The final stage and one that starts as victory parade and ends as the most glamorous criterium.
One second: a win for Tom Dumoulin, he was close to Chris Froome through the stage and gained the winning second on the final climb of the Col de Pinodieta and the ensuing descent. Primož Roglič had a jour sans, losing twenty seconds with the first five kilometres and ultimately finishing 8th on the day, over a minute down and off the podium. Geraint Thomas had a wobble, taking a right turn so fast he almost slid out and for the briefest moment it looked like he was going to slide out just like he did in the Dauphiné prologue but this time, the tale of his Tour, he kept it together.
The Route: 116km starting in Houilles, a Vélib ride away from Chatou were Paris-Nice started earlier this year. It’s a quick ride away from Paris before riding back and onto the Champs Elysées circuit.
The Finish: As ever there’s a slight rise to the Champs Elysées and it’s cobbled, the urban variety of pavé but enough to make it that bit harder. After weeks touring rural France here is the capital’s seal of approval, a finish fit for a visiting head of state.
The Contenders: Alexander Kristoff (UAE-Emirates) has been in the top-5 five times now so a win is almost due, especially since several rivals who beat him earlier in the race have gone home ill, injured or missed the time cut. But he lacks the team support.
By contrast Arnaud Démare has the train with Groupama-FDJ and he’s got the sprint, the slight uphill run to the line is ideal for him although two stage wins seems a big ask.
Peter Sagan could still be sore from his crash on Wednesday but was all smiles in post-stage interviews yesterday, Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) was close to Démare in Pau but this was a career best sprint in the World Tour, to win on the Champs Elysées would be a huge win for him. So John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and even Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) bring more experience.
|Alexander Kristoff, Arnaud Démare|
|Peter Sagan, John Degenkolb|
|Laporte, EBH, Boudat|
Weather: warm and sunny, a top temperature of 29°C.
TV: live from the start at 4.15pm CEST with the finish forecast for 7.10pm CEST. Tune in later for the sprint.