||+ 39′ 41”|
|20.||LUXSCHLECK Andy||41||RADIOSHACK LEOPARD||84h 38′ 26”||+ 41′ 46”|
|21.||COLSERPA José||149||LAMPRE – MERIDA||84h 41′ 48”||+ 45′ 08”|
|22.||FRAGADRET John||86||AG2R LA MONDIALE||84h 42′ 40”||+ 46′ 00”|
|23.||ESPANTON Igor||111||EUSKALTEL – EUSKADI||84h 44′ 47”||+ 48′ 07”|
|24.||FRAROLLAND Pierre||51||TEAM EUROPCAR||84h 48′ 55”||+ 52′ 15”|
|25.||SVKVELITS Peter||159||OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP||84h 50′ 40”||+ 54′ 00”|
|26.||NEDGESINK Robert||162||BELKIN PRO CYCLING||84h 51′ 05”||+ 54′ 25”|
|27.||PORCOSTA Rui Alberto||124||MOVISTAR TEAM||84h 51′ 14”||+ 54′ 34”|