The peloton finally made it to the last stretch of the Tour, the Champs Elysées, around four in the afternoon. They came tearing down the boulevard, made a turn right in front of the Arc de Triomphe, and then went right back up the boulevard. Eight times. It's lucky for me they came by eight times, because they go faaaast! I'd have been hard pressed to draw them if they only came by once. The gendarmes, of course, looked less than impressed.
One of the cool things about the spot I'd picked is that after the race, the bikers all came down to have their team picture in front of the Arc. Before they made their tired way back to the bus, they came over to the crowd to shake hands and sign autographs. Since I was standing in a very, ahem, vocal section of the crowd, several bikers came by to soak up some love, which was my chance to make a few portraits.
Alberto Contador was the overall winner, and the proud wearer of the coveted yellow jersey. He looked exhausted, but found a smile for the crowd.
This is Andy Charteau, the King of the Mountains, in his polka-dot jersey.
And here's Andy Schleck in the white jersey that signifies him as the best young rider. He was favored to win through much of the race, until his brother and racing partner Frank broke his collarbone and had to pull out. Without Frank on his team, pushing him, Andy just couldn't get it done. Here's an interview (it's in English, so just keep watching past the introduction) from the middle of the 2009 tour. The circumstances of their near-win and Frank's accident earned my sympathy, but their fraternal devotion and charm made me a fan. Better luck next year, guys!
And here's an interview with the ultimate team player and my favorite biker ever, Jens Voigt. Around the 1:27 mark, you can hear what he says to his body when he's in the middle of a race. Hysterical!