The moment that will resonate with me from this TdF is the moment Mark Cavendish ripped away from the rest on the Champs-Élysées and won the final “sprint” duel by 30 metres. The Tour has been an odd mix of anti-climax and entertainment this year, with massive egos (Armstrong and Contador) that make you shake your head, and filial strategy (Schleck and Schleck) that makes you marvel at the unique bond of brothers, but for me, in the end, it all came down to the sprints.
George Hincapie showed himself to be the super domestique that he truly is, delivered the final stretch to Australian Mark Renshaw, and Renshaw gave the Isle of Man’s Mark Cavendish the slingshot he needed to unleash one of the most thorough thrashings of a field of sprinters I’ve seen in recent memory. That was unexpected. Finally, in a slightly over-managed Tour, we had a moment of genuine electricity.
Mark Cavendish sprints to victory on Champs-Élysées
Sunday 26 July 2009 16.51 BST
Photograph: Pascal Pavani/AFP/Getty Images
Mark Cavendish won the final stage of the Tour de France with another magnificent sprint, beating his nearest rival by over 30 metres at the famous finish on the Champs Elysées in Paris.
It takes his stage wins for this year’s Tour to six and his tally overall to 10. Last week he had eclipsed Barry Hoban’s record for a British rider of eight and it is only the 24-year-old’s second Tour.
UPDATE: Hesjedal was 35th on the Mont Ventoux stage today, finishing in 4’45″06. That was 5:45 seconds behind stage winner Juan Manuel Garate of Spain. He’s currently in 49th overall at 82:59:58, which is 1:13:41 behind Contador (81:46:17). By the end of tomorrow’s stage on the Champs-Élysées he will have covered a total distance of 3435 km.
Ryder Hesjedal – Tour de France 2009, stage 20, originally uploaded by Garmin Slipstream Pro Cycling Team.
Photo courtesy of Garmin Slipstream.
Victoria’s Hesjedal gearing up for Tour’s end
Cleve Dheensaw, Canwest News Service
Published: Saturday, July 25, 2009
VICTORIA — After nearly 88 hours of pedalling, 3,500 hard kilometres under a relentless sun and three crashes, Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria will ride down Paris’s famed Champs-Elysees on Sunday to end his second Tour de France.
“It’s hard to put into words, but coming down the Champs is the magic moment every cyclist dreams of,” Hesjedal said Saturday from France.
“The Champs will be crazy with all the people and atmosphere. It’s a truly significant moment in the career of any cyclist and I’m looking forward to it.”
Until last year’s race, no Canadian cyclist had experienced that rush for more than a decade.
“It will be hard to beat the memory of the first time I did it (2008),” said two-time Olympian, only the fourth Canadian ever to ride in the Tour.
“Nothing compares with the first time. But returning to do it again for the second time is hugely satisfying on a whole different level. I’ve shown I belong in this race at this level.”