Tour de France 2005, Stage 21, a.k.a. The End of the Tour

Posted in Tour de France on July 24th, 2005 by bill

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Stage 21 wasn’t the first time Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich have held hands in public.

It was supposed to be a day for relaxation and celebration at the Tour de France. Since 1990 the last stage has been considered an “epilogue,” not a competitive part of the Tour per se, though the stage win is contested among the sprinters. To be honest with you, I’m a little fuzzy on how this part of the Tour works. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing actually preventing the riders in second, third, and fourth overall from trying to gain time on the leader in the final stage; it is simply not done.

There’s something very European about that. It seems strange to us here in the U.S., where we love a winner, hate a loser, and don’t give a damn about anything else; but in the culture of the Tour it’s very important to honor the code, follow the etiquette, and remain gracious whether you win or lose.
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