Carlos Sastre (CSC) became the seventh Spaniard to win the Tour de France, finishing safely in the peloton at the end of the final stage to Paris.
33 year-old Sastre hugged and touched helmets with CSC team mates Stuart O’Grady, Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck and then celebrated with his family before pulling on the final yellow jersey with his son and daughter on the winner’s podium. It was the sixth time he has finished in the top ten at the Tour de France but the first time he has climbed on the podium in Paris. He was officially third in 2006, but finished the race fourth behind Floyd Landis, who later tested positive.
“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve dreamt about winning the Tour de France. Ever since I won my first race I’d hoped I could go on to win other major stage races. I had to fight for it and gain experience but now I’ve done it,” Sastre said.
Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) won the sprint in the Champs Elysees, always the blue riband stage for the fastmen. Steegmans got a perfect lead out from his Quick Step team mates and then accelerated to the line to give the team and Belgium their first stage win in the 2008 Tour de France.
Gerald Ciolek (Columbia) was second, followed by Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Robbie McEwen (Silence), Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) and Julian Dean (Garmin).
Sastre finished 14 seconds behind Steegmans and seven seconds behind Evans, meaning the Australian finished 58 seconds behind Sastre, with Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner) third at 1-13.
CHAMPS ELYSEES ACTION
As is tradition, the last stage was a promenade stage with Sastre and CSC celebrated with the traditional glass of champagne in the opening kilometres. All the CSC riders all had yellow handlebar tape and posed on the front of the bunch before also toasting Sastre’s victory with champagne.
CSC lead the peloton onto the Champs Elysees and then the attacks began on the cobbles up and down the most spectacular Avenue in Paris.
Stephane Auge (Cofidis) was the first to have a dig just before the turn near the Arc du Triomphe and then others followed. Time trial winner Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner) was in a four-rider move but as the speed increased as the laps decreased, there was little chance for anyone to get away.
Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) had a dig at the start of the last lap but he could not get more than fifty metres as the other teams massed near the front but refused to lead the peloton. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) took a flyer before the far side of the Place de la Concorde and the last tunnel. He won the most aggressive rider prize in the Tour de France but had no chance in the final kilometres of the Tour.
Quick Step were riding for Steegmans and got a hand from David Millar (Garmin) into the final kilometre. Matteo Tossato then took over and went wide to enter the Champs Elysees at speed. Julian Dean (Garmin) took an alternative, tighter line, and managed to get on Steegmans’ wheel but he could not react when the big Belgian opened up his sprint.
Gerald Ciolek (Columbia) made a late charge and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) was on his shoulder but there was no stopping Steegmans.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE 21 RESULTS
1. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Quick Step 143km in 3h 51m 38secs
2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Columbia
3. Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
4. Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence-Lotto
5. Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole
6. Julian Dean (NZ) Garmin-Chipotle
7. Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner
8. Robert Forster (Ger) Gerolsteiner
9. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis
10. Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld all at same time.
134. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Chipotle at 34secs
145. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 1m 37secs
FINAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC-Saxo Bank 3,558.5km in 87h 52m 52secs
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 58secs
3. Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner at 1m 13secs
4. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 2m 10secs
5. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Chipotle at 3m 5secs
6. Frank Schleck (Lux) CSC-Saxo Bank at 4m 28secs
7. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 6m 25secs
8. Kim Kirchen (Lux) Columbia at 6m 55secs
9. Alejandro valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 7m 12secs
10. Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Ag2r at 9m 5secs
68. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Chipotle at 1h 59m 39secs
84. Chris Froome (GB) Barloworld at 2h 22m 33secs
Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS
Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner
BEST YOUNG RIDER
Andy Schleck (Lux) CSC-Saxo Bank
Carlos Sastre sips the traditional last stage glass of Champagne
Action on the Champs Elysees
Carlos Sastre in Paris
David Millar did a massive turn at the front for team-mate Julian Dean in the final kilometre
Gert Steegmans wins the final stage, giving his team and Belgium their first win of the Tour
Final podium (l-r): Cadel Evans (second), Carlos Sastre (winner), Bernhard Kohl (third)
Photos by Graham Watson
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|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS|
Stage 20: Sastre sets up overall Tour victory
Stage 19: Chavanel wins, time trial showdown looms
Stage 18: Burghardt shows that Columbia can win without Cav
Stage 17: Sastre wins on Alpe d’Huez, takes lead
Stage 16: Dessel wins
Stage 15: Schleck takes lead in the Alps
Stage 14: Oscar Freire wins in Digne-les-Bains
Stage 13: Cavendish takes fourth win
Stage 12: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 11: Arvesen wins
Stage 10: Evans takes yellow jersey by one second
Stage nine: Ricco wins in the Pyrenees
Stage eight: Cavendish wins again in Toulouse
Stage seven: Sanchez takes action-packed stage
Stage six: Ricco storms to win
Stage five: Cavendish takes first Tour win
Stage four: Schumacher wins TT and takes race lead
Stage three: Dumoulin wins stage from break
Stage two: Hushovd wins chaotic sprint
Stage one: Valverde wins
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS|
Sastre dedicates Tour success to late brother-in-law Jimenez
Schlecks’ father’s car searched
Analysis: tactical battle on L’Alpe d’Huez [stage 17]
Schleck promises to attack main rivals
Schleck ready to defend Tour lead [stage 15]
Rest day news round-up [July 21]
Saunier Duval riders: “We are honest”
Cavendish talks to Cycling Weekly after quitting Tour
Schleck savours first ever Tour de France jersey [stage 15]
Comment: Why Cav is right to go home today
Cavendish pulls out of the Tour
Barloworld to end cycling sponsorship
Ricco speaks on Italian television
Cavendish joins the all-time greats
Saunier Duval sack Ricco and Piepoli
Tour bosses say fight against doping continues
Ricco denies doping at the Tour
Saunier Duval pull out of Tour
Tour’s top ten changes
Ricco positive for EPO at Tour
Analysis: Tour de France rest day summary
Cavendish battles through Pyrenees
Evans suffers but takes yellow jersey [stage 10]
Analysis: Hautacam shakes up 2008 Tour
Ricco silences critics with solo attack in Pyrenees [stage nine]
Cavendish talks about his second stage win [stage eight]
Beltran heads home but doubts remain about other Tour riders
David Millar: the dope controls are working
Manuel Beltran tests positive for EPO at the Tour
Comment: How the Tour rediscovered its spirit
Doping back in Tour de France headlines
Millar: close but no cigar in Super-Besse [stage six]
Super-Besse shows form of main contenders [stage six]
Millar to go for yellow [stage six]
Team Columbia’s reaction to Cavendish’s win [stage five]
Cavendish talks about his Tour stage win
Tour comment: Why Evans should be happy [stage four]
Millar: Still aiming for Tour yellow jersey [stage 4]
Who is Romain Feillu?
Cavendish disappointed with stage two result
Millar too close to Tour yellow jersey
Stage 2 preview: A sprint finish for Cavendish?
Millar happy after gains precious seconds in Plumelec
Valverde delighted with opening Tour stage win
Comment: Is Valverde’s win a good thing for the Tour?
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: BLOGS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE|