Tour de France 2012: Stage 20 Preview - Rambouillet to Paris Champs-Élysées 120 km
Cav bids to make it four in a row, Sky to make it three in a row…Geraint Thomas can't see beyond the Manx Missile
Mark Cavendish last year sealed his place as King of the Champs-Élysées, winning on cycling’s most famous finish for an unprecedented third time as he took the green jersey. After a, by his standards, relatively quite Tour in much of it spent in an uncharecteristic supporting role he showed that he is the form sprinter with a blistering win to take Friday's stage coming from a long way out to zoom past Nico Roche and Luis Leon Sanchez when the two escapees were bare metres from the line.
There will be plenty of sprinters, including former HTC team mates Matt Goss, and Andre Greipel who will be up for breaking his stranglehold but with Team Sky pledged to lead him out Cavendish is definitely the man to beat as his team go for a hatrick of stage wins.
While the racing on the Champs-Élysées will be as hectic as ever, the 60 kilometre run into Paris will see the usual high jinks, glasses of Champagne and photo opportunities featuring the jersey wearers.
The Chateau in Rambouillet was one of Napoleon’s imperial residences – his final visit was in June 1815, on his way to exile on St Helena, and curiously, the town is nowadays twinned with Waterloo, where he had suffered his final defeat a week earlier. Nowadays, it’s the summer residence of the French President, today’s stage of course finishing just metres from the Élysée Palace.
Geraint Thomas says: I think I’ll have to go for Cav on this, he’s won three years in a row and never lost here, especially with the team going for three stage wins in a row - that would really put the seal on a great Tour and put a marker down for next weekend's Olympic road race.
Fantasy Cycling Tour de France Stage 20 transfer window closes at 1PM UK time on Sunday