Hansen marked a personal milestone, completing his 18th consecutive Grand Tour, but didn’t step around the fact that his squad was out of position on the Champs Elysees and left the race it has previously commanded without a stage victory.
“This is the first Tour Andre hasn’t won a stage, not from the Tour de France but any Grand Tour, so there was a lot of pressure on us, especially today it was on. I don’t know what it will be like going to the bus now,” Hansen said as he rode off the hallowed thoroughfare.
Greipel finished Stage 21 second behind promising 24-year-old sprinter Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) rounding out the podium.
The 35-year-old has won on the Champs Elysees before. With his well-documented pedigree and the number of other marquee fast-men that have left the race, including injured compatriot Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step), who watched from the stands, was a favourite for line honours.
Greipel was always in the mix during the three weeks of the race, but became increasingly frustrated as his opportunities on flat stages, of which Kittel claimed five, ran out. Overcast and windy conditions in Paris on Sunday did not help the 11-time Tour de France stage winner, who Hansen estimated was too far back coming into the last corner against a headwind.
“It’s always hectic, especially this year because there weren’t many sprinters left so there were guys everywhere and we just really didn’t get it together in the final. It’s a bit of a shame,” Hansen said.
“I think he was fifth around the corner, or maybe seventh. We were hoping for about third position with the headwind, it would have been perfect.”
Paris represents mixed emotions for everyone at the Tour and perhaps more so for Hansen with his insane running tally of three-week races and the physical and mental strains that come with it.
“You don’t know what day it is, you don’t even know what town you’re in.
"You do go a bit crazy and you just want to go to your own bed and eat your own food, you get sick of hotel food,” Hansen said. “But it’s something I’ll keep doing, I think I should do. Fortunately, I haven’t crashed out or got sick yet.
“It’s good to finish on a personal level, but for the team it wasn’t so good because we didn’t get a win. That was a bit disappointing, but it’s always nice to come to Paris and go home. We’re all happy to get here, some people want to party and some people just want to go to their hotel room for peace and quiet.”
Hansen, 36, was aiming for the peace and quiet option before he resets for the Vuelta a Espana.