Well, it is said, there is nothing like a bike race to show off a place. This was never more the case than in Paris on Sunday when the Tour de France came to town, launching the inaugural Tour de France Femmes, while hosting the finish of the men’s race hours later.
The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Rue de Rivoli, Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe are all household names and must-sees for visitors, but on Sunday the city was shut down as the Tour came to town.
The biggest stars of women’s cycling were all smiles as they signed in for the start of the Tour de France Femmes under the shadows of the Eiffel Tower, before racing up and down the Champs-Élysées 12 times on the opening stage of this eight-day race. While many eyes were on the great Marianne Vos to take the day, much as she had in the inaugural La Course in 2014, things didn’t quite go according to plan, as she got pipped at the line by the in-form Lorena Wiebes, another Dutch rider. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old, who remains the most successful cyclist in the peloton, was all smiles at the finish.
Hours later it was her Jumbo-Visma teammate Jonas Vingegaard who led the men into Paris, cruising through the Musée du Louvre with his yellow jersey clearly visible.
As the men made their way up and down the Rue de Rivoli and Champs-Élysées eight times it was clear that they were gearing up for a sprint. Sure there was the token breakaway, but it was clear that they had little hope. This had been a brutal Tour de France - the fastest ever held under a stifling heat wave - and the sprinters suffered especially in the mountainous final week. Sunday was going to be their last hoorah, and it was, as Jasper Philipsen screamed across the line.
Meanwhile Jonas Vingegaard and his teammates took their time. With the sun setting on the Champs-Élysées, the Jumbo-Visma team cruised across the line together, well after Philipsen, in celebration. After all, it had been an amazing three-week performance for the Danish rider as well as his entire team.
As for everyone on on les Champs, it had been a pretty good day in Paris.
Check out a full gallery of images from the momentous day below: