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


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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