Danish rider Jonas Vingegaard wins second Tour de France
Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard has won the Tour de France for a second successive year after the traditional finish in Paris.
With a huge lead built up over main rival Tadej Pogacar, the 2020 and 2021 winner, Vingegaard knew the victory was effectively his again before the largely ceremonial stage at the end of the 110th edition of the Tour.
The 26-year-old Vingegaard drank champagne with his Jumbo-Visma teammates as they lined up together and posed for photos on the way to Paris.
"It's been a long journey, yet it went by so fast," Vingegaard said.
"Day after day, it was a super-hard race with a super-nice fight between me and Tadej. I've enjoyed every day. I hope to come back next year and see if I can take a third win."
It had been a three-week slog over 3405 kilometres, with eight mountain stages across five mountain ranges. Vingegaard seized control of the race over two stages in the Alps.
Little had separated the two rivals until Vingegaard finished a time trial one minute, 38 seconds ahead of Pogacar on Tuesday, and followed up the next day by finishing the toughest mountain stage of the race almost six minutes clear of his exhausted rival.
"I'm dead," UAE Team Emirates rider Pogacar said after that brutal loss.
The Slovenian responded by winning the penultimate stage on Saturday, but Vingegaard still had an insurmountable lead of seven minutes, 29 seconds going into the final stage - a mostly ceremonial procession which is contested at the end by the sprinters.
"We have to be careful not to do anything stupid," Vingegaard warned on Saturday. "But it's amazing to take my second victory in the Tour de France."
Vingegaard kept that lead and was able to celebrate early on Sunday as race organisers decided to take the times one lap before the finish as rain made the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees treacherous.
Bora-Hansgrohe's Jai Hindley finished as the highest-ranked Australian, ending in seventh place overall after a consistent Tour.
His fellow countrymen Chris Harper (Team Jayco AlUla) and Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroen) were 16th and 17th respectively.
The only remaining uncertainty was the final sprint, with Belgium's Jordi Meeus prevailing in a photo finish between four riders on the line, just ahead of Jasper Philipsen, Dylan Groenewegen and Mads Pedersen.
Sam Welsford (14th) had the best finish among the Australian riders on the final stage.
Pogacar, 24, has won the best young rider classification every year since 2020 but had to be content with second place in the general classification.
British rider Adam Yates, Pogacar's teammate, finished third overall, ahead of his twin brother Simon.
HOW AUSTRALIA'S RIDERS FARED AT THE TOUR DE FRANCE
7. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe)
16. Chris Harper (Team Jayco AlUla)
17. Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroen)
28. Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious)
39. Nick Schultz (Israel-Premier Tech)
46. Chris Hamilton (Team DSM-Firmenich)
58. Matthew Dinham (Team DSM-Firmenich)
109. Simon Clarke (Israel-Premier Tech)
130. Luke Durbridge (Team Jayco-AlUla)
144. Sam Welsford (Team DSM-Firmenich)
146. Alex Edmondson (Team DSM-Firmenich)
*Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny) withdrew after stage 13.