France is daring to dream that a Frenchman could be wearing the yellow jersey when the Tour de France reaches Paris next weekend – but Thomas Voeckler has to survive the Alps yet.
|Evans is set to become the first Australian to win the Tour after taking the yellow jersey on Saturday [GALLO/GETTY]|
While the Tour de France outcome looks settled in favour of Cadel Evans, sprinters are still under pressure with both a prestigious stage win and the green jersey at stake on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday.
For the most part, the 95km 21st and final stage from Creteil will be a parade on Paris’s most famous avenue with Evans poised to become the Tour’s first Australian winner.
But for Britain’s Mark Cavendish, the points classification leader, much more is up for grabs.
The Manxman has narrowly missed the green jersey in his previous Tours despite ending up the best sprinter by far with 15 stage victories in three years and he has never been so close to reaching his goal.
He has added four stages to his tally in this edition and would reach the 20-mark should he repeat his triumph last year on Paris’ most famous boulevard.
Another intermediate sprint, held as the pack enters the final circuit, will also help decide the battle between the Briton and Spain’s Jose Joaquin Rojas, who trails him by 15 points in the standings.
“A bunch sprint is what we should see. I haven’t got it yet. We have to speak tomorrow,” Cavendish told journalists after Saturday’s time trial in Grenoble.
People in Evans’ home state of Victoria have been urged to wear yellow to work on Monday to celebrate the Australian’s Tour de France victory.
Premier Ted Baillieu said all Victorians would want to celebrate the achievement of Evans, who lives part of the year in the state’s coastal town of Barwon Heads.
Baillieu said he was in discussion with Evans’ family and management about an appropriate official celebration of his tour victory, the first by an Australian.
“He’s a man that causes a lot of fuss but he doesn’t, on a personal basis, make a lot of fuss,” Baillieu said.
“We want to work with Cadel and his family and his management to do something that he can embrace when he returns to Victoria.
“He’s certainly part of the fabric of Victoria and he now always will be.”
The head of the Victorian Institute of Sport, Dave Sanders, said Evans’ tour win would rank as “the greatest individual achievement in Australian sporting history.”
Sanders said the achievement could be compared with Australia winning football’s World Cup.
“For this to happen, I’m making the statement it’s the greatest individual achievement in Australian sporting history and I challenge anybody to put up something against it,” he said.