Stage 21 – Creteil Paris Champs-Elysees 95 km
All Cadel Evans had to do was not crash and get over the finishing line with the rest of the peloton. But lets face it even if he crashed and broken a bone like he did on the 2010 tour when he suffered a fracture in his arm but doggedly carried on to finish when others would have pulled out. It would take a hell of a lot more for him not to get over that finishing line to claim the maillot jaune.
As is tradition the start of the race was a festival affair with Evans sipping champagne and posing for pictures with fellow riders of the peloton. Once out of the neutral zone Evans switched bikes from the BMC yellow back to his teams colours. With just under 90 minutes of riding the peloton reached the Champs-Elysees for the final circuits and those all important sprint race points still up for grabs for the green jersey.
On the second circuit an attack lead to 6 riders breaking away to build up a 43 second lead. With an intermediate sprint at the 35 km mark Cavendish had to sprint ahead of his rivals the remaining points for the sprint. But the main issue of the day still remained with Cavendish needing to win the race and claim those final all important points to seal the title for the green jersey.
As the peloton slowly but surely reeled in the breakaway group all eyes were on Cavendish and the HTC express to see when they would strike. With only 1 km to go numerous teams started to pull together to lead out their own sprinters in an attempt to spoil Cavendish’s day. HTC muscled in, swamped the over teams and took control of the peloton then lead Cavendish out perfectly for the race win and coveted green jersey. Cavendish recognised as the worlds greatest sprinter had finally done it. and as always heaped praise on his team members ” with this team I can’t fail “.
What a race and what a tour. First ever Australian tour winner, the first time brothers had shared the podium and Britain’s first ever green jersey winner.
How will the tour organisers top that next year is any one’s guess.
Total distance covered: 3430 km