Sunday, July 23, 2006

Stage 20: Finale in Paris

Florent Brard, a Frenchman riding for Caisse d'Epargne - Illes Balears, was a non-starter for the final stage of the 2006 Tour de France. It was his second Tour. He had been in 135th place in the general classification. According to the T-Mobile site: "He heavily crashed [in the Individual Time Trial] at the same place as Christophe Moreau, hitting the barricades and suffered multiple fractures in his hand. "My back is also extremely sore", he told cyclingnews, very frustrated about not finishing a race he enjoyed a lot in the service of Oscar Pereiro."

That left 139 riders to finish the 2006 Tour.

There were five stragglers over the finish line today, who just didn't want the Tour to end!

135 117 HINAULT Sébastien C.A FRA 00' 51"
136 062 AERTS Mario DVL BEL 00' 56"
137 113 CHARTEAU Anthony C.A FRA 01' 46"
138 068 VANSEVENANT Wim DVL BEL 01' 54"

139 166 GARZELLI Stefano LIQ ITA 02' 10"
was the final man riding his bicycle in this year's Tour.

That leaves the final ten places in the Tour unchanged after the Stage 19 Individual Time Trial:

130 135 COYOT Arnaud COF FRA 3h 35' 34"
131 158 MENGIN Christophe FDJ FRA 3h 35' 52"
132 165 CARLSTRÖM Kjell LIQ FIN 3h 35' 53"
133 105 POZZATO Filippo QSI ITA 3h 37' 06"
134 193 COUTOULY Cédric AGR FRA 3h 39' 00"
135 048 WROLICH Peter GST AUT 3h 39' 20"
136 124 HERNANDEZ Aitor EUS ESP 3h 50' 16"
137 067 STEEGMANS Gert DVL BEL 3h 59' 16"
138 133 CASPER Jimmy COF FRA 4h 00' 05"
139 068 VANSEVENANT Wim DVL BEL 4h 02' 01"

So the man who goes down in the history books as the Lanterne Rouge of the 2006 Tour de France is Wim Vansevenant, the Belgian rider on Davitamon-Lotto - the finisher of the Tour who spent the longest time in the saddle competing of any rider. He is pictured (left) in a crash with Salvatore Commesso on the outskirts of Paris.

This year 37 men who began the Tour did not even make it to the finish line (21% of starters), unlike the Lanterne Rouge.

It is notable that the penultimate finisher, Jimmy Casper, finished in the Lanterne Rouge position in the 2001 and 2004 Tours de France.

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