AN awe-inspiring finish Champs-Elysées saw British cyclist Mark Cavendish prove he is the fastest sprinter in the world as he won the final stage of the Tour de France.
Manxman Cavendish is the first British rider to win on the Champs-Elysées and he said afterwards: "The Champs-Elysées is a dream for every sprinter in the world: to cross the finish line in view of the Arc de Triomphe with your arms in the air," he said.
“I always said I wanted to finish in Paris, too, and that's what I've managed to do."
However, he missed out on the Maillot Vert for overall top sprinter to Thor Hushovd.
Alberto Contador was crowned Tour de France champion for the second time after finishing safely in the peleton after the 164 km ride from Montereau Fault-Yonne. He won in 2007 but did not compete last year as Astana team was not invited to compete.
His final margin over second-placed Andy Schleck was four minutes and 11 seconds and Contador's team-mate Lance Armstrong took the final podium place.
Briton Bradley Wiggins took fourth in the Olympic gold medallist's first Tour de France.
All the talk after the race was of Cavendish and his terrifyingly quick stage victory when he and Columbia-HTC team-mate Mark Renshaw stormed away from the leading pack with 300 metres to go.
Renshaw’s characteristic high-speed burst got Cavendish into perfect position as he stuck to his rear wheel around the final turn without braking.
"I was really nervous when Mark [Renshaw] went into that last corner so fast, but we came through fine and got the win," Cavendish said.
He praised Renshaw, saying: “Mark's positioning is phenomenal. He rides a bike like he rides a tandem, he knows he has to go through a gap I can also get through.
"That is the trust I have in him and him in me.”
Before the race Cavendish told The Connexion: “I am in the best shape I can possibly be for the Tour, so it is just a case of riding each day as it comes.”
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