Tour of records for BORA - hansgrohe: Peter Sagan makes Tour de France history with Maillot Vert number seven while Emanuel Buchmann takes GC fourth
128km, two categorised climbs and one intermediate sprint was all that separated the peloton from Paris. Rolling out from Rambouillet three weeks after the start of the race in Brussels, the number of points available today meant that there could be no change in the standings for the polka dot and green jerseys, and so the stage would be what has become a ceremonial ride into France’s capital for the race’s finale. Once the riders arrived on the Champs-Élysées though, it was a whole different story, with the sprinters pushing to take the glory after a little more than eight laps of the city circuit in front of the huge crowds on the Tour de France’s final day.
The flag dropped on the sunny afternoon, allowing the peloton to make its way north-east to Paris, the roadsides filled with fans to wave and cheer on the riders. Before the pace went up, it was a chance for everyone in the peloton to remember the past three weeks of racing – if the tan lines and the aching legs weren’t reminders enough. For BORA - hansgrohe, it had been an exceptional race, both individually and as a team. On every single road stage, the BORA - hansgrohe ‘Band of Brothers’ had worked together to protect their GC leader, Emanuel Buchmann, and to get Peter Sagan into position for the sprint finishes, in which he took one on stage 5. Marcus Burghardt was consistently on the front of the peloton to drive the pace on almost every stage, while the team also took the opportunity to jump in the break, with Patrick Konrad, Daniel Oss, Maximilian Schachmann and Lukas Pöstlberger each making an impact in the escape, with Gregor Mühlberger coming close to taking the victory on stage 12. For Emanuel, this was one of the best ever GC performances in the Tour de France for a German rider, and having steadily improved year by year, his fourth position this year was the 26-year-old’s career-best Grand Tour finish. Not content with exceeding his own record for the most days in any classifications jersey and equalling the record for the number of green jerseys won last year, Peter Sagan took a record-breaking seventh Maillot Vert – beating the record of Erik Zabel that had stood for eighteen years.
Setting a lazy pace over the first 40km, the photographers and TV crews had plenty of time to get shots of the jersey winners and their bikes – including Peter Sagan’s special edition Specialized Venge – but while a rider would occasionally push away off the front, the peloton was always together. As the day went on and the sun started dipping lower on the horizon, the country roads gave way to city streets as the race hit Paris. Celebrating one of Paris’ most famous landmarks by passing through the Cour Carrée, Cour Napoléon and by the Louvre Museum, the riders were given a close-up view of the Pyramide du Louvre, before hitting the Place de la Concorde. Here, on familiar territory, the race was on as the eight laps circling the Arc de Triomphe began. Several attempts to break away came as the crowds cheered the racers on, but with the average speed in the bunch 60kmh, this was tough. Finally, a group of four managed to ride off the front, their advantage topping out at thirty seconds, but with so little time to build a lead and the peloton’s pace so high, it was going to be hard to make it last. The escape brought back just before the bell rang to signal the start of the final lap, it was full speed ahead for the finish. The green jersey of Peter Sagan was staying safe in the bunch as they rounded the Arc de Triomphe for the final time and the high speeds stretched out the peloton to the point it was barely together. Coming across the finish line in 10th position on the Champs-Élysées, Peter had already taken the victory today with his record breaking seventh green jersey, while Emanuel Buchmann made it official – crossing the line with the sprinters to confirm BORA - hansgrohe’s best ever Grand Tour GC position.
01 C. Ewan 3:04:08
02 D Groenewegen +0:00
03 N. Bonifazio +0:00
10 P. Sagan +0:00
General classification Tour de France 2019
01 E. Bernal 82:57:00
02 G. Thomas +1:11
03 S. Kruijswijk +1:31
04 E. Buchmann +1:56
05 J. Alaphilippe +4:05
From the Finish Line
"I need one or two weeks to realise what has happened over the last three weeks. To be one of the top 5 in the Tour de France is unbelievable. I always thought that something like this could be possible but, at the Tour de France, mistakes are not allowed. Thankfully, I made it, even when I was on the limit at the end. This fourth place overall was the optimum; Bernal, Thomas and Kruijswijk were too strong. I need to calm down now to enjoy all these moments. I would be happy if this success motivates young adults and kids to start cycling too and join a club. Furthermore, I want to say thank you to Ralph Denk and BORA-hansgrohe. Together we worked so hard in the last couple of years. Today we can celebrate this hard work." – Emanuel Buchmann
"To wear the green jersey on the podium of the Champs-Elysées is a privilege and an honour, even more so when it is for a record-breaking seventh time. I'd like to thank everybody in the team, our management, the staff, the sports directors, the riders, we all worked hard to achieve this. We had a very good Tour de France and we showed that each year we progress as a team, we get stronger. However, nothing of this would have been possible without the support of our sponsors that believe in us and have been by our side in the most difficult moments and now in this moment of happiness and glory. I will now take a few days off and then continue to work for the upcoming goals of the final part of the season." – Peter Sagan
"It was a perfect Tour de France for us. We achieved all our goals, a stage win, the green jersey and we even exceeded them with Emanuel’s fourth place on the GC, as we came into the race looking to have a rider in the top ten. I am so proud for two reasons; Peter has won his seventh Maillot Vert, a record which we helped set up, and Emanuel’s fourth place. He is a rider who grew up in our team and who gently developed together with us. We were already top in the sprints and Classic races and this season we showed that we have also improved in the stage races. This Tour was the perfect proof of that. We will enjoy this success but we won’t rest because we still have a lot of goals and we will do everything to improve. I hope after this success cycling will see a resurgence in popularity in Germany. Cycling would deserve it." – Ralph Denk, Team Manager