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.