2019 Tour de France, stage 21: Rambouillet > Champs-Élysées

128 km
The conclusive stage of the Tour de France starts from Rambouillet in the Yvelines province after a plane transfer from the Alps. It’ll be the 45th finish on the Champs-Elysées in Paris and most probably a bunch gallop. The last three winners, André Greipel, Dylan Groenewegen and Alexander Kristoff will be in contention again but they have a new rival in the...

A well-known place to all of Serbians.
Another anniversary depart.

One year after Houilles, the Tour de France will be back in the Yvelines department, which has hosted the start of Paris-Nice since 2010. As for Rambouillet, it already welcomed the Tour in 1966 and 2012. In 1966, Lucien Aimar was given the go-ahead to lead the Tour after his team leader Jacques Anquetil had given up. AImar still needed to hold Raymond Poulidor and Jan Janssen at bay in the final time trail between Ramvbouillet and Paris. Eventually, Aimar retained a slim one-minute lead over Janssen. The time trial went to Rudi Altig while the morning bunch sprint was won by Belgium’s Ward Sels. In 2012, Mark Cavendished had sealed the overall triumph of Team Sky by winning the Champs Elysees sprint while Bradely Wiggins was becoming the first Briton to win the Tour, one month before the London Olympics. Rambouillet is also the birthplace of Joel Gallopin, the father of Tonny, who took part in four Tours between 1978 and 1981.

1919, the Tower resurrects from the ashes of the War

1919 was of course the Tour of the first yellow jersey. But it was much more than that. The first Tour de France of the post-WWI period, it took place because Henri Desgrange wanted it to go ahead despite many obstacles: the roads were still scarred by the conflict, many riders were still incorporated in their regiment, the hotels were requisitioned and the bicycle makers, mobilised by the war effort, had not been able to prepare their best equipment for the race. Never mind. It finally was a loop from Paris to Paris symbolising the return of peace and going through Strasbourg to mark the return of the city into France. Sixty riders started from the Argenteuil bridge on June 29, 1919, the day after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. They were only eleven to reach Paris on July 26 after countless withdrawals, including that of Philippe Thys of Belgium, double title holder in 1913 and 1914, who gave up on the first day of racing. Only ten riders were finally ranked as Frenchman Philippe Duboc was disqualified fifteen days after the finish for having received the assistance of a spectator.

The final winner at the Parc des Princes was Belgian Firmin Lambot, who in the words of the facetious Jean Alavoine, "picked up the dead" to win the GC. But for the Parisians, the real "star" of this 13th edition was s Eugene Christophe, the first holder of the yellow jersey, who finished 3rd despite his many setbacks throughout the event. The "old Gaul" will forever be the first holder of the yellow jersey but the garment, for its first appearance on the race, crossed the border to Belgium.

The last stage in Paris was won by Jean Alavoine, his fifth stage victory in the edition which he finished in second place. The Parisian, who died in Argenteuil during the next war in 1943, won a few months later the Armistice Grand Prix, held over 520 km between Strasbourg and Paris, via Metz.

Km 3.5
It is in Poigny-la-Forêt that Marcel Bidot, manager of the French team, organised a meeting with his four leaders, Louison Bobet, Jacques Anquetil, Roger Riviere and Raphael Geminiani, in the foolish hope that they would agree to work together in the 1959 Tour de France. Failing to agree on who would win the Tour that year, the four men joined forces to defeat their rival Henri Anglade, leader of the Centre-Midi team, favouring the victory of Federico Bahamontes.

Km 14.5
Auffargis is known to Tour de France specialists because the former director of the race, Félix Levitan, was its mayor from 1965 to 1971. Among his successors was former minister Christine Boutin, who has led the town since 1981. Comedian Jean Rochefort was the most famous inhabitant of the city, where he devoted most of his spare time to his passion for horse riding until his death in 2017.

