Hushovd Wins on Champs-Elysees; Landis Wins Overall
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole), who won the 2006 Tour?s prologue, has won its final stage. Norway?s thunder god burst past Robbie McEwen (Davitamon) to win the 154.5-km run from Sceaux/Antony to the Champs-Elysees in 3:56:52. Stuart O?Grady (CSC) took third, and Floyd Landis (Phonak) crossed the finish line moments later to claim overall victory.
As is always the case, the final stage of the Tour begins at a pedestrian pace and is a procession for the winner. Landis slipped a glass of champagne, and he enjoyed the adulation of fans and competitors. The other jersey winners?McEwen (green), Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank, polka dot), and Damiano Cunego (Lampre, white)?went to the front to receive homage as well. The oldest competitor in the race, 40-year-old Vyatcheslav Ekimov (Discovery Channel), was invited to the front to receive affection and to say farewell. The Russian warrior will retire after the season and will become a team manager for the American squad. Ekimov will retire with 15 Tour finishes, one short of Dutchman Joop Zoetemelk?s record.
When the race reached the Champs Elysees, Phonak formed a paceline for Landis. The crowd roared, and then the hostilities began. After a series of abortive sallies, Mikel Astarloa (Ag2r), Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Jens Voigt (CSC), Johan Vansummeren and Chris Horner (both from Davitamon), Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery Channel), Anthony Charteau (Credit Agricole), Christian Knees (Milram), Moises Duenas (Agritubel), Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom), Christophe Mengin and Philippe Gilbert (both from Francaise des Jeux), Jose Garcia Acosta and Nicolas Portal (both from Caisse d?Epargne), David Millar (Saunier Duval), and Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel) escaped. The Davitamon and Credit Agricole riders were policing the break for McEwen and Hushovd, respectively, so cooperation was less than ideal. Cofidis and Liquigas chased the break, which never led by more than 0:40, and caught it with 13 km left.
Credit Agricole and Davitamon led the field to the finish. With 250 m left, Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner) led McEwen and Hushovd. With 150 m remaining, the Australian made his move, but the Norwegian had his wheel. With 100 m left, Hushovd powered past the green jersey winner.
In the overall, Landis beat Pereiro by 0:57 and Kloden by 1:29. Landis will receive hip replacement surgery, and his season has probably ended. Pereiro, Kloden, and the other Tour riders will have other races, however. To learn how these riders fare, check in at www.roadcycling.com!