Former Dutch Champion, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL) struck out early on Stage 21 and held on for his seventh win of the season after stage wins in Dubai, Yorkshire, two in Norway and two in the Ster ZLM Tour.
He’s had two sixth places, a fifth, a third and a second in this Tour but with that big hurdle called Kittel out of the way, this one belonged to him.
Andre Greipel’s (Lotto & Germany) terminal velocity was much higher but the 24 year-old from Amsterdam had the better timing and positioning over the sea of cobbles that is the Place de la Concorde.
A former winner of the u23 Ronde Van Vlaanderen he’s no pure drag strip artist and has also won races like the Brussels Cycling Classic and Ronde um Koln – he’s quick.
If you’re a sprinter in Le Tour then this is the stage to win – his reputation will be well burnished by this success.
We offer out congratulations to Dylan, Christopher Froome, his brutally effective team, Romain Bardet in particular and everyone who finished this monumental race.
Those late transition stages may look boring on TV but stand road side and observe the state some of these young men have ridden themselves into and it’s difficult not to have respect for every last one of them.
And to go with those noble words, here are our:
VeloVeritas Tour de France 2017 Awards
“Man of the Race” Award
Romain Bardet (AG2R & France) rode himself beyond the pale; we hope to see him win this race one day.
“Team(s) of the Race” Award
We couldn’t split AG2R and Sunweb, the former for their aggression and spirit; the latter for their unflinching riding in support of Michael Matthews in green and Warren Barguil in polka dots.
And a big honourable mention to Wanty for being in all those breaks during the first two weeks, respecting the race and honouring the jersey.
Lazarus “Born Again” Award
Warren Barguil (Sunweb & France) VeloVeritas cycling sage and mentor, Viktor and I are due the man an apology; two beautiful stage wins and so close to another as well as King of the Mountains – respect.
(Although marks were deducted for that abomination he rode on the last stage).
Despite the fact that we think it was a mental rather than a physical reason Marcel Kittel (QuickStep & Germany) ‘chucked it’ five stages are five stages!
An honourable mention to Michael Matthews.
We share equally between Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis & France), Andre Greipel (Lotto & Germany) and Alex Kristoff (Katusha & Norway).
We’re just glad we’re not their pet dogs and getting that kick in the ribs when the formerly fast men get home.
Astana, and by a considerable margin; Aru deserved much better than this.
How about Bahrain, BMC, Cofidis, Movistar and UAE? Were they there?
“Broken Dream” Award
Nairo Quintana (Movistar & Colombia) – Giro and Tour – what were you thinking, amigo?
HG Wells “Invisible Man” Award
Louis Meintjes (UAE & RSA) in the final chrono there was not one image of the man on French TV – impressive.
“Absent Friends” Award
Alessandro Valverde (Movistar & Spain) and Peter Sagan (Bora & Slovakia) we missed you, gentlemen.
“Don’t Do an Elvis and Come Back” Special Mention
Alberto Contador (Trek & Spain) let us remember you how you were in that last week, Bert.
“Most Bang for his Bucks” Award
Jonathan Vaughters, head honcho of Cannondale, thanks to Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) with a stage win and a podium on a shoestring.
They top the teams cost/benefit analyses.
Uran also gets the ‘How to do it With no Team’ Prize.
“Storm in a Teacup” Award
Breaking a spoke is NOT a crisis or a big deal; I used to break them every week in time trials.
Luis Ocana crashing out; Bernard Thevenet dropping Eddy Merckx in the mountains; Lemond