Km 22
Cernay-la-Ville was the town in which Armand Blanchonnet, aka The Phenomenon, Olympic road champion at the Paris Olympics in 1924, spent his last years. In the 1924 time trial, held against headwind over 88 km, the 20-year-old Frenchman outclassed Belgian Henri Hoevenaers and his compatriot Rene Hamel. After this victory, which made him an instant star, Blanchonnet opted for six-day races rather than road cycling, even though he won the French championship in 1931. He was exceptionally gifted and did not really like to train, content with riding on his natural talent. He rode only four pro seasons, including one in the Génial Lucifer team with his Six Days partner Charles Pélissier. He never participated in the Tour de France. In this Olympic event, which also saw France take the team gold medal, the lowest ranked of the French was Andre Leducq, who finished only 9th. He went on to become one of the best riders of his time, winnig the Tour de France in 1930 and 1932.

Km 25
Dampierre is the place where 1923 Tour de France champion Henri Pélissier was shot by his companion Camille Tharault in 1935 while he was brutalizing his sister. His wife, Léonie, had committed suicide in 1933. The most popular cyclist of the time, bitter rival of Tour de France director Henri Desgrange, Pélissier also won two Paris-Roubaix (1919, 1921), three Tours de Lombardie (1911, 1913 and 1920), Milan-San Remo (1912), Bordeaux-Paris (1919) and Paris-Tours (1922). His two brothers, Charles and Francis, also took part in the Tour de France. Between them, they won 28 stages of the Tour (sixteen for Charles, including eight in the 1930 edition, ten for Henri and two for Francis).

Castle of Dampierre

Domain of the Dukes of Luynes and Chevreuse for nearly four centuries, the castle of Dampierre-en-Yvelines reopened its park in the Spring of 2019 after being closed to the public since 2016 for restoration. Owned by the Mulliez family (Auchan, Kiloutou) since 2018, this classical castle, surrounded by a park designed by Le Nôtre, is the work of Jules Hardouin Mansart, the first architect of King Louis XIV. This idyllic setting regularly serves as a backdrop for historical films such as Patrice Leconte's Ridicule or Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette.

Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV all had regular stays in Dampierre, in the heart of the Chevreuse valley. To escape the court, Queen Marie Leczinska also took refuge here, at the home pf her first maid of honour.

Km 32
Known by the Parisians as the terminus of a RER line, the city owes its name to St. Remigius, bishop of Reims around 458. From the station, the traveller can admire the magnificent castle built in 1696 by Jean Freddy de Coubertin. In 1973, Yvonne de Coubertin, niece of the founder of the Olympic Games, and Jean Bernard, renovator of companionship in France, created a foundation to for crafts and art. Domain de Coubertin includes workshops and collections, such as the Garden of the Bronzes, which since 1980 has brought together bronzes from the French sculpture school.

Saint-Rémy-les-Chevreuse was the last home of comedian Raymond Devos, where he lived since 1963 and where he died on June 15, 2006.

Km 35
Magny les Hameaux, a peaceful and vast farming community, has always had an astonishing intellectual influence. It was first of all the attraction of the Port-Royal abbey, frequented by Boileau, Pascal, Racine or Madame de Sevigne, and whose museum can be visited west of the village. It was more recently a popular place for visiting writers and painters thanks to the presence in Magny of personalities from the cultural world. Thus met at the beginning of the twentieth century in the home of composer Raymond Bonheur, Andre Gide, Claude Debussy, Eugene Carriere, Albert Samain or Charles Guerin. Former mayor of the town and father of the former dean of Parliament Louise Weiss, engineer Paul Weiss frequently received Raoul Dufy or Maurice De Vlaminck. At the end of the 19th century, Jean-Baptiste Corot came to Magny to visit his friend Robert Fleury.

It is also on the territory of Magny that was killed in 1934 the aviator Hélène Boucher.

The stadium of the city is named after Jacques Anquetil, five times winner of the Tour de France, who won the Grand Prix des Nations nine times in the Chevreuse Valley.

Abbey of Port-Royal des Champs

In the town of Magny is the National Museum of Port Royal des Champs, located on the site of the former abbey which was, at the end of the seventeenth century, a bastion of Jansenism and an influential intellectual centre.

