Britons David Millar (Saunier Duval), Charly Wegelius (Liquigas) and Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) were amongst the 141 riders who made it to Paris and finished the Tour. This year?s race will be remembered for all the wrong reasons but the three can be satisfied with their performance.
Wegelius will go into the record books as best British finisher in 45th place, 1-46-25 behind Alberto Contador, with Millar 69th at 2-32-07 and Thomas almost lantern rouge, 140th at 3-46-51.
For all three the race has been a race of survival for different reasons.
Millar tried hard to win a stage several times and came closest on stage 17 to Castelsarrasin on Thursday when he got in the break of the day. He was dropped on a late climb but finished a defiant fifth. He then focused on the final time trial but when his rear disk wheel collapsed twice within 500 metres of the start, he saved himself for Paris and came up with a surprise eighth in the final sprint on the Champs Elysees.
Millar is set to announce that he will ride for Jonathan Vaughter?s Slipstream team after the Tour de France. In an interview in a French newspaper he predicted the team would ?Lift people?s spirits and make people them again.?
THOMAS: ?I FOUGHT EVERY DAY AND MADE IT TO PARIS?
Geraint Thomas was the youngest rider to start the Tour de France and finished it thanks to determination, talent and self-control. He struggled on some of the big mountains but always fought to catch the peloton and finish in the gruppetto. He was a key part of the Barloworld team, helping Robert Hunter in the sprints and even working hard chasing the break on the Champs Elysees.
?When I started the Tour I never really thought about finishing but after I got through the Alps I just kept going,? he told Cycling Weekly.
?The heat across the south of France was tough to handle and I was dropped on some of the mountains in the Pyrenees but I fought every day and made it to Paris.?
Thomas revealed he will enjoy a few beers as he recovers from his efforts but is already thinking how he can use his Tour form in the second half of the season and in the world championships in Stuttgart.
WEGELIUS PROUD OF GIRO-TOUR DOUBLE
Charly Wegelius was riding his second major stage race of the season after working his legs off for Danilo Di Luca in the Giro d?Italia but made it through his first ever Tour de France with impressive ease.
Wegelius was 25th on the tough last mountain stage to the summit of the Col d?Aubisque
?I?ve done my job again and that?s the most pleasing thing for me. It?s really satisfying having finished the Tour. Starting in London was special but so was coming into Paris and seeing the Eiffel. It really is great to see after three weeks of suffering.?
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