A guide to the Tour de France
Geraint Thomas said of the Tour de France, 'the dream was always just to be part of it.'
He is a popular and worthy winner of the race.
Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome, second and third overall, were both graceful in defeat; not only that, they seemed happy with their performances and with the result.
Alexander Kristoff beat John Degenkolb and Arnaud Démare in the sprint on the Champs-Elysées. Degenkolb and Démare already had stage wins in this year's Tour, so it was appropriate that Kristoff, who didn't, won. I know, it doesn't work like that, except on this occasion, it did. Kristoff was super-happy.
Even in a Tour de France that was excellent in many ways, there is always room for improvement. While a ratio of one super-happy per three stages may be regarded as adequate, in a race featuring Roubaix and Alpe d'Huez, the iconics total is lower than might have been expected before the race began.
Correct predictions of stage winners on this website: 3 out of 21.
Stage 21 of the Tour de France 2018 is the traditional final stage to the Champs-Elysées in Paris. This year, it starts in Houilles, and heads into Paris via the Bois de Boulogne.
Read about Stage 21 of the 2018 Tour de France.
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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