Mark Cavendish capped Sky’s ride over the last three weeks by winning the final stage of the Tour de France today in Paris. His win, a record fourth consecutive victory on the Champ Élysées, came thanks to his team-mate and overall winner, Bradley Wiggins.
Cavendish has won every stage in Paris since 2009. This year in Sky’s kit and the rainbow colours of world champion, he became the first World Champion to win on the Champ Élysées.
“For me, this race is everything, it’s what my whole year’s built for every year,” Cavendish explained. “It’s incredible, winning on the most beautiful avenue in the world.”
Wiggins closed the 20th stage in 53rd spot, but first overall. He threw his arms in the air as he crossed the line and looked back at his helpers, including a smiling Michael Rogers.
Wiggins, Rogers, Christian Knees, Richie Porte, Chris Froome, Bernhard Eisel and Edvald Boasson Hagen all had a hand in Cavendish’s 23rd stage win in the Tour.
Wiggins took to the front in the final 1200 metres with Boasson Hagen and Cavendish behind. He rode an individual pursuit down Rue de Rivoli and past the Tuileries Garden at such a speed that prohibited Orica-GreenEdge to pass.
Orica’s Matt Goss stuck to Cavendish’s wheel. Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), in the green points jersey, lost ground and then regained on his rivals. He overtook Goss and placed second.
Cavendish flashed four fingers as he crossed the line to mark his number of wins in sprinters’ paradise.
“It’s fantastic,” Cavendish said after Bernard Hinault congratulated him. “The Champs Élysées is the best finish in the world.”
Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) tried to crack the sprint teams today. He led an escape group, which numbered 11 riders at one point. It thinned as the kilometres and circuits around Paris clicked by. Porte, Knees and Froome saw to its end with 2.5km to race of the 120km stage from Rambouillet. Near the Fontaines de la Concorde, Voigt faded and saw Sky pass
Sky place first and second overall. Froome won the stage to La Planche des Belles Filles, Wiggins won both time trials and Cavendish three stages.
“It’s been incredible. We won six stages, first and second on GC. It’s been an incredible thing to be a part of,” Cavendish added. “Today on the Champs Élysées was the cherry on the cake.”
Wiggins accepted the final yellow jersey, his 14th of this Tour, and stepped off the podium to congratulate Cavendish on capping off the job.
“For Mark to win this way today,” Wiggins said, “it’s magnificent.”
Tour de France 2012: Latest news
Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
Stage 20: Wiggins wins 2012 Tour as Cavendish takes final stage
Stage 19: Wiggins wins time trial to claim Tour de France
Stage 18: Cavendish wins Tour stage 18 with irresistible sprint
Stage 17: Wiggins step closer to Paris as Valverde wins stage
Stage 16: Voeckler the Pyrenean king as he wins in Bagneres de Luchon
Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton
Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour
Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage
Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last
Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back
Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour
Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT
Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks
Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second
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