Stage 21 :: Sunday July 26, 2009
164km :: Montereau-Fault-Yonne - Paris Champs-Élysées
The large majority of us know this route by now like the back of our hands. A piano parade through the surrounding towns and cities of Paris, until around St-Maurice, when things start to organize. Then the plunge along the Seine, until the hard right hand turn and they are on the circuit, speeding up each time, flying past the statue of Jean d'Arc at massive velocity, barreling up the Champs-Élysées to a wicked hairpin, flipping around, and accelerating again down the back straight to run the circuit all over again.
Steegmans, Beautiful Benna, Hushovd, Vinokourov, Boonen, those are the last five men to have siezed victory on the World's Most Beautiful Avenue. Is there any doubt as to who the likely favorite is tomorrow?
My regular shamless cribbing of Gavia's hard work is interrupted today (as you read this, I'm about 40' under water), so I'll merely direct you to what is most likely a magnificent preview of Stage 21 over at Steephill.tv.
Rather than post up a bunch of poor satellite screen captures of Paris, I'll just embed in the video I put together last year for Steegman's win and Sastre's awesome ride into yellow up Alpe d'Huez. Enjoy everyone! It's been a pleasure putting these together for you.