No profile needed for today as this is essentially a victory parade with a criterium added to the end so we have a song instead.
The last time the yellow jersey changed shoulders on the final stage was in 1989 and that was a time trial. But the racing is no formality, the most prestigious sprint finish in the world awaits.
The Route: with the start in Rambouillet the race borrows many roads know to Parisian club cyclists before heading to Versailles and then into Paris and the usual eight laps of the Champs Elysées and the Place de la Concorde. The Champs Elysées are cobbled and the riders bounce but these are urban pavé polished by the passage of thousands of vehicles every day.
The Race: a sprint finish is the most common scenario, we have to go back to 2005 to find the last time it didn’t come down to a bunch sprint. We can expect Sky, Lotto-Belisol and Orica-Greenedge to chase this time, all have a reason to work. Sky want to thank Cavendish for his sacrifice, Lotto can be confident in André Greipel and Orica-Greenedge don’t have a choice as it’s their last chance at a stage win with Matthew Goss.
Expect some valiant attacks but these should be swept up and we could see Wiggins in lead out mode for Cavendish… but as telegenic as this might be I wonder if it would be a risk too far and the yellow jersey is allowed to sit back away from the hustle.
Weather: sunshine and a pleasant 24°C (73°F).
TV: video from 2.00pm with the finish expected around 5.00pm. Don’t expect much on TV during the early part of the race, it’s normally a moment of celebration and relaxation before we get the camera panning past the Parisian landmarks for the final laps.
Local food: anything you like. After three weeks of pasta and race, riders can eat anything today and team staff and all the others on the race put an end to eating on the go. But many riders have an eye on the Olympics so the usual post-Tour party won’t be as festive as usual.
Do: salute every single rider who has made it. You might not remember seeing the likes of Federico Canuti, Jean-Marc Marino or Sebastian Langeveld but they’ve all completed the biggest bike race in the world and if they didn’t appear on TV all the time it’s because they were pulling before the cameras were switched on, carrying bottles or hanging with the race doctor. After three weeks of racing, they still finish within less than four hours of Bradley Wiggins.
Don’t: think it’s all over. The Olympic games are coming up and within a few weeks the Vuelta begins, the ultimate revenge race for the banned, injured and overlooked riders. And if it seems premature, can you imagine next year’s 100th Tour de France already with Wiggins back in Corsica to face Contador, Nibali, Van Garderen and others over what will be a more mountainous route?