Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) claimed his first win of the Tour de France on the last day as Chris Froome sealed his third successive Yellow Jersey and a fourth for Team Sky in five years.
It has been an entertaining Tour, and from the get-go Sky’ intentions were clear as they looked to dominate the race both on the flat and in the mountains. And for the majority of it they did, and with a rider as special as Froome they had a guy who can do it all when it really mattered.
The 31-year-old proved that he could descend, time-trial and hang tough in the mountain stages and ultimately his lead of 4min5s over Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) proved just how dominate Froome was this year.
But today after the largely processional proceedings before the race hit Paris, it turned out to be Greipel’s day as the German continued his habit of winning in every Grand Tour he enters.
It certainly hasn’t been a vintage Tour for the ‘Gorilla,’ as Mark Cavendish (Dimension-Data) has proved doubters wrong this year, but winning on the Champs-Elysees is always special for a sprinter, and today Greipel earned the plaudits after a good sprint.
Delight for Greipel, disaster for Kittel
It has been a Tour of drama, and that label stuck with the race right up until the last, as Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) seemed to completely lose his rag after an ill-timed mechanical hit as the riders took the Champs-Elysees for the first time.
The German threw his wheel across the road in anguish and although getting back in the peloton to contest the sprint, it looked like Kittel had already lost before the sprint had already begun. After coming into the Tour with such hype after a renewed start at Etixx, it certainly was a frustrating Tour for Germany’s elite sprinter.
The last hoorah for breakaway riders in the 2016 Tour de France
There have been some fabulous breakaways on this year’s Tour, and today we saw the last one of the 103rd edition as the likes of Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Lawson Craddock (Cannondale-Drapac), Brice Feillu (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Jeremy Roy (FDJ) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension-Data) all tried their luck.
It lasted up until the final 5 kilometres, but the last stage invariably ends with a sprint finish and it was Greipel who took the glory ahead of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) on a day which saw Froome cement a legacy that could last further than just his three Tour wins.