The conclusion of the 2015 Tour de France, the final stage is part victory parade, part criterium. The Champs Elysées are reserved for the riders, a privilege only accorded to cyclists and visiting heads of state. In the end a sprint finish.
The Route: the start in Sèvres, a town famous for its porcelain and where they make the Coupe Omnisports prize for the winner of the Tour de France. There’s little point detailing the strategic elements except to say the race uses the full length of les champs. As ever there’s a slight rise to the road and it’s cobbled, the urban variety of pavé but enough to make it that bit harder.
- Pointless: because we know who has won the Tour de France and half of the stage is a victory parade, a procession
- Essential: because it crowns the victor and provides the prestigious backdrop. After weeks touring rural France here is the capital’s seal of approval
The Contenders: this would be the sprinters world championship if the sprinters were all here and in good health but there are some nuances to make us question who can win. However given several teams (Etixx-Quickstep, Katusha, Giant-Alpecin) still have a big interest in a sprint it seems likely that the stage is reserved for the sprinters.
André Greipel is the prime pick. He’s got three stage wins and each time he has won in a convincing, authoritative manner. But look at the medical bulletin above, a gonalgie or sore knee for Greipel. Another health concern is Alexander Kristoff with talk of a sore throat and he hasn’t looked too sharp all the way around France.
Mark Cavendish has been soldiering on and knows this finish perfectly but has to sprint without his leadout Mark Renshaw, Matteo Trentin is a capable replacement especially as Cavendish will be able to lecture him on the drill.
Peter Sagan and John Degenkolb seem to have equal chances, you can see a win but you can also see them in second or third place. The French are having a good third week and Arnaud Démare is the best local hope.
|Kristoff, Sagan, Degenkolb, Démare|
Weather: Rainy with temperatures of 18˚C.
TV: live on TV from start to finish. The finish is forecast for 7.00pm Euro time.
Before then there is La Course and you can watch the women’s criterium on the Champs Elysées. Given you know the course already, for a good preview I recommend this detailed take on the contenders and pretenders by PelotonWatch.com and Ella has a good wider look at the race with context. It starts at 1.30pm and finishes at 3.30pm.