2010 Tour de France – Stage 20 Wrap-Up

Admit it—you’re bit sad.

The greatest Tour in over a decade wrapped-up today with it’s usual high-speed promenade around the Champs-Elysées, bringing to a close the 5th-closest Tour de France in the event’s 100-plus year history.

Mark Cavendish took the day’s honors—his 5th win of this year’s event—and in doing so brought himself tantalizingly close to securing his first green jersey.  Unfortunately for the young Manxman, Alessandro Petacchi—an Italian needing only to finish better than sixth should Cavendish win—ended the day second, winning Italy it’s first green jersey since Franco Bitossi in 1968.

The day started with a bit of drama as Team Radio Shack hoped to take the line wearing special jerseys to honor the more than 28-million cancer survivors worldwide.  Unfortunately, it was not to be as the UCI swooped-in to remind the team that changing uniforms mid-race was a no-no—they either had to change their maillots or face disqualification.  What ensued—before the race even left it’s neutral zone—was a circus of jersey swapping and number pinning, delaying the day’s official start for what seemed to be over 30-minutes.  It makes you wonder why The Shack went to so much trouble in the first place without at least asking the UCI if the gesture would be allowed.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed though, and Radio Shack contented itself with wearing the all-black kit on the podium while receiving its prize as best team.

On the podium, you could sense to relief on Alberto Contador’s face as he was handed the trophy for his third and most hard-fought victory in the Tour de France.  With Andy Schleck looking on and wondering what might have been, Contador admitted during his short address how difficult the race was to claim.

One has to wonder how both champions would have done things differently in a Tour that has the weird feeling of ended in a draw.  At the close of the day, the real winners are the fans, for we get to see this exciting rivalry rekindled again in 11-months time.

Thanks for your reading and commenting over the last 3 weeks.  Feel free to share your final thoughts below—and look for more wrap-up commentary to follow in the week ahead.

Merci beaucoup!

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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20 Responses to 2010 Tour de France – Stage 20 Wrap-Up

  1. Bramhall says:


  2. Mike says:

    Cavendish won 5 stages, not four; and Petacchi needed 7th or better to hold on to green.

  3. Touriste-Routier says:

    Why did Team Radio Shack do it? Because they got more publicity for the “controversy” than they would have received if it went un-noted. Shame on the media for playing into it. Shame on Team Radio Shack for pulling such a stunt; it is not like they don’t know the rules…

    And Lance got to outshine AC on his day for a brief time once again.

    • Whit says:

      If true, T-R, it’s a shame that the people caught in the center are people really deserving of our support and awareness.


  4. Nick says:

    “an Italian needing only to finish better than third should Cavendish win”


    Petacchi beat Cavendish by 11 points. Petacchi earned 30 points today with his second. 30 points minus 11 points is 19 points. 19 points are awarded by 7th.

    So Petacchi needed to finish 6th or better. 7th would have a tie in points and Cavendish would therefore win because of a greater number of stage wins.

  5. Steve O says:

    Seems everyone either loved or hated this Tour. The disapproval centers on the lack of attacks from the GC favorites. But to me, there is a certain beauty in watching such evenly matched opponents. And if the GC race wasn’t your thing, there were so many other stories worthy of 3 weeks’ worth of undivided attention. Cheers!

  6. Richard says:

    And it was his 5th stage win this Tour…

  7. mike says:

    this is only my 2nd tour, but I think it will go down as one of my favorites. very enjoyable and already has me looking forward to next july.

    • Whit says:

      Allow me to apologize for my poor fact-checking, folks! I’ll amend the original text.

      Yes, it was indeed Cavendish’s 5th stage win. As for Petacchi, I reversed the scenarios. According to my sources, he needed to finish third or better if Thor won, and 6th or better if Cavendish won–so he was covered either way.

      Most humble apologies for the oversights–it’s been a long 3 weeks, I guess.

      As always, thanks for your careful and thoughtful commentary!

      • Whit says:

        Ugh, have to say it again: sorry for the errors in the original post–that’s just not like me. Honest apologies all around.


  8. Hank says:

    I’m even more impressed by Contador’s win this year then last. He has said he has had trouble with his form this year and his form was better last Tour. The TT was the hardest day of his career.

    Yet he still had a stellar season and won the Tour. No coulda, woulda, shoulda. He finds a way, no matter what the challenge. That’s a great champion.

  9. Jeff says:

    Whit, thanks for your work (along with Joe) on the Bicycling live blog. Lots of fun, added a depth and dimension to the race… well done you guys. Hope you do it again.

  10. thelastbard says:

    Although one of the better on-the-road battles in recent TdF history, I still think it pales in comparison to the Giro this year. I’ve not been glued to a screen like I was for the Giro in quite some time.

    Thanks for the wrap up and analysis – can’t wait for the Vuelta!

  11. For me, the 2003 race was hands down the best Tour in the past decade. More drama, a bigger cast of characters vying for yellow.

  12. Kloden says:

    Whit and Joe were great during the live blogs. It presented a new way to experience the Tour. I really appreciate it. I am off to Afghan until next June. By the time I return, I will be ready for the next Tour. Thanks again Whit.

    • Whit says:

      Thanks Klodi! And on behalf of all of us here, good luck. Feel free to drop me a line for personalized updates while you’re away…


  13. Mark says:

    Whit … thank you for the posts. Really enjoyed your take on the Tour … The Live blog was also (unexpectantly) very enjoyable as well. Mark

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