Cav wins, Contador crowned
Mark Cavendish clinched his sixth stage win on the Champs Elysees as Alberto Contador was crowned 2009 Tour de France champion.
Last Updated: 04/08/09 5:21pm
Alberto Contador was crowned 2009 Tour de France champion in Paris on a day that saw Mark Cavendish clinch a record-equalling sixth stage win.
Manxman Cavendish left his sprint rivals for dead in the closing stages to become the first British rider to win on the Champs Elysees
In the end his closest challenger ended up being his lead-out man Mark Renshaw. American Tyler Farrar was a distant third behind the Columbia pair.
Contador finished safely in the peleton at the end of the 164 km ride from Montereau Fault-Yonne to clinch his second Tour title, his other coming in 2007. He did not compete last year as Astana were not invited.
"Thanks to my team and everyone at the organisation," he said. "It was of course a difficult challenge this year's Tour de France.
"I'm really happy to have won. It was a tough Tour out there. It brings me deep joy and honour to be here in front of you all."
The 27-year-old's final margin of victory was four minutes and 11 seconds over second-placed Andy Schleck, who had to settle for winning the white jersey for the best placed rider under the age of 25.
Contador's latest success also continues Spain's recent dominance. Oscar Pereiro won the title in 2006 while Carlos Sastre was victorious last year.
Lance Armstrong - who used a bike customised by British artist Damien Hirst that will be auctioned off to raise money for the Texan's foundation - completed the podium places.
The seven-time winner has already promised to return again next year with the newly-formed Team Radioshack to try and win the event for an eighth time.
Bradley Wiggins finished in fourth place in the general classification - matching the highest placing by a British rider.
The Londoner confessed he was pleased to see the end of the race, but was thrilled with his outstanding performance.
"It's a huge relief it is finally over," he commented. "It's a bit like getting out of prison. I won't know what to do with myself next week!
"I won't have to eat rice and omelette every morning, and get on a bus. It's been mind-blowing these three weeks.
"I never thought when starting in Monaco that I'd see the end of the Tour.
It's been so successful. I really didn't expect to be in this position this year.
"I thought I could get in the top 20. But to finish fourth changes everything for the future now, whether I even go back to the track.
"Getting fourth place and equalling the great Robert Millar, and surpassing the even greater Tom Simpson, is pretty special. I do realise what I've achieved.
"Everyone watches the Tour, I grew up watching it. It's the biggest race in the world. To be part of it is fantastic, to do something like this is beyond words."
Thor Hushovd clinched his second green jersey for the points classification, while Italian Franco Pellizotti was crowned King of the Mountains.
1. Mark Cavendish (Britain / Columbia ) 4 hrs 02 mins 18 secs
2. Mark Renshaw (Australia / Columbia ) same time
3. Tyler Farrar (U.S. / Garmin )
4. Gerald Ciolek (Germany / Milram )
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus / Francaise des Jeux )
6. Thor Hushovd (Norway / Cervelo )
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spain / Caisse d'Epargne )
8. Marco Bandiera (Italy / Lampre )
9. Daniele Bennati (Italy / Liquigas )
10. William Bonnet (France / Bbox - Bouygues )
1. Alberto Contador (Spain / Astana ) 85hrs 48mins 35s
2. Andy Schleck (Luxembourg / Saxo Bank ) +4:11"
3. Lance Armstrong (U.S. / Astana ) +5:24"
4. Bradley Wiggins (Britain / Garmin ) +6:01"
5. Frank Schleck (Luxembourg / Saxo Bank ) +6:04"