So many options for this final stage. Who to celebrate? Cavendish for his fifth stage win of the race? Schleck for the grace he has shown in defeat? Petacchi for his green jersey? Anthony Charteau for claiming the king of the mountains? Contador for sneaking the overall victory? Anyone of these would be worthy, but instead I've gone for the last placed rider on general classification, Adriano Milano (judging by the official Lampre photo part of his problem might have been having no bicycle...).
By tradition the last placed rider is called the Lanterne Rouge and in the past riders have gone out of their way to 'win' the title. If that seems odd, then you must understand that it is mainly because the Lanterne Rouge carries it's own mythology which proves helpful in securing the lucrative post-Tour criterium races where riders have traditionally earned much of their crust. Besides which, just finishing a Tour De France is an enormous achievement. Chapeau Adriano, and all the other 170 riders who completed the route this year.
They call the individual time trial the race of truth, and with good reason. Sure,the weather can throw a curve-ball into the results sometimes but generally it's the strongest who wins. I used to hate time trials when I was young. I was always so scrawny and weak, and the wind would blow me every which way (and in the west coast of Scotland it is always windy). Fabian Cancellara I was not.
My champion of the day however is not any of the Tour professionals. Instead it is the young lad I saw riding up Holcombe Down Road out of Dawlish. It's a tough old climb, averaging around 10% I guess, with a very steep section over 20% at the top. Yet there he was, no older than 8 or 9 I reckon, decked out in his oversized HTC jersey battling gamely out of the saddle. Chapeau jeune fils, chapeau!