It hasn't always be like this, but these last years, the last stage is not decisive for the victory. The general rankings stay basically the same as the day before.

While officially racing in Paris, riders take pictures, drink champagne so this stage is more like a celebration and the stage victory is left to the final sprinters.

Is there a reason for this? Are there some implied rules to let the rankings stable on this day and not try to attack the yellow jersey?

2 Answers 2


Simply, because there's no point It's a flat stage, so they can't gain time.

If you look at the different stages, time differences between General Classification contenders tend to be achieved on mountain stages, time-trials or occasionally on flat/rolling stages with severe cross-winds (too much of the stage in in the city for this to be a problem).

On flat stages it's too easy for teams and individual riders to "mark" each other. ie. if the second placed rider in GC attacks, then the GC leader can just cycle along behind him and finish on the same time.

Realistically, the GC leader can only lose if there's a severe crash.

The only people who will actually be "racing" are people who are trying to win the stage, or possibly people trying to win the points classification if that's close.

So...when there's no chance of winning, why not drink champagne and have fun?

  • In 2005 Alexandre Vinokurov was only 2 seconds off fifth place, so he attacked a few kilometres from the finish, won the stage and collected the 20 bonus seconds that put him into fifth place. The peloton was on his heels, so didn't actually gain time on them. So if less than 20 seconds separate riders, it might make sense to attack - it's unrealistic to gain much more time, but "only" highly unlikely to gain this much. Aug 31, 2021 at 19:42

In addition to Niall's good answer, I'd say:

  • A specific rule of this step says that, because of the slippery pavement of the Champs-Elysées, when the weather is wet, race commissaries can decide that time will stay still at the first time riders go through the finish line.

  • This rule can also be applied at the n-th lap if the wet weather occurs later in the race.

  • The specifics of this step create conditions much in favour of the peloton than isolated breakaway riders. At some point, a peloton can reach a speed close to 70 km/h (in the slightly descending part of the avenue). On the other part, the speed is still high, around 50 km/h, which is still hard to maintain for a lonely rider for a long time.

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