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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 July 2006, 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK
Stage 20 as it happened
Thor Hushovd finishes the tour as he started - with a stage win, after out-sprinting Robbie McEwen.

The Norwegian won the prologue time trial in Strasbourg, and today timed his surge to the line to perfection.

The green-jersey holder McEwen came a little too wide round the last bend and left himself too much to do when he made an early sprint for the win.

Floyd Landis finished comfortably in the peloton to secure a famous victory in the first post-Armstrong Tour.


By Andy Nicolson

1652: Robbie McEwen makes his break from the line not long after coming around the corner from the Place de la Concorde, but he goes too soon and is overtaken in the last half kilometre by Thor Hushovd.

Result of stage 20:
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor/C.A) 3 hours 56 mins 52 secs
2. Robbie McEwen (Aus/DVL)
3. Stuart O'Grady (Aus/CSC)
4. Erik Zabel (Ger/MRM)
5. Luca Paolini (Ita/LIQ)

1647: The jostling for tactical positions has begun, with the Discovery team moving up to the front en masse as the peloton are rung in to the final lap.

Teams like Robbie McEwen's Davitamon are deliberately keeping the pace high to minimise the potential for breaks, and to give their man the best chance of a bunch sprint.

1640: The break is over with two laps - around 12km - of the Champs-Elysees left.

1635: The breakaway is down to six riders now, and despite David Millar trying to encourage more effort from the other riders, they look set to be swept up shortly.

1627: David Millar is one of the 15 riders in the breakaway, but the gap has been cut to 20 seconds by an organised peloton.

Riders in the breakaway are looking over their shoulders, trying to sense if it's worth trying to stay away

1625: The Cofidis riders have come to the front of the peloton to begin to chase down the breakaway group, in an attempt to lead out Jimmy Casper or perhaps even Bradley Wiggins.

Three Liquigas riders have joined Cofidis at the head of the peloton, as the teams realise that they need to bring the breakaway back sooner rather later.

1615: With just over 30km left, the breakaway group has grown to around 15 riders, and have established a 30-second gap over the peloton.

1610: Fabian Wegmann and Thomas Voeckler are giving it a go now on the third lap of the Champs, and have been joined by Jens Voigt.

Damiano Cunego, leading in the white jersey competition for the best young rider, has punctured but is being helped back up to the peloton by three of his Lampre team-mates.

1605: Hernandez's break didn't last long, and now on the second of nine laps around the Champs-Elysees, the attacks are coming thick and fast.

1600: The attacks have begun; Aitor Hernandez has pulled away to establish a gap of about 50m, but is finding it tough to maintain as the Phonak team lead the bunch after him.

1555: Viatceslav Ekimov pulls away briefly at the start of the Champs-Elysees to wave to the crowd, signifying that, after 15 Tours, this will be his last.

Ekimov rejoins the peloton as it heads up the cobblestone Champs to L'Arc de Triomph.

1548: The peloton passes the Eiffel Tower on the other side of the river at the 56.5km mark. The riders are alongside the Tuileries gardens, almost at the Champs-Elysees.

1540: Robbie McEwen and Wim Vansevenant move away from the head of the peloton to contest the first sprint of the day, with McEwen giving his Davitamon team-mate a friendly push across the line into first place.

1535: They're skirting round the Bois de Boulogne now, to the south of the city centre and, as the Phonak team move again to the front, it's beginning to look as if tradition will be observed by allowing the yellow jersey team to lead the first pass up the Champs-Elysees.

1526: The peloton crosses the Seine and swings to the right to run alongside the river towards the city centre and, as if on cue, the sun bursts through the clouds to welcome the riders into the last 70km.

1522: There are big crowds lining the Parisian streets as the sun struggles to make an appearance in the Asnieres-sur-Seine district of the French capital. Gilberto Simoni and Riccardo Ricco of the Saunier Duval team are now leading as the field enters the final 75km.

1513: Victor Hugo Pena is first to the summit of the climb, followed by Franck Schleck in second and David Arroyo in third.

1510: The rainbow of colours that make up the peloton begins the ascent of the category four climb up the Mont Valerien, where the last points of the 2006 race will be awarded to the first three riders over the top.

1505: With about 5km to the second climb of the day, the riders are now parallel to the River Seine, as they head towards the centre of Paris.

1500: The crowds are growing on the Champs-Elysees, with large numbers of Americans and Australians awaiting the arrival of their heroes - Floyd Landis and Robbie McEwen.

Meanwhile, the average pace in the peloton has increased marginally from the 32.0km/h to 34.0km/h.

1455: Another comfort break for about 20 riders who line up against a convenient wall, watched by somewhat bemused locals. Let's hope the owner of the property isn't amongst them!

1449: They're inside the last 100km, weaving their way nonchalantly through the leafy, residential streets of Les Etangs.

1441: Continuing the light-hearted spirit of the day, American Levi Leipheimer breaks away at the head of the peloton before pulling up at the side of the road, dismounting and joining the watching public in applauding Floyd Landis and the other riders, before getting back on his bike to rejoin the race.

1435: The peloton is in the town of Jouy-en-Josas, having ambled through the first 50km without any hint of attacking intent from any team or rider.

1428: Swedish rider Gustav Larsson of the Francaises des Jeux team has to make a quick rear wheel change after a puncture; possibly the most notable occurrence of the stage so far!

1417: Michael Rasmussen secures an uncontested first place over the top of the climb, adding another three points to his King of the Mountains total, which now stands at 166. Koos Moerenhout followed in second place (two points), ahead of Bert Grabsch in third (one point).

1415: As the riders begin the ascent, Michael Rasmussen moves up the field to join the Phonak team at the front. The climb is a short one, just 1.4km long with an average gradient of 5.6 percent.

1405: Phonak team-mates Nicolas Jalabert and Axel Merckx - son of the famous Eddy - are taking turns at the front as the peloton approaches the first climb of the day, the Cote de Gif-sur-Yvette.

1355: 125km to race and the pace is still casual. The first lap of the Champs-Elysees is at the 102.5km mark, with first climb around 10km ahead.

1345: The Phonak team are leading the field under the grey skies of the Parisian suburbs, with 25km covered, but the weather hasn't detered the locals, who have turned out in force in the residential areas.

1330: 15km in and the riders are laughing and chatting amongst themselves, happy to smile for and wave at the cameras. Whilst catching up with the peloton after his break, Floyd Landis manages a sip of champagne from his team car.

1320: The peloton is at the 10km mark, cruising towards Paris and still enjoying the relaxed start to the stage.

1310: The stage has barely begun and Floyd Landis pulls over at the side of the road for a comfort break. Several other riders also decide to take the opportunity until there's a line of a dozen or more riders watering the verge.

1255: Race director Jean-Marie Leblanc drops the flag and they're off. Floyd Landis, Oscar Pereiro and Andreas Kloden lead out at the front of the peloton, in the positions they're likely to finish on the podium in Paris.

1250: The peloton is in the neutral zone close to the site of the official start. Conditions are warm though a little cloudy for the final stage which features two category-four climbs, at Cote de Gif-sur-Yvette (at the 43.5km mark) and the Mont-Valerien (at 72.0km).

While Robbie McEwen will finish in the green jersey, Michael Rasmussen will win the polka-dot, King of the Mountains jersey for a second successive year.

The traditionally festive mood of the final stage is on display in the neutral zone with Juan Antonio Flecha wearing a cardboard cut-out of an image of Fabian Wegmann's face as the riders approach the start.

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