Rouleur predicts... Tour de France stage 21
It's been an emotional three weeks, but our panel has made it to Paris. Who will bag the final win on the Champs-Ẻlysées?
Mantes-la-Jolie - Paris Champs-Ẻlysées (122km)
Matteo Trentin (CCC) As much as I'd love to see Sagan take this and the green jersey along with it, his finish is just not as fast as Trentin's and his motivation – being so close to Bennett on points – is much higher.
Elia Viviani (Cofidis) Look, I'm picking him to be different, but I can't be the only feeling a bit sorry for the genial, nimble Italian, a rather forgotten man in this race given his lead-out travails. An unexpected win would certainly put a smile on his face, and that of the Cofidis management, seeing as the team hasn't won a Tour stage since 1958 – or it certainly feels that way.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) The Australian and his Lotto Soudal team have been laying low over the last week, without green to compete and unlike others, will have been completely focused on Paris.
Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) Assuming Sagan really means it about conceding the green jersey to the current leader, we should see a freed-up Bennett, no longer living in the pocket of the six-time points classification winner. It would be a fitting finish for the fast man from Carrick.
Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick Step) An Irishman wearing green on the Champs for the first time since '89? It warms the welks, doesn't it? He won in front of the Colosseum a few years ago. Why not the Arc de Triomphe as well?
Cycling Mole says...
Hats off to Andy and Miles for correctly predicting Pogačar, I didn’t see that coming. Even when watching it I assumed the GPS was wrong! We head to Paris and the big sprint on the Champs-Élysées. The final stage is usually won by the fastest sprinter at the race, but I sense this year might be a little different. After a hugely demanding three weeks, some riders are on their knees and when they open their sprint, they might find the well is empty.
Andy is signing off by making us laugh, I had actually forgotten that Elia Viviani was at the race. Miles is also way off with his pick of Trentin, he simply isn’t fast enough to win a sprint stage in this race. The rest of the boys are on point, with Ewan and Bennett. The Aussie is the fastest in the race, but he has struggled over the mountains in the past week. He might find his legs aren’t as quick as they used to be. Sam Bennett, in green, winning on the Champs-Élysées would be wonderful to see. I think he’ll start as the favourite, especially with Mørkøv by his side.
What about the mighty Mole? This is a power sprint, one for those with some grunt left in their weary bodies. After successfully babysitting Richie Porte for the last week, it’s time for Mads Pedersen to shine. It would be pretty special seeing the rainbow jersey win in Paris.
Well, three weeks are over, I trust you enjoyed Rouleur Predicts. We’ve had a pretty good race, landing lots of wins, along with a few horrible shouts! We’ll be back soon; the Worlds are just around the corner.