Race report

Full-gas and hectic sprint finish in Paris

Tour de France

Photo Credit: Cor Vos

The final day of racing at the Tour de France saw the peloton take on 108 kilometres, ending on the traditional finish of the Champs-Élysées. As is the case, the opening kilometres saw a processional opening to the day, with teams enjoying the formalities of the stage, before the racing began in earnest once they hit the cobbled streets of Paris.

A flurry of attacks saw a large group get a few seconds of an advantage, but they were soon brought back. A counter attack then went over the top, with Casper Pedersen covering the move well for the team, before returning to the bunch. The pace stayed high as the laps and kilometres ticked by, with more attacks made at the head of the race. Rallying behind designated sprinter Cees Bol, Mark Donovan came to the front of the bunch and starting to set tempo alongside the other sprint teams, holding the gap to the leading trio steady at 20 seconds as the race headed into the final 15 kilometres.

The pace increased even more as the bunch caught those ahead, charging onto the final lap. The team came forward well as a unit at around three kilometres to go but found themselves blocked at the side of the road, losing their position in the hectic finale. Coming onto the finish straight, Nils Eekhoff pulled as hard as he could do to bring Bol forward, but they weren’t able to make up the ground and compete for a result on the stage.

“We were in a good position quite early but maybe a bit too early,” explained Bol at the finish. “We then lost each other a little on the run in. I also have to be honest that I just didn’t have the legs to do better coming from the back. We have another learning experience that we can take with us, and we know we can do better in the future. We tried our best and we fought for it each day here. We were close a couple of times but just couldn’t get that top result in the end.”

Team DSM coach Luke Roberts added: “Obviously today was quite an aggressive race and with quite a few sprinters out of the race, it wasn’t a certainty that it would come down to a bunch sprint finish. We still wanted to go for the opportunity with Cees. The guys did a good job coming onto the laps here where it kicked off, covering some moves and making sure the race came under control. We sat together towards the front, ready for the final. At one moment after a corner we had a small mishap and we lost each a bit. From there, we were struggling to get back into it to go for a result. It was nice to see how the guys fought there going into the final, but of course it’s a bit disappointing for us all how it ended up in the finish.”

Speaking on the race as a whole Roberts continued: “Overall, this Tour we had struggles throughout the race. Directly from the beginning we were involved in crashes, losing Tiesj, Søren and Jasha who are strong guys for those intermediate stages, which already put us on the back foot. The other guys were affected by the big crashes as well. Each time we seemed to gather ourselves and looked to move forward then came another setback with another crash. In the end, it is tough for the guys to keep fighting back but they did what they could. We tried it, we kept our focus and tried to stay motivated on what we could do. Unfortunately, the results in the end couldn’t show for it but the guys did what they could together and fought to the end.

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VAN AERT Wout Team Jumbo-Visma 2:39:37 120
2 PHILIPSEN Jasper Alpecin-Fenix ,, 50
3 CAVENDISH Mark Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 25
21 BOL Cees Team DSM ,, -
25 EEKHOFF Nils Team DSM ,, -
102 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team DSM 0:39 -
104 PEDERSEN Casper Team DSM ,, -
132 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM 2:48 -