First of all, what a doozy of a stage yesterday, huh? Everyone seems to be coming out and saying that they knew it was going to happen, but I didn’t hear many predictions of a total reshuffle of the Top 3 beforehand. It was exhilarating to watch Pog do this all by himself, much like he did the whole tour without a team behind him, but it was a little heartbreaking to see Rog fall apart like he did, especially the dead look on his face as he crossed the line. As a friend said, ‘that is sport’.
I might be even happier for Richie Porte, who has never finished on the podium of the Tour and took 3rd place back from ‘superman’ Lopez on his last year of riding for himself (he’s back to Ineos next year to work for…someone or other).
Today’s last ceremonial stage takes the riders a short distance west of Paris during the late afternoon, entering the city after a couple of glasses of champagne and lots and lots of moving group photos. Like the last few years the peloton will do 8 tours of central Paris before finishing, around sunset, in a sprint on the Champs Elysées.
There is actually a jersey left to race for (Pogacar has the yellow, white AND polka dot for himself), but it seems that Sagan has given up on the green points jersey this year – or has he? He is far behind Sam Bennett in this race, but there is still a mathematical chance. There is an intermediate sprint on the 3rd loop of the Champs, right at the top of the ‘hill’ you can see in the photo above, plus plenty of extra points to be taken in the final sprint.
I’ve ‘climbed’ the Champs, or at least a part of it, 10 years ago while cat sitting in Paris over Christmas. It was New Year’s Day and I was on a heavy Velib and probably hung over, so it really did feel like a hill. Here’s is my trusty rental, possibly in the Tuileries. The photo looks like it could have been taken during ‘confinement’ a few months ago, but it seems that it’s possible to see a quite Paris outside of a pandemic if you get up early enough on January 1st.