Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeDiariesLe Tour de France 2007 - Day 10: Stage 20, Marcoussis -...

Le Tour de France 2007 – Day 10: Stage 20, Marcoussis – Paris Champs-Élysées


It was gone 2.00 am when we got to bed, but the alarm blasted at 5.45 am – we had to meet the mechanic from Vélo Sport Vacations at 06.00 am. He was right on time and it was only a couple of minutes after six when we pedalled-off on our borrowed Felts to ride the finishing circuit around the Champs-Élysées. Today is the last stage of the Le Tour de France 2007.

It’s the first time I’ve ridden an all carbon bike and it felt very lively, James McCallum rode a Felt last year. The city was buzzing, taxis dropped-off and picked-up those who had decided against sleeping on Saturday night.

Le Tour de France 2007
It’s 6.00am, and these girls have been out all night.

We took some pics of guys and girls – the girls looking good, the guys maybe not so good.

The riggers were already hard at work, the Tour involves constructing, then breaking-down a hi-tech village every day for three weeks.

It was good being there, out on the circuit, stopping-off to take pics and notes.

Le Tour de France 2007
We ride the Felts around the Champs and write a review of them. Photo©Martin Williamson

Despite the cobbles and drag up to the Arc de Triomphe, it’s a fast circuit.

The stretch along the Seine is super-quiick, fast tar and a tail wind.

We had an invite from the guys at Velo Sport Vacations to watch the race from one of the balcony’s of the Hotel de Crillon, overlooking the Place de la Concorde.

Very elegant and exclusive, a free glass of champers when the race appeared on the Place and big screens in the salon.

Le Tour de France 2007
We sneek a peak into the VIP dining next to the finish line. Photo©Ed Hood

Call me a blether, but the Tour isn’t about exclusivity and keeping the peasants out – it’s about sharing your cheese and wine with people you’ve never met in your life before, beside some stretch of road in la France Profonde – real France.

It wasn’t long before we bailed-out and headed for the barriers – totally unexclusive, but real.

Le Tour de France 2007
It’s all yellow today. Photo©Martin Williamson

First though, we had an omelette for lunch, on the Rue de Rivoli, it was extortionate but what’s better than watching the Tour caravan go past whilst sitting in the shadow of the Ferris wheel?

The crowds were huge, every inch of the route was lined.

We walked “against” the race along the side of the Seine and back to the finish.

For the first couple of laps it wasn’t mega-quick, but the finale was very fast.

Le Tour de France 2007
These legs have taken a pummeling over the last three weeks, but there’s only two laps of the Champs to go. Photo©Martin Williamson

Geraint Thomas did a good job for Hunter, but you could tell that Bennati had told his Lampre boys; “get me there boys, and I’ll win it for us.”

His team worked themselves to death, some of them slumped over the bars, freewheeling-in after the sprint, completely wasted. Lampre would enjoy their post-Tour party, for sure.

Boonen and QuickStep just weren’t organised, maybe they were all tired? But Tom looked happy and relieved as he tugged-on the final green jersey. He’s a very popular rider and was cheered as loudly as Contador.

The laps of honour were good fun; each team rides up the Champs Elysees and back down, brandishing flags, waving, and larking around – relieved and happy to be in Paris.

Boonen didn’t forget his loyal Flemish fans: he stopped and ambled over to the fence for a hundred handshakes.

Lampre were full of joy.

Barloworld flew the Union Jack, Colombian and Republic of South Africa flags from the bike rack; and Geraint was patently in awe.

Euskaltel flew the Basque flag – all great stuff. Another marvellous experience for us to put in our catalogue of life. We met the best of folks, the riders we spent time with were cool to a man, the scenery was amazing, and we laughed a lot.

But, a great Tour? How could it be? Four major drug scandals – Sinkewitz, Vino, Moreni, and Rasmussen; plus a thunderstorm always in the air around the winner.

A great ten days of our lives, but a poor, poor Tour. We tried hard to take you with us, and hope you enjoyed at least some of our words and pictures.

Until the next race; “ciao, ciao.”

