Saturday, 24 July 2010

Stage 20 Preview: The Final Countdown

Longjumeau, a first time stage host, couldn’t resist the call of the Tour. The Tour has a lot in common with Essonne: the 1903 inaugural edition started here and twelve of the towns in this county have been visited by the Tour since the post-war revival edition of 1947. Located less than 20 km away from Paris, two centuries ago it was the last staging post before the capital. Like a last transition between the town and country, Longjumeau is surrounded by fields and crops, making it a breath of fresh air only a few kilometres outside Paris.

For the last 35 years one of the most beautiful avenues in the world has hosted the Tour's grand finale. Walter Godefroot was the first to win on the Champs, since followed by all of cycling’s greatest sprinters, and some phenomenal hard-hitters. Indeed, only a hard-hitter like Bernard Hinault could prevent the final home stretch from being a sprint finish.

Last year Mark Cavendish became the first British rider to win on the famous avenue. This year he is looking to take a record breaking second consecutive win on the finale stage. With Petachhi and the Green Jersey 16 points ahead, the Italian will be looking to secure a top 6 placing to remain in the lead of the points competition. But with Garmin and Sky both looking to get in on the action, the Lampre train may find their leader left wanting as Cavendish takes the stage and the lead in the points to snatch the Jersey he originally came here for.

1 comment :

  1. It'll be interesting to see if Cav goes for the intermediate sprints tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it.