• Greipel crosses the line ahead of Sagan on the Champs-Elysses (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Andre Greipel turned his winless 2016 Tour de France on its head to power home on the Champs-Élysées ahead of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha).
By
Cycling Central

25 Jul 2016 - 4:56 AM  UPDATED 25 Jul 2016 - 6:54 AM

The German powerhouse followed Kristoff's wheel, jumping around the Norwegian in the final 100 metres whilst green jersey-winner Sagan came just too late to deny the Lotto Soudal rider a win in this edition of the Tour de France.

The win makes it eleven consecutive Grand Tours where he has taken at least one stage win, a record stretching all the way back to the 2008 Giro d'Italia for the evergreen Greipel. 

"There was a head wind at the end. I just tried to stay calm. Once we hit the finale, we were one guy too short so I chose to follow Alexander Kristoff who was the strongest," Greipel said. 

This time, there was no sign of the lacklustre timing and execution that has dogged Greipel and his Lotto Soudal train throughout the Tour. The men in red took control in the final two kilometres to deliver their sprinting Gorilla. 

 "I can't describe it. I'm just super proud of what we've achieved today. I've raced for three weeks for that.

"The team kept believing in me. We've tried many times and we walk away from the Tour with two stage wins, with Thomas De Gendt and myself."

As it happened

The traditional processional into Paris started at a leisurely pace, as normal, with the jersey winners taking advantage of the chance to get some photo opportunities with their team-mates.

In a stark break from tradition, the traditional champagne for the yellow jersey and his team was replaced by beer, with Froome happily working as the domestique for once, distributing drinks to his team-mates.

The peloton granted the honour of crossing the start line first on the Champs Elysees circuit to Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who will retire at the end of the season, bringing the storied career of the 37 year-old to a close.

The racing began in earnest then, with Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Lawson Craddock (Cannondale-Drapac), Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing Team), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data), Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18), Rui Costa (Lampre - Merida), and Brice Feillu (Fortuneo - Vital Concept) going on the attack in the small likelihood that the sprinters would allow them enough freedom to take the win. 

At 34 kilometres to go, Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) suffered three consecutive mechanicals. Clearly frustrated, he angrily threw the wheel that required changing into the fast moving convoy.

Kittel was also without work horse Tony Martin who abandoned on an earlier Paris loop with a knee injury. With the Olympic time trial looming on the horizon, Martin could no longer ignore the pain and opted to pull out just before getting to the Champs Elysees. While Kittel made it back to the bunch, he was too drained to be in the mix once the sprint trains heated up the pace in the finale. 

Bryan Coquard (Direct-Energie) suffered a similar fate, puncturing with just 2.5 kilometres to race, negating the strong efforts of his team mates to that point to give him another chance at his first win of the Tour.

In the final leadout, Katusha did a textbook perfect job, delivering Alexander Kristoff to front with 250 metres remaining and a full head of steam, only for Greipel to step off his wheel and take the win. 

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