Richie Porte has secured his first top five result at the Tour de France as the peloton made their way onto the Champs-Elysées for the final stage of the race, which was won in a bunch sprint by Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)
As is tradition, the peloton enjoyed a relaxed start to the 113km stage departing from Chantilly. Marcus Burghardt was part of a short-lived breakaway and Greg Van Avermaet launched an attack, before the sprinters’ teams controlled the final laps on the Champs-Elysées.
Stage 21 wraps up a successful Tour de France for BMC Racing Team. In addition to Porte’s General Classification result, Greg Van Avermaet leaves as winner of stage 5 and with three days in the yellow jersey to add to his palmarès.
Porte not only claimed his best result ever at the Grand Tour, but is the best-placed Australian rider at the race since Cadel Evans’ victory in 2011 with BMC Racing Team, and only the third Australian rider to crack the top five at the Tour de France.
Van Avermaet now holds the record within BMC Racing Team as the rider to wear the yellow jersey for the most number of days, and the first rider to win a stage in two consecutive years.
BMC Racing Team has claimed third place in the Team Classification, a testament to the work of the team around leaders Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Brent Bookwalter: “That’s the Tour de France, pushing yourself to the absolute physical and mental limit. I definitely did that. I started kind of on a rough note but I had awesome support from the team. I’m proud to be finishing in Paris with a great group of guys.”
Marcus Burghardt: “I think it was a pretty good Tour de France for us. I think every rider did a good job and we all came through healthy and with no major crashes, so that’s already important. I think for the team it was a nice success to have the yellow jersey and winning a stage. Being up there on GC with Richie in 5th is great, especially as he could have been on the podium without his bad luck on stage 2. That’s cycling and we can’t change this. I was impressed that he stayed focused after this, which gave me motivation to do my best.”
Damiano Caruso: “For me it was a great Tour de France because I think a did a good job for the team, for our two leaders. I’m happy to be in Paris with Richie in the top five. I think this makes us even more motivated for next year and I’m looking forward to being back here and fighting for the yellow jersey again.”
Amaël Moinard: “We had a big goal to put one of our two leaders on the podium, which we remained focused on throughout the race. Then we had a big bonus with Greg Van Avermaet’s stage win and the yellow jersey for three days, so that was a highlight of July, instead of focusing on Richie Porte’s misfortune. Personally, starting the Tour de France in my home region was something really big. I will remember this for a long time, and it was also nice to be in the breakaway towards the end to try something for our leaders.”
Richie Porte: “Fifth place, although a bit bittersweet, is a great result. I’ll always think about what could have been with the time loss on stage 2, but it makes me even more hungry to back and try and win the yellow jersey. I had a great Tour, I climbed really well, and also had a bit of bad luck. I’m looking forward to coming back and giving it another shot with BMC Racing Team. I had great support from my teammates and all in all, it was a great experience.”
Michael Schär: “It feels like it was three years ago that we were in Normandy for the start of the Tour de France! Once you start it goes very quickly and I had a great time. I think we had a very successful Tour with the yellow jersey, stage win, and top five in GC. Personally, I’m pretty happy with my performance here.”
Greg Van Avermaet: “It’s my most successful Tour de France. I was in the breakaway plenty of times, won a stage and especially I think wearing the yellow jersey for three days was something really special. It’s been a really good Tour de France for me. My first Tour was really hard and I asked myself why did I have to come here. And now it’s a bit different, I’ve had a lot of chances and it couldn’t get any better than this.”
Tejay van Garderen: “It’s been a very memorable three weeks of racing. I was glad to be able to share in all of the successes of the team. My personal goals weren’t really accomplished but I’m certainly proud to be here in Paris with this group of guys.”
Jim Ochowicz: “From day one until Paris we were completely on the offense in the race and we were animating the race. We were focused on the race and never lost our concentration. Throughout all of that we won a stage with Greg, we spent three days in yellow with Greg, we got Richie into fifth place at the end of the race and we were the third best team overall. We won a lot of prizes along the way and we were the best team for 12 days. When you add all of that up and look at what we have been doing compared to our competition, I think everyone has done a great job here and now we’ve got a great foundation to build on and work from for 2017.”
Yvon Ledanois, Sports Director: “I’m really proud to be here in Paris with these eight guys. We can be really happy with the way the guys have raced over the past three weeks. Bad luck aside, fifth place is a good result for Richie, and to have the yellow jersey for three days with Greg was amazing. We had a strong team and this makes us even more motivated for next year.”
Tour de France
Stage 21 Chantilly > Paris (113km)
Top 3: 1. Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), 2. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), 3. Alexander Kristoff (Team Katusha)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 33. Richie Porte, 56. Michael Schär, 57. Brent Bookwalter
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 5. Richie Porte, 22. Damiano Caruso, 29. Tejay van Garderen.