A guide to the Tour de France
Stage 21 of the Tour de France 2018 takes those riders who have survived the previous 20 days to the French capital. The traditional final stage is a load of nonsense and messing around really, until it hits the circuit between the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. From that point, the race winds up towards the sprint up the Champs-Elysées which ends the Tour. Read about Stage 21 of the Tour de France 2018 here.
Perseverance paid off as Alexander Kristoff got a deserved stage win. Geraint Thomas confirmed his overall win in the Tour de France 2018. These are the video highlights of Stage 21:
|Intermediate sprint||Top of Champs-Elysées after 3rd time over finish line|
This is the official map of Stage 21.
The official Tour de France stage profile for Stage 20:
Profile of Stage 21, Tour de France 2018, © ASO/Tour de France
Sunday 29th July 2018. Timings to follow. The final stage has set off around 4.40pm in recent years, for an evening finish.
Mark Cavendish looks forward to the Tour de France for the BBC, and names his 'one to watch' - his prediction for the stage win.
'This is easy, easy, easy. It's time for photographs and celebrations before you hit the Champs-Elysées, where you get the best sensations ever in cycling when you roll onto the place de la Concorde and up the Champs-Elysées for the first time. The crowds are incredible. It gives me goosebumps, not just because everybody who reaches Paris is finishing the Tour de France.
This year's route seems to be the hardest I've seen in my career.
The Champs-Elysées is the hardest sprint to get right. It's slightly uphill, it's on cobbles, and the finish line comes at a distance from the final corner that if you go from the corner, you're going too far out. If you leave it too long, someone will get the jump on you. Time it right and pick the right spot on the road - because it's peppered with potholes - and you'll win the holy grail of sprints.'
His one to watch? He doesn't give a name. It sounds as though he had a suspicion that he wouldn't be present, but he may not have realised that most of the other top sprinters would also be missing.
The stage starts in Houilles, an unremarkable suburb to the north west of Paris.
Stage 21 does an anti-clcokwise loop to the west of Paris. It passes the well-to-do suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
The route passes via Poissy, Feucherolles, Chavenay, Villepreux, Noisy-le-Roi, Bailly, and Garches/Saint-Cloud, before crossing the river Seine on the pont de Suresnes to reach the Bois de Boulogne.
The riders cross the Périphérique at Porte Maillot, and head towards the Arc de Triomphe on avenue de la Grande Armée. They skirt the Arc de Triomphe, and take avenue Marceau and avenue Montaigne to join the Champs-Elysées at the junction with avenue Matignon. They are now on the finishing circuit.
The finish of the stage is based on a circuit which includes the Champs-Elysées.
On joining the Champs-Elysées, the race heads down to place de la Concorde.
From there, it continues alongside the river Seine on Quai des Tuileries. There's a left turn to go under the tunnel at the far end of the Jardin des Tuileries, near the Musée du Louvre.
Tour de France riders turn left onto the rue de Rivoli, by John Phillipo, Licence CC BY-SA 2.0
When the riders emerge from the tunnel, they turn left on the rue de Rivoli, which runs up the north side of the Jardin des Tuileries. It brings them back to place de la Concorde; they then continue up the Champs-Elysées, over the finish line (level with the park containing the Thêatre Marigny) to the Arc de Triomphe.
The peloton goes around the Arc de Triomphe, and comes back down the Champs-Elysées, to do more laps of the circuit.
There's an intermediate sprint on the way up the Champs-Elysées for the third time. The intermediate sprint point is a few hundred metres beyond the finish line, at the junction with rue de Berri.
There are eight complete circuits, and the race ends on the ninth time across the finish line. Usually, there are doomed attempts at solo or group escapes, but the stage comes down to a bunch sprint.
The favourites for the stage win include all the top sprinters who are left in the Tour on the final day. Mark Cavendish has a good record in Paris, and Greipel is a past winner. Dylan Groenewegen won in 2017, and perhaps he will do it again.
Update: all of the sprinters I mentioned are out, and Peter Sagan hurt himself in a fall on Stage 17. Of those who are left, I'll go for Sonny Colbrelli.
The 2019 Tour de France starts in Brussels, Belgium.
Houilles is in the Yvelines département, to the north west of the centre of Paris. Inhabitants are called Ovillois.
Houilles is only 10 minutes by train to Paris, and 6 minutes on the RER to La Défense. Houilles is on land within a bend in the river Seine, called the presqu'île du Pecq.
Houilles was a rural village until the 1800s. With the arrival of the railway in 1841, it began to grow, and to be absorbed by Paris.
During World War II, a pre-existing aeronautics factory was requisitioned by the German navy to make torpedos and V2 rockets.
The St Nicholas church in Houilles dates from the C19th. Victor Schoelcher, a writer and politician in the 1800s who worked for the abolition of slavery, died in Houilles in 1893. The local authority now owns the house where he died, and the street where it stands is named after Schoelcher.
Saint-Germain-en-Laye is in the Yvelines département.
It was founded as a convent in 1020. The château was built in 1348 by King Charles V, and Louis XIV was born there. King James II of England & VII of Scotland lived there, after his exile in 1688.
The large forest of Saint-Germain-en-Laye is to the north of the town.
The Bois de Boulogne is a large public park and wood in the 16th Arrondissement of Paris.
It is a remnant of the ancient oak forest of Rouvray, which covered a huge area, and was used by French kings to hunt bears, deer, wild boar, and other game.
It was the idea of Napoléon III to turn it into a public park. He was inspired by Hyde Park, which he had seen while in exile in London. After he became Emporer in 1852, he decided to create two public parks - the Bois de Boulogne in the west, and the Bois de Vincennes in the east. It was part of his rearrangement of Paris, carried out by Baron Haussmann, which also included the creation of wide avenues and boulevards, and the building of a new water and sewage system.
Napoléon III wanted there to be streams and lakes in the Bois de Boulogne, as in Hyde Park.
The Bois de Boulogne features two lakes - the Lac Supérieur and the Lac Inférieur - with a waterfall called la Grande Cascade in between. Also in the Bois de Boulogne, there's a miniature chateau, the Chateau de Bagatelle, which has an English landscape garden, and there's a zoo and amusement park call the Jardin d'Acclimation. The Jardin de Serres d'Auteuil is a complex of greenhouses, and the Pré-Catalan is a botanical garden containing a Shakespeare garden (with all the trees, bushes, and flowers mentioned in his plays).
Sports venues in the Bois de Boulogne include the Hippodrome de Longchamp, and Roland Garros.
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