The 2018 Tour de France concludes on Sunday with the traditional stage into Paris. Which sprinters are left to contest the sprint on the Champs-Élysées?
Not all of the 176 riders that started the Tour de France in 2018 will make it to the Champs-Élysées on Sunday. Making it through all 21 stages to finish in Paris is an honor that highlights the careers of every cyclist that manages the feat. This year, the thinned-out peloton will take off from the start in the Parisian suburb of Houilles and spend the next several hours on a processional stage.
As it has every year since 1975, the peloton will take several laps of the Champs-Élysées to conclude the race. The first few loops around the Jardin de Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde will be run at a moderate pace. We could see several riders take flyers, fancying their chances to pull an Alexandre Vinokourov and prevent a bunch sprint for the first time since 2005.
More often than not, though, the field comes together and cedes ground to the sprinters. The bunch sprint on the line in Paris is one of the most prestigious races to win as a sprinter, and this year a new victor is likely to emerge. Daniele Bennati is the only previous winner of the Champs-Élysées stage who made it through the first 20 stages of this year’s Tour de France to reach Paris.
Mark Cavendish, a four-time winner of the Champs-Élysées stage, was eliminated along with 2013 and 2014 winner Marcel Kittel on the second Alpine stage when they finished outside the time limit. The past two winners of the stage, 2015 and 2016 victor André Greipel and last year’s winner Dylan Groenewegen, were eliminated on time the following day in the mountains.
Thus Bennati has a legitimate chance to steal another victory 11 years after first claiming the historic stage in Paris. He finished second in the Stage 19 intermediate sprint in Sarrancolin, so he is on decent form at the conclusion of this year’s race. With so much attrition among the sprinters, could the 37-year-old Bennati actually pull out another win on the Champs-Élysées to cap this year’s Tour de France?
How to watch the stage
Here is how to catch Stage 21 at the Tour de France live on July 29. The action from Houilles to the Champs-Élysées in Paris will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. Live streaming of the action is available on NBC Sports Gold or FuboTV.
- Date: Sunday, July 29, 2018
- Start time: 10:00 a.m. ET
- Start: Houilles, France
- Finish: Paris (Champs-Élysées), France
- TV Info: NBC Sports Network
- Live Stream: NBC Sports Gold, Fubo.TV
The thermometer should read somewhere in the low 80s when the peloton reaches Paris for the last miles of the 2018 Tour de France. There could be a bit of a breeze on the Champs-Élysées, but it shouldn’t be enough to break up the sprint.
Bennati is the sentimental favorite to win another stage on the Champs-Élysées in what is likely his final Tour de France. Victory on the final day would be quite the way to cap a long and legendary career in the pro peloton.
Look out as well for Peter Sagan. With his sixth green jersey already locked down, the Slovak star has been dominant in winning three stages so far. After so many of his traditional rivals dropped out of the race, Sagan also has a prime opportunity to win his fourth stage of this race and his first-ever victory on the Champs-Élysées.
Alexander Kristoff, Arnaud Démare, John Degenkolb, and Sonny Colbrelli look like the best of the rest who could challenge these two at the finale. With the 23-day jaunt around La Grande Boucle wrapping up on Sunday, you won’t want to miss this final chance to watch the oldest grand tour in cycling.