Tour de France ends in style
By Roger Childs
In keeping with tradition, the most famous bike race in the world ended with a number of laps on the Champs–Élysées in Paris in front of tens of thousands of cheering fans. With typical French flair and style, the wide podium had the historic Arc de Triomphe as a backdrop and the beautiful podium girls who stand with the four winners and help them put on their jerseys were immaculately dressed in the appropriate jersey colours.
Another custom that was observed was the small glass of French champagne consumed on the leisurely ride into the French capital.
There was one disappointment and that was the national anthem played for the winner. In the crowd there were a number of Welsh flags being waved and winner Geraint Thomas had one proudly draped around his shoulders. He is Welsh first and British second.
So I expected the resounding Land of Our Fathers to boom forth, but instead it was the dreary God Save the Queen.
The Welsh wizard was a worthy winner
Geraint Thomas was not expected to win the yellow jersey, his SKY team captain four time winner, Englishman Chris Froome,was.
But Thomas gained the lead with two consecutive wins in the mountains and after that, Englishman Froome rode for Thomas, not the other way round.
The French would have been pleased, even though the ultimate winner of the 21 stage event was not from France. There was a drug cloud hanging over the English rider and many thought that he should have not been allowed to compete in the gruelling 3 week, 3351 km bike race.
However there was some consolation for the French fans.
Two Frenchman win jerseys
The coveted sprinters’ green jersey was won by Slovak Peter Sagan for the sixth time. He had been controversially thrown out of the 2017 tour.
However he other two jerseys, to the delight of the crowd, were won by Frenchman:
- The polka dot King of the Mountains jersey by Julian Alaphillipe
- The white jersey for the best young rider (under 23) by Pierre Latour
All these three winners came into Paris with unassailable leads on points.
For the record, Dutchman Alexander Kristoff won the final sprint in the French capital, just.
Vive Le Tour!
There has been a pattern in recent years of having the early stages in nearby countries – England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany.
The 21 stages in 2018 were all in France starting in the Vendée. However in 2019 the start will be on Brussels the capital of Belgium.
Something to look forward to!