Tour de France 2012: Stage 20 Results, Standings and Highlights

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Tour de France 2012: Stage 20 Results, Standings and Highlights
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Team Sky: Unstoppable

Bradley Wiggins completed the formality of surviving the short ride from Rambouillet to Paris. He then stayed out of trouble as the final stage of the Tour de France turned frenetic, with the sprinters staking their claims for victory on the grandest stage in world sport.

The backdrop for the final stage of the Tour is the incomparable Champs Elysees. The riders go past the Arc de Triomphe, The Grande Palais and the Petit Palais, The Louvre museum, The Tuileries gardens, the obelisk from the temple of Thebes and the watchful gaze of the gilded Joan of Arc.

And it’s done in front of a crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands and a massive global television audience.

It’s the very definition of spectacular.

Team Sky—despite Wiggins being in an unassailable position—took up position at the head of the peloton, this time to help Mark Cavendish secure the final stage win.

So complete is the Sky team that even Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome—the riders in first and second place in the general classification—were taking their turn helping deliver Cavendish to the end of the stage in the best possible position.

Joining Team Sky at the head of the peloton was Liquigas, who were doing a similar job to deliver their man, Peter Sagan—the green jersey holder—to a position to challenge Cavendish.

Standing in their way were Rui Costa, Sebastien Minard and veteran Jens Voigt, the survivors of an early breakaway who clearly hadn’t read the script that the teams of the leading sprinters had written.

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

As brave as those challengers were, they stood no chance in the face of an angry peloton.

As the peloton emerged from the tunnel, we were greeted by the remarkable and absolutely unprecedented image of the yellow jersey wearer playing lead out man to Mark Cavendish, before handing over to Edvald Boasson Hagan.

They delivered Cavendish to the lead with about 350 metres to go, and from there he couldn’t be touched. A fast-finishing Peter Sagan claimed second, while Matt Goss took third.

Team Sky have had an almost perfect Tour de France.

They set out with the mission of capturing the yellow jersey, and they did it so comprehensively that they could afford to have fun putting Mark Cavendish into position to win his third stage of the Tour and his fourth win on the Champs Elysees.

Even the rumblings of discontent that were allegedly going through Team Sky had no impact. First and second place in the general classification are not the actions of a dysfunctional team.

The only question mark over the performance is why Wiggins didn’t win the prologue time trial, which would have seen him be only the fourth person to carry the yellow jersey from start to finish.

An opportunity lost, perhaps?

But that is just window dressing. Team Sky set themselves a target and not only achieved it but also a bit more.  

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

No one can ask more than that.

Bradley Wiggins is the first British rider to win the Tour de France in a remarkable performance. The dominance of his team was absolute, and it was a thoroughly professionally-executed plan from start to finish. Outstanding!

 

Final standings and jersey holders (courtesy letour.fr)

Yellow Jersey (general classification)—Bradley Wiggins

Green Jersey (points classification)—Peter Sagan

Polka Dot Jersey (king of the mountains)—Thomas Voeckler

White Jersey (young rider classification)—Tejay van Garderen

Winning Team—Radioshack Nissan

1.

WIGGINS Bradley

SKY PROCYCLING

87h 34' 47''

2.

FROOME Christopher

SKY PROCYCLING

+ 03' 21''

3.

NIBALI Vincenzo

LIQUIGAS

+ 06' 19''

4.

VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen

LOTTO-BELISOL

+ 10' 15''

5.

VAN GARDEREN Tejay

BMC

+ 11' 04''

6.

ZUBELDIA Haimar

RADIOSHACK-NISSAN

+ 15' 41''

7.

EVANS Cadel

BMC

+ 15' 49''

8.

ROLLAND Pierre

EUROPCAR

+ 16' 26''

9.

BRAJKOVIC Janez

ASTANA

+ 16' 33''

10.

PINOT Thibaut

FDJ-BIGMAT

+ 17' 17''

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