PostScript: we got a text message as we got off the plane at Prestwick: “Mayo positive”.

Ed Hood and Martin Williamson
Ed and Martin, our top team! They try to do the local Time Trials, the Grand Tours and the Classics together to get the great stories written, the quality photos taken, the driving done and the wifi wrestled with.

Related Articles

Le Tour de France 2009 – Stage 2: Monaco > Brignoles, 187km

Mark Cavendish blasted to his first victory of the Tour today at Brignoles, a victory that also places him in the green jersey as the leader of the race's points classification, for the first time in his career.

The Final Efforts: Stage 18 (bunchie)

The Final Efforts. We’re on the downhill slope for this race now, and the fatigue is starting to show. It’s getting tougher and tougher to chisel our heads off the pillow each morning, and the coffees are having smaller and smaller effects.

Sagan Saga – Reader’s Rant

It was Public Image Ltd. who sang; ‘Two Sides To Every Story’ and whilst VeloVeritas and many of our regular readers feel that the Manx Missile committed ‘Cavicide’ by going for a gap which wasn’t there in the ‘Sagan Saga’ where the Slovak was alleged to have deliberately decked Cavendish and was consequently turfed off the race, not everyone shares our view.

Le Tour de France 2017 – Stage 21: Montgeron – Paris Champs-Élysées, 103km. Dylan Groenewegen strikes early

Former Dutch Champion, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL) struck out early on Stage 21 and held on for his seventh win of the season after stage wins in Dubai, Yorkshire, two in Norway and two in the Ster ZLM Tour. He’s had two sixth places, a fifth, a third and a second in this Tour but with that big hurdle called Kittel out of the way, this one belonged to him.

Hump Day & Humdrum: TdF Stage 11 (bunchie)

Hump Day & Humdrum. As the physio on team Garmin-Transitions, all I can say is this is a dangerous sport. All things considered, 3rd place for Tyler yesterday was a fantastic effort by the whole team, with Dave Zabriskie helping to control the break for most of the day.

Back to Bunchies (Preview: TDF 2012 Stage 13)

Back to Bunchies - we’ve had a full week since the mad dog sprinters have had a chance to shine, and I would be astonished if we had to wait another day to see them all go head to head for the win.

At Random

The VV View: Wiggo’s Fairytale Finish, NeoPros and Retirals

It wasn't just Vik and I who thought the Gent Six Day finale was a tad too obvious to be true - "a Fairtytale" Cycling Weekly said, they got that right - we've had feedback from two men who were there. Our man who lives in Gent said; "It was without a doubt the most historic Gent Six I've attended and I don't think we'll see another in our lifetime ( I did say 10 years ago or so that there will never be a British winner of the Tour - what do I know). It was however the most blatantly fixed Six Day I've seen."

Tri Changing Gear CC 16ml Hilly TT 2007. Jonathan Copp Prevails

The result of the Tri Changing Gear CC 16ml Hilly TT. An excellent ride by Jonathan Copp to take this race, with Carlos a little unfortunate having punctured just before the start and ending up riding on someone's borrowed "winter bike" rear wheel.

James Spragg – “this year has just been so much hassle”

It was back in April when we last spoke to ‘Our Man in Oudenaarde,’ we said; ‘It seems as if English pro James Spragg’s luck has finally turned.’

Dimitri De Fauw

It's easy to write an obituary when one of your heroes dies - probably more so if you don't know them well. There's just the legend, palmares, anecdotes and the sadness. But I knew Dimitri De Fauw, not well, but I worked at maybe half-a-dozen Six Day races where he was riding.

David Griffiths – Scottish Hill Climb Champion 2017

Pro Vision’s David Griffiths successfully defended his Scottish Hill Climb Championship on the tough Stow climb recently – VeloVeritas caught up with the bearded winner not long after his success to ‘have a word.’

Jack Carlin – Silver in the Commonwealth Games Sprint

Another sprint silver medal for Scottish track star, Jack Carlin. The man is making a habit of it. In the Worlds it was to big Australian power house Matt Glaetzer; this time, at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, it was to crafty Kiwi Sam Webster.