Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) became the first Australian to win the 2011 Tour de France on Sunday as Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad) took the final stage on the Champs-Élysées.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) finished second with Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) third.
Behind, Evans finished safely among the bunch to clinch the overall title.
“A few people always believed in me. I believed in me. And here we are today,” he said. “We did it.”
After the usual pomp and circumstance — photo ops of the jersey holders riding shoulder to shoulder, champagne-sipping and whatnot — BMC led the yellow jersey onto the finishing circuit in Paris.
Almost immediately Rui Costa (Movistar) and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) had a go before Ben Swift (Sky) broke clear, chased by Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad), Sergio Paulinho (RadioShack), Kristjan Koren (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Jérémy Roy (FdJ).
Koren took top points at the intermediate sprint, with Cavendish scooping up the leftovers in the field. The green jersey had to swap bikes shortly thereafter but easily regained the field afterward.
The break had 42 seconds with 30km to go and Garmin-Cervélo was on the front, leading the pursuit for the one-two punch of Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar.
Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) had a digger in a 180 with just over 20km to race and had to chase back on as BMC joined Garmin at the front. Omega Pharma-Lotto also contributed two men to the pursuit, one of them Belgian champion Philippe Gilbert, on behalf of Greipel.
With 15km remaining the break held 30 seconds’ advantage and Lampre was coming forward for Alessandro Petacchi. Quick Step was lurking nearby, too, thinking of Gerald Ciolek.
With 8km to go the gap was down to 18 seconds, and as the break hit the bell lap the bunch was just 13 seconds back with Quick Step on the front.
Barredo had a go as the bunch crossed the line, and Swift likewise launched out of the break. Bak tacked onto his wheel and then rode past him, sticking to the right-hand gutter where the going was smoother.
Just past the 180 HTC lined it out at the front. Bak was drilling it down the centerline with Swift chasing in the gutter. Mickaël Delage (FdJ) was next to try his luck, and the bunch was suddenly chasing a scattered threesome toward the finish.
Bak had 11 seconds with 3km remaining. The bunch engulfed first Swift, then Delage and finally Bak, and Gilbert took the front for Griepel.
But racing into the final kilometer HTC was firmly back in charge at the front with Garmin frantically trying to get organized. Cavendish was in perfect position, right behind Mark Renshaw, and when that happens, the Manxman is nearly impossible to beat.
He jumped away inside 200 meters to go and took an unprecedented third consecutive victory on the Champs-Élysées and his first green jersey. Behind, Evans crossed safely to confirm his overall victory in the 2011 Tour.
Standing atop the podium, Evans thanked the crowd, his teammates and his rivals Andy and Fränk Scheck for a thrilling competition.
“It’s been a beautiful race,” he said. “Thanks to these two brothers here it was a fantastic experience for everyone involved.
“Miguel Indurain in 1991 planted a seed in my head that I wouldn’t mind riding that race one day if I was capable of it. Here I am today with the yellow jersey, Tina Arena singing our national anthem on the Champs-Élysées today. It’s going to take a little while to realize.”
Other champions from the 2011 Tour de France include Cavendish (green jersey); Samuel Sanchez, Euskaltel-Euskadi (polka-dot jersey); Pierre Rolland, Europcar (white jersey) Garmin-Cervélo (team); and Jérémy Roy, FdJ (combativity). The Garmin boys honored Dave Zabriskie, who crashed out of the Tour on stage 9, by taking the stage with a cardboard cutout of their absent teammate.
Patrick O’Grady, Brian Holcombe and Agence France Presse contributed to this report. Stay tuned for an expanded report, results, photos, video and more from the final stage of the 2011 Tour de France.
- 1. Mark Cavendish, HTC-Highroad, 2:27:02
- 2. Boasson Hagen Edvald, Sky, s.t.
- 3. André Greipel, Omega Pharma-Lotto, s.t.
- 4. Tyler Farrar, Garmin-Cervélo, s.t.
- 5. Fabian Cancellara, Team Leopard-Trek, s.t.
- 1. Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team
- 2. Andy Schleck, Team Leopard-Trek, at 1:34
- 3. Frank Schleck, Team Leopard-Trek, at 2:30
- 4. Thomas Voeckler, Team Europcar, at 3:20
- 5. Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank-Sungard, at 3:57