Km 36.5
At the crossroads of departmental roads 36 and 938, at the top of the Trinité coast, a bronze sculpture of Jacques Anquetil on his bike was erected in March 1989, after the death of the five-times winner of the Tour, in November 1987. This statue was stolen, probably to be sold at the price of bronze. It is now replaced by a stele bearing the commemorative plaque that was under the statue. The memorial was installed on the former Grand Prix des Nations course, which Jacques Anquetil won nine times.

The village of Châteaufort is closely linked to the history of aviation. On August 19, 1913, Adolphe Pégoud (1889-1915), a young test pilot recruited by Louis Blériot, took off from Borel airfield, located north of the village, and for the first time in the world jumped by parachute from a plane. The unmanned aircraft made a number of acrobatic antics above the valley of the Miseraise before crashing to the ground.

Km 39.5
The two gates that still exist today, the gate of Toussus and the gate of Tour Salé remind us that, attached to the large royal hunting park and the water domain of Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, the village was already a transitional place between the royal city and the rural world. The advent of aviation, the installation of an aerodrome and an aviation school by airmen and builders, Henry and Maurice Farman, made the notoriety of Toussus-le-Noble. Dedicated to business and leisure aviation, with pilot training schools, the airport is equipped with two tracks. It groups 47 companies on 167 hectares.

Km 43
Buc Aqueduct

Built by Louvois in 1686 to supply the park of the Château de Versailles from the Saclay ponds, it has 19 millstone arches, 21 m high and 580 m long. Disused, it was listed as a historic monument in 1952.

Castle of Haut-Buc

The old castle was included in the great park of Versailles and served to Louis XIV to host one of his natural children, the Count of Toulouse and Duke of Penthièvre, Louis Alexandre de Bourbon who then moved to the Pavillon des Eaux in Louveciennes. It was destroyed in 1740 by order of Louis XV. The current castle, owned by the town, was built on the site around 1864.

Km 53
Chaville is known to cycling fans for having hosted for nine years, between 1979 and 1987, the classic Paris-Tours, first renamed Blois-Chaville, then Créteil-Chaville. Joop Zoetemelk, Sean Kelly and Phil Anderson were among the winners in Chaville.

Km 57.5
Meudon developed around the parish church dedicated to Saint Martin. Meldun became Melodunum, then Meudon at the foot of the seigniorial castle which dominates the village. From the sixteenth century, a large mansion replaced the fortified building and housed for some time the love of King Francis I and his beautiful mistress Anne Pisseleu. In the seventeenth century, Abel Servien, superintendent of finances of the kingdom, and the Marquis de Louvois, Minister of War, designed the park that André Le Nostre built. The estate of Meudon was now worthy of royal favours. The Grand Dauphin, the eldest son of King Louis XIV, acquired it on the death of Louvois. He installed his court and built, on the plans of the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the Château Neuf (New Castle). The death of the Grand Dauphin in 1710 marked the beginning of the inexorable decline of the estate, which the mercantile appetites of the 19th century quickly transformed into a stone reservoir for the new district.

The nineteenth century was a time of change for Meudon. It became a prosperous city rustling in the tumult of progress. The Observatory peered into the stars, the Office of Inventions tracked technical innovations, captain Charles Renard made the first closed circuit flight aboard the airship France and Marcellin Berthelot discovered the secrets of plant chemistry. Artists worked more discreetly, Auguste Rodin revealed the beauty of raw material, Isadora Duncan danced, Richard Wagner composed The Ghost Ship while painters tirelessly painted the bucolic landscapes of the Seine.

In the 20th century, Meudon-la-Forêt emerged from the wheat fields, Renault took over the Seguin Island before advanced technologies replaced the assembly lines on the banks of the Seine. The artists continued their quest, Jean Arp invented abstract art, Alberto Magnelli assembled colours and forms, Marcel Dupré improvised, Celine screamed in despair while François Stahly sculpted monumental fountains. Innovative architects were not left out and made Meudon a laboratory: Prouvé, André Bloc, Van Doesburg.

