Tour de France 2013 stage 21 | Versailles – Paris - 118km
Event: 21 July 2013
Report: Luke Webber
Image: PA Images
Chris Froome became the second consecutive British winner of the Tour de France, while Mark Cavendish was denied his fifth stage victory on the final stage of the world's biggest annual sporting event.
One year on from selflessly supporting and finishing second to Sir Bradley Wiggins, Froome had the freedom of the mountains in the 2013 edition and came into the processional final stage with a lead of four minutes 20 seconds.
Froome also built his advantage alone in two crucial time trials, winning the second test.
After a nervous start on June 29, as Froome narrowly avoided crashing in a huge pile-up on the opening stage on the isle of Corsica, a relatively stress free week followed before his first exhibition on Ax 3 Domaines.
His performance - and indeed the performance of Team Sky - resulted in Froome taking yellow and teammate Richie Porte placing second.
And it was Porte, who supported Froome through every attack, who Froome forced to lead onto the Champs Elysees. The yellow jersey himself paid tribute to the seven riders who finished alongside him by riding as the lantern rouge of the team.
That team included Geraint Thomas who fractured his pelvis in the crash on the opening stage, but recovered to valiantly perform his role of leading the team through the first mountains of each climbing stage, alongside Ian Stannard and Pete Kennaugh.
Froome's first grand tour victory however is just the start of his previously stated ambition of winning multiple tours, with the countdown to 2014 and beyond already on.
That ambition was also matched by one to champion clean cycling, as Froome detailed after the race.
"In a way I’m glad that I’ve had to face those questions (of doping) after all the revelations. All that had been channelled to me now and hopefully that’s sent a strong message. The peloton is standing together now."
HOW THE STAGE UNFOLDED
Following the inevitable celebratory champagne, victory lap for Chris Froome and early breakaways, racing could commence on the final lap of the centre of Paris.
Lead by Geraint Thomas, the sprint trains soon took over and after some infighting the Omega Pharma Quickstep team of Mark Cavendish took charge.
However in the final corners, Cavendish ran out of teammates and was forced to rely on chance in the final 500 metres. Such wishes on the most desirable grand tour stage for sprinters, against the best sprinters in the world, were always going to need a slice of luck and this time it was not to be.
As Marcel Kittel crossed the line first, Cavendish hit a bump in the road allowing Andre Greipel to take second.
Final General Classification
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 83:56:40
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:04:20
3 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:05:04
4 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:06:27
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:07:27
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:11:42
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:12:17
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:15:26
9 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:15:52
10 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:17:39
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 3:06:14
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
3 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling
5 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
7 Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar
8 Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar
9 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
10 Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJ.fr