Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) won the Stage 21 sprint on the Champs-Elysees to close out the 2022 Tour de France.
It was a frenetic last 3km or so, with the trains forming to lead out their sprinters. The lead out men were used up early and the sprinters gathered near the front.
The sprinters were spread across the width of the road, with Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) going early on one side but he couldn't match the kick of Philipsen on the other side of the Champs-Elysees.
Rounding out the top 10 after an amazing Tour de France was Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), what an amazing race the young British rider has had.
Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), a favourite for the day, had disappeared from the front of the race before the sprint kicked off. It became clear why he'd done so later, when he crossed the line arm-in-arm with his team – the yellow jersey of Jonas Vingegaard in the centre.
The stage was the usual spectacle we've become used to for the final stage of the Tour: photos, champagne, faux-attacks and plenty of posing for the cameras as the peloton made its way from somewhere near Paris to the Champs-Elysees.
But no one was complaining and we'll all be back in front of our televisions to watch again next year.
Once the remaining riders in the 2022 Tour de France hit the famous boulevard, and had eight laps to go before the final crossing of the finish line, the pace went up and the race was on.
The attacks started and were either brought back quickly or always kept under control by the sprinters' teams before the final sprint.
Stage 21 at the 2022 Tour de France: Textbook final stage
Rolling out from not very far from away from the finish line, Stage 21 of the 2022 Tour de France ventured away from the centre of Paris to take in some sights and allow for the obligatory photoshoot of the jersey winners (and wearers) celebrating with champagne at the head of the peloton.
The only jersey wearer, but not winner, was Simon Geschke (Cofidis). The involuntary Miss Havisham was forced – by convention and contract – to wear the polka dot jersey since losing his lead in the competition on Stage 18, by which point there was no chance of recovering it.
At the flag drop, white jersey and second overall Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), green jersey Wout van Aert and this year's overall winner Jonas Vingegaard (both Jumbo-Visma) attacked off the front. Smiles on the faces of the former pair, possibly considering just going clear, were not matched by the latter, Vingegaard, who more likely wanted an easy day and to leave the riding to the sprinters' teams.
Jumbo-Visma rolled to the front and in a touching gesture held up the race numbers of their three teammates who started but did did not finish the 2022 Tour de France.
Ineos Grenadiers dropped off the back of the peloton to have a team photo, with all eight starters still present, to celebrate winning the team classification.
While they were posing with their yellow helmets and yellow numbers, the six Danish riders who will make it to the final finish line in Paris had a chat off the front for a while, posing for the cameras.
Geschke popped up again, riding over the KOM line to take the one point available on today's stage ahead of a slow moving peloton. He waved at the fans and smiled, proving he's a good sport.
The posing and backslapping stopped on the first passage of the finish line, which marked eight laps of the Champs-Elysees between the riders and the end of the 2022 Tour de France.
Several riders attempted breakaways, bumping all over the mini-cobbles as they tried to get a gap over the peloton. Stan Dewulf (AG2R Citroën) and Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-EasyPost) got away first before being joined by a few more riders.
First of those riders were Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious), Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies) and Daniel Felipe Martínez (Ineos Grenadiers).
With the sprinters' teams on the front of the main bunch, the doomed break's advantage barely flickered above 10 seconds. It didn't last long and they were back in the fold.
EF Education-EasyPost, with a lack of an out-and-out sprinter, were the most active as they launched again. Maximilian Schachmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) joined the EF pair of Owain Doull and Jonas Rutsch on a little ride around the Champs-Elysees. A two-up time-trial from Groupama-FDJ made its way to the head of the race to put a bit more fire power into the doomed enterprise.
With 25km to go they had 20 seconds over a fast moving peloton. Doull was the first to surrender to the inevitable but the remaining quartet kept the pressure on the pedals before falling away one-by-one. Schachmann and Rutsch were last to be caught with 6.9km to go – as the bell was rung was the final lap.
Maybe tired of the non-competitive nature of the final stage, Pogacar followed an attack from the Ineos duo of Geraint Thomas and Filippo Ganna to go about seven metres clear for no more than a minute; a good bit of excitement for the final lap.
From there we were into the lead outs, with the surprise (and disappointment) of seeing Van Aert going backwards through the group making it clear that he wouldn't be competing in the sprint.
His reasoning became clear after Philipsen had won: Jumbo-Visma crossed the line as a team, arm-in-arm.
Tour de France 2022: Stage 20 results
1. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck, in 2-58-32
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco, at the same time
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, st
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo, st
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) TotalEnergies, st
6. Jeremy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM, st
7. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, st
8. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto-Soudal, st
9. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic, st
10. Fred Wright (GBR) Bahrain Victorious, st
Final General classification of the 2022 Tour de France
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, in 79-33-20
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-43
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 7-22
4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 13-39
5. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 15-46
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic, at 16-33
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 18-11
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux, at 18-44
9. Aleksey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan, at 22-56
10. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 24-52
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Jack Elton-Walters hails from the Isle of Wight, and would be quick to tell anyone that it's his favourite place to ride. He has covered a varied range of topics for Cycling Weekly, producing articles focusing on tech, professional racing as well as cycling culture. He moved on to work for Cyclist Magazine in 2017 where he stayed for four years until going freelance. He now returns to Cycling Weekly from time-to-time to cover racing and write longer features for print and online. He is not responsible for misspelled titles on box outs
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