Just one more stage left of the Tour de France, and it’s the mother of all sprint stages.
Champs-Élysées. A magnificent way to end the Tour de France. Chris Froome has won the yellow jersey. Warren Barguil has the polka. Matthews rides in green, and Yates got the white jersey. It’s just one more thing to fight for: A stage win – on the biggest stage.
This is the winners from the last 10 years:
2016: Andre Greipel // 2015: Andre Greipel // 2014: Marcel Kittel // 2013: Marcel Kittel // 2012: Mark Cavendish // 2011: Mark Cavendish // 2010: Mark Cavendish // 2009: Mark Cavendish // 2008: Gert Steegmans // 2007: Danielle Bennati
Four of those guys started the 2017 Tour de France, but only two is left: Andre Greipel and Danielle Bennati. The 2007 winner hasn’t won a sprint for years, but Greipel is definitely one of the favorites in Paris.
The German sprinter hasn’t won a stage in this years Tour de France, but he has three 3rd places. However, that almost guarantees a thrid Greipel win in a row in Paris. He always wins a stage. The last time he finished a Grand Tour without a stage win was in Vuelta a Espana in 2007. That’s 12 Grand Tours in a row with a stage win. And he’s never went through the Tour de France without a win.
It is written in the stars, but he doesn’t look as good as he used to. He hasn’t been close this year, but the Champs-Elysees finish fits him perfectly. He just seems to always find some hidden power in the last turn, and blasts past his competition on the final 200 meters. Even though he’s not his olf self, you just can’t write off André Greipel.
Edvald Boasson Hagen
At least he has the most self esteem right now. The Norwegian went solo on stage 19, and finally got his victory. He was inches away from edging Marcel Kittel earlier this tour, and he is extremely fast if the team times his lead-out perfectly.
That’s been the problem though, as Boasson Hagen has been alone in the front way too soon. On Champs-Elysees, that rarely works out. Alexander Kristoff has ended up in the front both of the last two years, and got beaten badly by Greipel in both sprints.
Boasson Hagen does have a rare second gear, but I’m afraid he’ll pull out the guns a bit too early yet again. The wide road could be a great thing for him, though.
Not a great tour for the French sprinter, but it will all be forgotten with a win in Paris. Bouhanni is one of the fastest in the peloton, but just doesn’t seem to have his head on the right place. He’s more focused on bumping into his competition, than riding past them.
This will be his first ever Champs-Elysees sprint, as he has never been able to finish the Tour de France. We don’t really know what he brings to the table on that finish, and maybe he shows a different version of himself tomorrow.
The darkest horse for the stage win is Dylan Groenewegen. He’s had a sneaky good Tour de France, even though he hasn’t gotten the stage win. The 24-year old came really close in Pau, and was only just beaten by Marcel Kittel. And the German is not here anymore…
Groenwegen might be the best sprinter left, not injured or ill.
Can he pull it off? Matthews has done everything in this Tour de France, and a Champs-Elysees win would be a worthy finish.
He’s riding in the green jersey, and he is a very good sprinter on a flat sprint as well. I doubt he would be able to fight with Marcel Kittel, Arnaud Demare, or a fit Alexander Kristoff. But, that’s not the case. He is a potential winner.
Prediction: Andre Greipel
It’s just written in the stars, isn’t it? He’s done that finish so many times, and the 35 year old sure has some juice left in his legs. I think we’ll get a German hat-trick.