Stage 21: Étampes - Paris Champs-Élysées
Monday, June 9, 2008 11.00pm
Champs Élysées plays host to the Tour peloton
Finally, the last stage is here and the Tour has reached Paris.
For many in the peloton this is a victory in itself, but many others have designs on a stage win on the most famous boulevard in the world. It's very likely that a breakaway will try to get away and win the day – everybody wants to be the first man on the Champs Élysées – but it's almost inevitable that they will be reeled in by the sprinters teams and one of the fast men will triumph.
The Champs Élysées is a much more complicated sprint than many other places though. Aside from the cobbles, the course crosses the Place de la Concorde with less than half a kilometre to go and the resulting chicane serves to disrupt a sprinter's train. The winner is usually one of the best sprinters, but rarely the one whose team has led him out.
Étampes is yet another first time stage town, but Paris of course has hosted all 95 of them. Before the course reaches the capital though, there are two fourth category climbs to negotiate – unusual for the final day – which could decide a close polka dot jersey classification.