Le Tour de France 2013: Preview and Prediction for Final Stage of Epic Race
With 20 grueling stages now behind us, we're just one more away from seeing the 2013 Tour de France to its conclusion.
Barring a miraculous comeback, we won't be seeing much drama when it comes to the overall classification. Christopher Froome has pedaled his way to a commanding lead going into the race's final stage.
The SKY Procycling star lost the battle of stage 20. Team Movistar rival Nairo Quintana registered a time of three hours, 39 minutes and four seconds to earn the first stage victory of his career.
Considering he's a lock to win the white jersey given to the best rider under 26 years old, we can assume it's the first of many stage victories for the 23-year-old with the bright future.
With the yellow jersey pretty much sorted out, the final day of the race will focus on the sprinters. The home stretch to Paris is the first flat stage in more than a week for the riders.
Here's everything you need to know to catch the fast-paced action and the coronation of Froome.
When: Sunday, July 21 at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: NBCSN (live coverage from 8 p.m.-11 p.m.)
Where: Versailles to Paris Champs Élysées
As mentioned previously, this is a stage that definitely favors the sprinters.
According to the Tour's website, the route is a bit longer than Stage 20 at 133.5 kilometers (83 miles), but has virtually no climbs for the riders to conquer. That should allow for a sprinter to win a stage for the first time since Mark Cavendish's Stage 13 victory.
The late start (5:45 p.m. local time) will create a special atmosphere as the riders race toward the finish under the lights in Paris.
The final stretch includes 10 laps of a circuit up and down the Champs Élysées. In a departure from the usual route, the riders will be forced to race around the Place d'Etoile instead of the usual turn in front of the Arc de Triomphe, according to the the Tour.
It should make for an electric atmosphere as the riders round out the 21-stage race.
Even though you can narrow down the list of potential winners to the sprinters, it's still difficult to pick a winner out of the talented group.
Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan are all sprinters who have won sprinting stages thus far and each are great in their own right.
However, it's hard to pick against Cavendish. The fiery 28-year-old won two of the last three stages in 2012 when the end of the race was much more sprinter-friendly, and he's the last sprinter to win a stage this year.
Cavendish himself took to Twitter to express his excitement for the final stage:
Took until stage 20 to feel 'ok' in the mountains. Oh well, PARIS TOMORROW!!! So we're 1 of only a few teams to stay focused 1 more day.— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) July 20, 2013
The other sprinters will make things interesting, but Cavendish has to be the favorite to win the final stage.
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