A lot can happen in the final week of the Tour. There are career defining stage wins and jerseys up for grabs. GC ambitions to be improved or jealously guarded, and for sure suitcases of courage to be dipped into. It’s been a wild and emotional ride so let’s take a look back on the final week of Tour de France 2016.
Stage 14: Montélimar to Villars-les-Dombes Parc des Oiseaux
A long, loooong day for riders and fans alike ended with victory number four for Mark Cavendish and his Dimension Data team. The Manx Missile timed his surge from Marcel Kittel‘s wheel with absolute perfection and held off both Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) by a bike length or more. Our review is here.
Stage 15: Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz
IAM cat Jarlinson Pantano descended like a demon on the Grand Colombier, catching Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) and sticking with him like glue as they cat and moused to the finish line. Even when Majka manoeuvred him to the front, the cat didn’t loose his cool, he just dug deep, swept past him and claimed his first TDF win with a smile a mile wide. We also got an angry Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) with a day of frustration and disappointment. We LOVED it. Our review is here.
Stage 16: Moirans-en-Montagne to Berne
Ah beautiful Berne. Hometown of Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) and setting for a cobbled, hilly finish that had all the spring classic guys salivating. Spartacuswas in the mix at the finish, but it was a bike throw from Peter Sagan that made all the difference as the Velvet Samurai edged out Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff. Fellow Norwegian Sondre Holst-Enger (IAM) rounded out the podium. Our review is here.
Stage 17: Berne to Finhaut-Emosson
Katusha’s Ilnur Zakarin rode away from Jarlinson Panatano (IAM) and Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka to take a solo win at the stunning Emosson Dam mountain top finish. Back in the yellow jersey group; Richie Porte (BMC) attacked with 1km to go taking Chris Froome (Sky) him. Both gained time on their rivals as Nairo Quintana and Bauke Mollema wobbled. Our review is here.
Stage 18: Sallanches to Megève (ITT)
The race of truth saw Chris Froome take his second victory and extend his lead yet again. The flying yellow jersey ousted Giant’s Tom Dumoulin from the hotseat by 21secs, with Astana’s Fabio Aru claiming a fine – if surprising- third on the day. Our review is here.
Stage 19: Albertville to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc
Draaaaaamaaaaaa!!!! The rain fell, the descents were sketchy, and the attacks came at last. It was delight for France as Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) stormed to second overall with a swashbuckling solo win on the slopes of Mont Blanc. It was heartbreak for the Dutch as crashes saw Bauke Mollema tumble from 4th to 10th on GC, and Tom Dumoulin break his wrist putting Olympic dreams in jeopardy. Chris Froome had a late scare as a crash saw him finish the stage on Geraint Thomas‘ bike, but maintain a healthy margin in yellow. Our review is here.
Stage 20: Megève to Morzine
Movistar’s Ion Izaguirre outraced outstanding descenders IAM’s Jarlinson Pantano and Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali to take a fast and furious stage win – the first one for Spain at the Tour. The wet, miserable stage neutralised the race for the top GC riders, and Sky brought the yellow jersey safely over the line for what will surely be an outstanding win number three. We tip our hat to Peter Sagan leaving it all on the road for a team mate, to Bauke Mollema for putting aside yesterday’s heartbreak, and to Joaquim Rodriguez for attacking on the last climb of his last ever TDF and riding to 7th place.
Stage 21: The ride into Paris
Part procession, part balls-to-the-wall racing, this stage is always one of celebration and reflection. With Joaquim Rodriguez leading out the maillot jaune on his last ride onto the Champs-Elysees, we had a few laps to consider the whole of this year’s Tour before the sprinters’ teams ratcheted up the speed for a magnificent finale win for Andre Greipel.
Featured Image: Smiling through the rain. Fans stage 20 © ASO/G.Demouveaux