The Tour de France wrapped up in traditional fashion on stage 21 with a hotly contested sprint on the Champs-Élysées. A dominant Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) was the top favourite to take his fifth win of the race, but after a frantic few laps of the iconic Paris finale, it was Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jordi Meeus who emerged victorious from a four-way photo finish.
Behind the sprinters, Jonas Vingegaard took advantage of his enormous buffer to hang back with his teammates to celebrate a second consecutive Tour de France victory.
- After the traditional champagne and photoshoots on the way into Paris proper, there were plenty of the usual optimistic attacks on the Champs-Élysées, with even Tadej Pogačar getting involved. However, as is always the way, the last doomed three-man move was brought back by the remaining sprint teams with 10 km to go.
- The attacks didn’t cease in the closing kilometres, but Philipsen’s Alpecin-Deceuninck was joined by Jayco-AlUla, Lidl-Trek and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty in the fight for the line. It looked like the green jersey was on track for a fifth stage win of the Tour as Mathieu van der Poel brought Philipsen to the front, but the resultant four-way photo finish led to the coronation of a first-time stage winner as Jordi Meeus lunged for the victory on his debut Tour.
Final general classification
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 82:05.42
- Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) @ 7:29
- Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) @ 10:56
- Simon Yates (Jayco-AlUla) @ 12:23
- Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) @ 13:17
- In the absence of their top sprinter Fabio Jakobsen, Soudal Quick-Step’s riders were some of the more active in the attacks that littered the finishing laps, and with them busy punching holes in the peloton, they were not there to help control. With Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish also watching from the sidelines, it was a harder task for the remaining sprint teams to control, a fact that undoubtedly fired up those hoping for a taste of success in the eleventh hour. Even stage 8 winner Mads Pedersen put his nose in the wind at one point as strong groups made their bid for glory. All that said, the teams of the top favourites had the attackers on the leash and the favourites were not denied the ‘unofficial sprint world championships’.
- Pogačar turns 26 in September 2024, which means 2023 is the last year he’s eligible for the white jersey. Might it become more relevant in the coming years?
Quote of the day
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A combination of the public vote and the race jury awarded Victor Campenaerts the overall combativity prize for the Tour, and he didn’t let up on stage 21, putting in the first (soft) attack of the day.
Of the many riders finishing their last Tour in 2023, Peter Sagan is maybe the most successful of them.
The boys at Groupama-FDJ, notably David Gaudu, Thibaut Pinot and Marc Madiot, were hungry for Haribo this morning.
All hail Sepp Kuss! But seriously, that is some record.
A week after Romain Bardet crashed out of the Tour Hommes, he and his son paid a visit to the Tour de France Femmes, and onto the podium to congratulate Lotte Kopecky on receipt of the KOM jersey.
- Thibaut Pinot gave the world a near-perfect farewell on stage 20, and Caley Fretz captured the spirit of the Frenchman’s last hurrah.
- While the Tour de France Hommes comes to an end, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is now underway and SD Worx delivered their first of surely many stage wins of the race.
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