Paris – In an almost storybook ending, Marcel Kittel won the final stage of the 2013 Tour de France on the world’s most famed boulevard, the Champs-Elysees.
After what some (not us) would call an improbable three stage wins to that point, it was fair to say that the team had already realized its goal of a successful 100th edition in this most glorious of cycling and sporting events.
Stage 21 began with it’s usual parade though the streets of Paris before settling in for 10 laps around the Champs-Elysees. As it moved to five to go, all the sprint teams had amassed towards the front, and with two to go the speeds where already estimated at 70kph(+). The Argos-Shimano team rode in textbook fashion with two guys right at the front and the rest carefully cocooned around Marcel. As the race entered it’s final corners Marcel had been ushered up the left hand side and going into the very last right hander, it was clearly going to be critical to be in the top-5 to have any chance at the finish, just 300m away. Marcel came into the corner third and with 250m to go launched for the line. It was a long one and both Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish each tried to come by, but Marcel was simply too strong and fast.
The victory capped a truly amazing race for both Team Argos-Shimano and Felt. For the team, clearly the highlights center on Marcel’s four stage wins. However, other key stage results included a 2nd by John Degenkolb, a 3rd by Marcel, a 6th and a 9th by Tom Dumoulin, and a 7th by Simon Geschke. And, while they may not have come inside the top-10 on any given stage, the teamwork, protection and sacrifice of Koen de Kort, Tom Veelers, Roy Curvers, Albert Timmer and Johannes Frohlinger cannot be overstated. Four wins plus five additional top-10’s — just incredible for this young team. Finally, for Felt, even with all the major wins accrued over the years including the World Championships (tri, road, track, mtn), Olympic gold, Vuelta and Giro wins, major Spring one-day’s, we’d never won at the Tour prior to this year. Wow.
It’s been an amazing July and we look to forward to August and beyond!