TdF 2008: Finishing Kick

The Tour’s over. One or two things left to say about it. But for tonight, just one stunning image from the today’s stage. The finish, as all true fans know, is on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The riders do eight laps of the famous avenue and its environs. For this stage and this stage only, it was possible for the organizers to set aside a traffic lane parallel to the finishing straight. As the sprinters massed at the front for the rush to the line, they had a motorcycle and cameraman driving alongside. That gave the perfect view to see the closing sprint of this year’s race: Gert Steegmans, a Belgian, launched himself from a teammate’s lead-out with maybe 150 meters to go. The side-on view, which would have been fantastic to capture the acceleration of Team Columbia’s Mark Cavendish during earlier stages, captured the explosive acceleration that allowed Steegmans to build a two- or three-length lead–enough to hold off his late-closing rivals.

Nice moment. And now the Tour is over. The usual poignancy is dimmed a little for me by the expectation that we’ll hear in the next week or so that some more of the riders have tested positive for some sort of doping. Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

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