Chris Froome's position at the top of the general classification was never in doubt, and the Team Sky man cruised across the finish line to claim his second Tour de France win on Sunday.
Andre Greipel grabbed his fourth stage win of the 2015 Tour, winning the bunch sprint on the Champs-Elysees in Stage 21. The German dominated the bunch sprints throughout this year's edition, but he still lost out on the green jersey to Peter Sagan.
Here's a look at the results from Stage 21:
|Stage 21 Results|
|1||Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Soudal||02:49:41|
|2||Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar||Same Time|
|3||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha||Same Time|
|4||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka||Same Time|
|5||Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr||Same Time|
|6||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step||Same Time|
|7||Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo||Same Time|
|8||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin||Same Time|
|9||Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Same Time|
|10||Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||Same Time|
Here are the final standings of the 2015 Tour de France, including prize money (in thousands), courtesy of letour.fr:
|General Classification (Yellow Jersey)|
|Pos||Rider||Time||Prize Money (Dollars Rounded)|
|1||Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky||84:46:14||€450.000/$495.000|
|2||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||+00:01:12||€200.000/$220.000|
|3||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||+00:05:25||€100.000/$110.000|
|4||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team||+00:08:36||€70.000/$77.000|
|5||Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo||+00:09:48||€50.000/$55.000|
|6||Robert Gesink (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo||+00:10:47||€23.000/$25.000|
|7||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing||+00:15:14||€11.500/$12.600|
|8||Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling||+00:15:39||€7.600/$8.400|
|9||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||+00:16:00||€4.500/$4.900|
|10||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||+00:17:30||€3.800/$4.200|
|Point Classification (Green Jersey)|
|1||Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo||432|
|2||Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal||366|
|3||John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin||298|
|4||Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step||206|
|5||Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar||152|
|6||Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky||139|
|7||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr||113|
|8||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||103|
|9||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal||90|
|10||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha||90|
|Mountain Classification (Polka-Dot Jersey)|
|1||Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky||119|
|2||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||108|
|3||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||90|
|4||Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr||82|
|5||Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha||78|
|6||Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar||74|
|7||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||72|
|8||Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team||64|
|9||Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky||58|
|10||Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN - Qhubeka||55|
Before the start of the final stage of this year's Tour, the members of the peloton remaining after three weeks of racing took their time to address the media and their fans. Froome took to Twitter to thank his team-mates for their efforts:
The riders took their time at the start of the stage, with Sagan, known as one of the bigger jokesters of the peloton, seen fiddling with a small camera. As always during the final stage, the atmosphere was casual, and the first kilometers of the stage were reserved for photo opportunities rather than racing.
Meanwhile, heavy rains were drenching Paris, and as La Caravane du Tour shared, the uneven stones of the Champs-Elysees looked very slippery:
Froome was spotted riding next to the car of Christian Prudhomme, the Tour's general director, as the two struck up a conversation. According to broadcaster Robert Hatch, the leader of the general classification wanted to know whether the rain would influence how the time gaps were measured. Per Hatch, they would be taken during the first passage of the finish line.
The news was significant, as the inclement weather combined with the high pace of the peloton on the Champs-Elysees made for a dangerous stage. There was a real risk of crashes during the finale, which could greatly impact the general classification, so that was one less thing Froome had to worry about.
Apparently, he did have to worry about his own team-mates. During the traditional team photo, Richie Porte started weaving all over the road, nearly wiping out himself and his team leader. This fan shared the moment:
The tempo of the peloton was low, and Froome took his time to talk to several high-profile riders, accepting congratulations from just about everyone. Team Sky started moving to the front of the pack as the gates of Paris drew ever closer, and before long, the riders passed by the Eiffel Tower, via the Tour's official Twitter account:
But even as the peloton made its first passage of the Champs-Elysees, the cyclists didn't pick up the pace. It took several attacks from Sylvain Chavanel and Kenneth Vanbilsen to really get the race going, as Lotto-Soudal moved to the front and set the tone.
Team Sky suffered another slight scare as Froome dropped out of the peloton momentarily, but he quickly returned to the group. And as Cycling Weekly shared, he officially clinched the 2015 Tour when he crossed the finish line for the first time, as long as he completed the stage:
Going into the final lap, Vanbilsen still had a nine-second lead over the peloton, which was racing at an incredible pace at this point. The sprint trains had already formed, bringing Sagan and Co. to the head of the pack.
Stijn Devolder tried his luck with a late break, but by this time, the pace of the peloton was simply too high. Giant-Alpecin led the group into the final kilometers, but Lotto-Soudal countered to launch Greipel to his fourth stage win of this year's Tour.
It was Greipel's first-ever win on the Champs-Elysees, and the German told reporters what an incredible feeling it was, via Sky Sports' live blog of the stage:
It's amazing. It's something I have always dreamed of. I thank my team, who got me in the right position, and my parents and trainers. Everyone who has been involved in my career, They have all made such a difference to me. This is the most awesome place to win a bike race.
Team Sky arrived in the background, arm in arm, to the applause of the massive crowd at the Champs-Elysees. Former professional cyclist David Millar shared an image of the moment:
Froome was the grand favourite to win this year's Tour, and from the very first mountain stage, the 30-year-old dominated his opponents. His win never seemed in doubt, despite a late challenge from Nairo Quintana, who could have posed an even greater threat had he not lost so much time during the first week of racing.
Froome's victory was not without controversy, as fans abused the rider during the course of the Tour. However, he managed to overcome that vitriol, as Oliver Brown of the Telegraph noted:
His finest attribute has been to channel his anger and indignation in a positive manner, using all the barbs and brickbats as extra fuel for this tour's unusually late mountain climax. Each week, he has been a study in single-mindedness. He passed the lethal test of the Breton cobblestones with aplomb, minimised the distractions of the crashes and crosswinds with seemingly effortless expertise, and thrived in the Alps to add the polka-dot jersey as 'king of the mountains' to his growing Tour de France wardrobe.
His is a feat worthy of the most effusive acclaim. With two triumphs in the past three years, and Team Sky with three in the last four, he has risen to the loftiest grades of British sporting nobility. Andy Murray's men's singles title at Wimbledon had been accomplished by a compatriot before, albeit 77 years earlier. Froome's stature as a multiple Tour de France champion is an achievement without parallel in his homeland.
Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, who finished the Tour in second and third place, respectively, have already confirmed they'll both be riding the Vuelta a Espana later this year, per Cycling News. Froome is expected to join the Movistar duo, so cycling fans will get to enjoy even more spectacular battles up in the mountains when the final Grand Tour of 2015 starts in August.