That worked out pretty well because there were no major, or for that matter even minor surprises during the last four stages.
Stage 16 saw Lance Armstrong go in the break and hold on with eight others to finish more than six minutes ahead of the peloton. Lance had noted in recent interviews that he would be going for at least one stage win, but age has caught up and his sprint at the line came up short of a stage victory.
In stage 17, one of the most thrilling battles in Tour history between what is possibly the best two cyclist in the world took place on the climb to the mountain top finish on the col du Tourmalet. Alberto Contador only had to stay on the wheels of Andy Shleck to maintain his lead in the race and that he did. Schleck was unable to lose Contador with his attacks and Contador's only attack on Schleck was also fruitless. Both crossed the finish at the same time with Schleck taking the stage victory.
Stage 18 was for the sprinters and who else but Mark Cavendish showed again that he is the fastest sprinter in cycling. Alessandro Petacchi was able to finish high enough to reclaim the Green Jersey, but he would still have to finish in the top three on the Champs Elysee's in stage 20 to clinch the jersey.
The changing winds during the Individual Time Trial may have effected the final standings of the stage, but did not really affect the final results of the Tour. There was a change on the podium as Denis Menchov was able to out dual Samuel Sanchez for the third position. The only jersey not yet decided by the Time Trial was the green sprinters points jersey. That was decided in Paris on the final day of the Tour. Again won easily by Cavendish with Petacchi finishing second. The second place finish clinched the Green Jersey for Petacchi.
|Photo credit © Roberto Bettini|
General Classification (Yellow Jersey) overall winner
|Point Standings (Green Jersey) sprinters|
|Mountain Classification (Polka Dot Jersey) climber|
|Young Rider (White Jersey) under 25 yrs age|