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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Racewatch: Le Tour stage 21
Stage 21 in profile

Lance Armstrong has sealed a seventh successive Tour de France victory after a captivating final stage in Paris.

Organisers decided to stop the race clock after the first of eight laps through the streets of Paris on Sunday because of the dire weather.

That meant Armstrong only had to complete the course to pick up his seventh Tour win.

Alexandre Vinokourov, though, took the stage win after flying off defying the sprinters in the final 1km.

Click refresh for latest updates (all times BST):

1626: In a breathtaking finale, Vinokourov defies the odds and the sprinters to win stage 21 - arguably the most prolific in this year's race. Armstrong completes the race coolly with a simple smile to his girlfriend Sheryl Crow and his three children, who are all there to watch him.

1625: There is just 1km left of the Tour de France. It seems like it's now only between Vinokourov and McGee. Remarkable stuff.

1624: With 2km left, Vinokourov still leads. But he is joined by Brad McGee.

1623: It's chaotic scenes on the road in the final 3km as everyone jockeys for position for their final stabe at glory. Amid that Brochard and Vinokourov try to break clear. Some stunning racing.

1622: Rubens Bertogliati takes the lead but, almost as soon as he does, he is sucked right back up. There are 4km to go.

1621: Cedric Vasseur tries to give France something to cheer about with a late break. It hardly lasts a minute though.

1620: The bell goes for the final lap. That means there's just 6.5km to go of this year's Tour de France.

1619: Everyone's reunited. There are gritted teeth and pained faces galore throughout the peloton. Armstrong, though, is still chatting to those around him, looking up at the crowds and seeming without a care in the world.

1616: Horner and Tankink stay 10 seconds ahead. It's a remarkable achievement considering the flurry of chasing activity behind them.

1612: The race is being upped with every pedal turn, thanks partly to the drying roads. There are two laps remaining - 13km in total. Armstrong is comfortably sitting in the heart of the pack and looking ice cool.

1609: Davitamon-Lotto, McEwen's team, come back to the front of the peloton. Cofidis, Stuart O'Grady's team, are also sharing the honours.

1607: The two leaders, Horner and Tankink, are setting an impressive tempo. They've almost got 20 seconds out on the rest with 17km left.

1602: Chris Horner and Bram Tankink are the latest two foraging off the front. They pull 100 metres clear. You get the impression they won't stay out for long.

1559: The riders are all reunited... for now. But they're virtually in single file all the way down the road such is the pace.

1556: There are three laps left of Paris - 26km. The 10-man breakaway are about 15 seconds behind.

1553: There are now 10 riders out front. They include Jerome Pineau and Christophe Brandt. But Robbie McEwen's team-mates, including Cadel Evans, have moved to the front of the peloton to aid their man's cause. They're now going about 50km/h.

1547: The rain has stopped for now but it's still pretty wet out there on the streets of Paris. Albasini is swamped by the peloton but this only leads to the latest break - on this occasion Servais Knaven.

1542: With 40km left to go, Andriy Grivkov and Michael Albasini hold a marginal lead over the rest - about eight seconds.

1540: There's a few more crashes. Fabian Weggman looks the worst off in the latest. He is screaming and shouting at anyone who will listen to him. Da Cruz also comes to a halt.

1537: Carlos da Cruz launches his customary daily attack. He is joined in his foray by eight other riders.

1534: Vinokourov had intended to launch himself for the time bonus at the second intermediate sprint but the organisers have scrapped that too. Vino, therefore, will have to make do with sixth overall.

1532: Armstrong has effectively won the Tour de France now after the race clock was stopped (see 1520 entry). He still has to complete the rest of the stage before he can celebrate his seventh Tour win.

1525: The noise from the supporters in Paris is monumental. The rain doesn't seem to have affected their enthusiasm for this sporting spectacle.

1520: The time for the overall standings will now be decided after the first of eight laps around Paris. Race organisers decided conditions were too poor and the risk too great to Armstrong and the leading contenders. The peloton, though, still have to ride competitively for the eight laps.

1512: The riders are now in Paris. The Eiffel Tower is in full view now.

1510: There's a big crash as a series of the Discovery riders slide off their bikes. Among the fallers are George Hincapie and Yaroslav Popovych. Armstrong just avoids ploughing into them as well. Moments later all the riders are back in action and the pace is slowed down by the peloton to allow everyone to catch up.

1505: The first intermediate sprint of the day is not, in fact, dominated by the sprinters at all. Alexandre Vinokourov breaks with Levi Leipheimer and just edges the American. As a result of the time bonus he gains, he is merely a fraction of a second behind Leipheimer in the overall standings. The sprint result is:
1. Alexandre Vinokourov (TMO) 6pts and six seconds
2. Levi Leipheimer (GST) 4pts/4"
3. Fabian Wegmann (GST) 2pts/2"

1455: There's 19km left before the riders enter Paris for their laps of the city circuit. Armstrong is currently bedecked in the 82nd yellow jersey of his Tour career. Only Eddy Merckx, with 111, boasts more.

1450: There's been another crash in the peloton. The main figure affected this time is Luke Roberts. He looks a bit miffed by the whole experience but saddles up and rejoins the action in no time at all.

1438: Appropriately, Armstrong goes over the last ascent of the Tour - the Cote de Gif-sur-Yvette - in front. He gets three points in the king of the mountains competition for his efforts. The results are:
1. Lance Armstrong (DSC) 3pts
2. Peter Wrolich (GST) 2pts
3. Christophe Moreau (CA) 1pt

1432: Armstrong and Basso, said to be good friends, are chatting at the front of the race. But niceties will be put aside in a minute ahead of the category-four Cote de Gif-sur-Yvette. It's the last climb of this year's race - a relief to a lot of the riders now doubt.

1417: The breaks that are certain to follow later on have yet to materialise. That doesn't seem to have quietened the number of fans on the roads. They're out in force once more... and very vocal.

1403: The first official award of the race has just been handed out - the Prix Orange - for the most forthcoming rider in the photographers' view. This year it is shared between Carlos de la Cruz and Walter Beneteau.

1353: The banter is rife in the peloton today. There's congratulations and joking all round among the others, much out of a sense of relief for many of them rather than anything else.

1342: There's a few jitters in the rain, which sees Alexandre Moos come off his bike. He doesn't bring anyone down with him and, unhurt, is back racing in no time at all. It probably won't be the last crash of the day.

1331: There's glass clinking all over the place. Armstrong and his Discovery Channel team move to the front of the peloton, with a glass of champers each in hand.

1322: Armstrong unsurprisingly is in relaxed mood. When asked by a camera crew where he planned to go after the Tour, he said: "the retirement home".

1303: For once in this race, the pace is very slow. The riders look happy to gently weave their way through the drizzle in the early part of the stage. That will all change come Paris.

1254: There are a total of 155 riders still in action. Four hours and 20 minutes separate Armstrong in the top spot and last-placed rider Iker Flores.

1241: The racing is under way for the day. While Armstrong's seventh win is effectively decided, the battle is still on for the green jersey. Thor Hushovd is the current wearer but he faces tough competition from Robbie McEwen and Stuart O'Grady.

1230: The riders are in the neutral zone now. Armstrong has 144km between him and a record Tour win.

1202: Discovery Channel sporting director Sean Yates said this morning Armstrong had the ability to "go on forever".

1040: The rain has just cleared in Paris after a miserable start to the day. Lance Armstrong will hope it stays dry from now on as he looks to clinch his seventh win in the world's greatest cycling race. An accident on a slippery course is arguably the only obstacle between him and victory.



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