Alberto Contador celebrates his 2009 Tour de France victory
Alberto Contador earned his second Tour de France victory after seeing out the 21st and final stage, won in stunning style by Manxman Mark Cavendish.
Spaniard Contador held off Luxembourg's Andy Schleck with American Lance Armstrong edging out Bradley Wiggins.
Wiggins equalled the best Tour finish by a Briton with his fourth place matching Robert Millar in 1984.
Cavendish's win was his sixth of the 2009 Tour and he became the first Briton to win on the Champs Elysees.
The 24-year-old, who now has 10 Tour stage wins to his name, was an easy winner in Paris.
The Tour is the hardest race in the world, but this year it was particularly difficult. That's why I am so happy
He was led out by his Columbia team-mates George Hincapie and Mark Renshaw and was helped on the final turn when the Garmin team of his rival Tyler Farrar took the wrong line and also blocked Thor Hushovd.
Cavendish was suddenly several metres clear and, with only Renshaw near him, was able to raise his arms to the sky in triumph as he crossed the line.
He was pipped to the green points jersey by Norwegian Hushovd, who finished with 10 more points, but said that winning in Paris was a dream come true.
"I've always wanted to win on the Champs Elysees and the feeling doesn't disappoint," Cavendish said after completing the Tour for the first time at the third attempt.
"To cross the line here in Paris with your hands raised at the front of the pack is every sprinter's dream and I wanted it so bad.
"The team rode so well again. George went and just smoked everyone, then Mark came and I went past him."
"I'm happy with six stages, but next year I'll be fitter and stronger and hopefully the green jersey will come with that."
Italy's Franco Pellizotti won the polka dot jersey for the best climber while Contador's victory kept the Spanish flag flying high on the Champs Elysees as it followed triumphs for Oscar Pereiro in 2006, himself in 2007 and Carlos Sastre last year.
Cavendish became the first Briton to win on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
The 26-year-old proved to be the strongest rider in the mountains and in the time trials, beating Andy Schleck by four minutes 11 seconds with seven-time champion Armstrong another one minute and 23 seconds back, 37 seconds ahead of Wiggins.
After almost 3,500km of racing over 21 stages in three weeks, Sunday's stage was a victory parade for Contador, who toasted his win with champagne as the peloton rode into Paris.
And Contador, who missed last year's Tour after Astana were not invited because of their past doping record, spoke of his joy at claiming his second victory.
"It was a tough tour and hard one to overcome but it brings me great honour and joy to record victory this year," he said.
"There was always a risk I could lose right up until the end, but I held on.
"The Tour is the hardest race in the world, but this year it was particularly difficult. That's why I am so happy."
Contador's success over the past three weeks was often overshadowed by criticism from his Astana team-mate Armstrong and the Spaniard admitted it had made his victory all the more difficult.
"This Tour was very difficult as you could see and although it sometimes seems easy on television it wasn't because of other factors," added Contador.
"I will enjoy this second Tour win as if it was a double victory.
"The only thing I can tell you is that I will be here next year with a team that has the most secure guarantees and that is the most focused on winning this race.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.