Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) may have had this stage red-penned in his road book as one with scope for a historic final Tour stage victory, but he was denied at the line, only managing sixth.
The stage finale could have been (and probably was) designed to suit Cancellara's strengths, with a cobbled ramp finishing just 1km from the line. While Cancellara may have dreamed of motoring away from the peloton in the style of one of his Tour of Flanders victories, it was not to be.
"I knew that the last 5km was going to be really tough," said Cancellara. "I was missing this last little something in the legs. But everyone was full gas, and when it's full gas like that, only the best of the best are in the front."
While Cancellara had planned to make an early attack, it simply wasn't possible.
"I was even thinking that I may go a bit early, but I knew that it was such a long, straight line so you cannot miss anything in a late attack and lose it," he said.
"We came in like a rollercoaster towards the finish." he added. "It's okay; I am not a super sprinter and maybe people think that I can always do a small attack and sneak away, but after two weeks it's not always possible. I think with all these sprinters, I did not do so bad."
Stage winner Peter Sagan paid tribute to Cancellara after the stage finish, calling him a legend.
“Fabian is a big name in cycling; he is a legend in cycling,” Sagan told Cycling Weekly.
"For sure today would have been very different if we had come to the finish in a breakaway with Fabian,” Sagan added. "But with the sprint in the final I think it’s very difficult for anyone to be in the front and fighting for position and everything like that.
“You can tell for sure that he wanted to try, but I cannot tell if it was a finish for him."