The city hosted the start of a team time trial in 1986.

Km 59.5
The city of Issy-les-Moulineaux is primarily known by Tour de France for hosting the headquarters of the touring company, Amaury Sport Organization (ASO) before they moved to Boulogne-Billancourt. L’Equipe and numerous accredited media on the Tour de France have had their premises in the city, and in particular in the Val de Seine basin, a huge office hub dedicated to media and new technologies. The city has a real cycling past: its Sports Palace bears the name of local-born Robert Charpentier, who was Olympic champion on the road in 1936 ahead of Guy Lapébie. Charpentier participated in the 1947 Tour, but the War deprived him of a pro career in line with his amateur career. Issy-les-Moulineaux is also the city of Thierry Adam, who has long been the Tour commentator on France Télévisions.

The city, resulting from the meeting of the villages of Issy and Moulineaux, was also an aviation stronghold at its inception, as indicated by several streets and places (Guynemer, Voisin) dedicated to the pioneers of aviation.
Remarkable statistic:

Yellow jersey - Bernal: no stage win, not even top 3 in a stage win (besides the TTT)
Green jersey - Sagan: one stage win
Polkadot jersey - Bardet: no stage win
White jersey - Bernal: see yellow
Super excited for this! I was really tired of this mountains stuff. Artificial gimmick to spice up the show that doesn't work. Now back to exciting, old school racing on flat roads. And since Laporte is no longer in the race, it's really open about the winner too.
Geraint Thomas to attack on the Cat 4 as he senses weakness in Bernal after he drank too much champaign. He soloes onto the Champs and is only denied from title defense due to a puncture entering the last lap as he ran over a pile of nails. The saboteur is suspected to be a tall, pale and bald Brit with a cruth who, as whitnesses report, mumbled something about knighthood.

Wvv said:
Remarkable statistic:

Yellow jersey - Bernal: no stage win, not even top 3 in a stage win (besides the TTT)
Green jersey - Sagan: one stage win
Polkadot jersey - Bardet: no stage win
White jersey - Bernal: see yellow
On the other hand

Sagan -- 3 podiums and 9 top tens (in fact top fives) and a chance for another.
Several questions are yet to be answered:

*Can Alexander Kristoff repeat last year's stunt and save the Tour for UAE?
*Who can lead more laps on the Champs Elysées: Alaphilippe solo or De Gendt & Wellens as a duo?
*Will we finally see that much anticipated attack by Steven Kruijswijk?
*Can Egan Bernal drink a glass of champagne without falling off his bike?
*Who's the leader at Movistar?
Re: 2019 Tour de France, stage 21: Rambouillet > Champs-Élys

Well it is what it is, an anticlimactic end to the race (to be fair, it's been this way for decades). For a while it was fun seeing Mark Cavendish zoom by like a missile, but even that is gone now.

As for this year:
Ewan for the win? Or Groenewegen? Maybe Viviani?

Pantani_lives said:
Several questions are yet to be answered:

*Can Alexander Kristoff repeat last year's stunt and save the Tour for UAE?
*Who can lead more laps on the Champs Elysées: Alaphilippe solo or De Gendt & Wellens as a duo?
*Will we finally see that much anticipated attack by Steven Kruijswijk?
*Can Egan Bernal drink a glass of champagne without falling off his bike?
*Who's the leader at Movistar?
Could you imagine the outrage if he did fall and Ineos drilled the peloton of Thomas.

I think Kristoff will win coming off Quickstep's train.

Pantani_lives said:
Several questions are yet to be answered:

*Can Alexander Kristoff repeat last year's stunt and save the Tour for UAE?
*Who can lead more laps on the Champs Elysées: Alaphilippe solo or De Gendt & Wellens as a duo?
*Will we finally see that much anticipated attack by Steven Kruijswijk?
*Can Egan Bernal drink a glass of champagne without falling off his bike?
*Who's the leader at Movistar?
I'll bite.
* No
* It's a parade
* He didn't have the legs
* Yes
* Landa, he didn't have the legs this year though