July 22, 2006

Landis to lead Tour Champs-Elysees parade

By Jean-Paul Couret

MONTCEAU-LES-MINES, France (Reuters) - Only a cruel twist
of fate can stop Floyd Landis from playing the leading part in
the Champs-Elysees parade which marks the end of the 93rd Tour
de France on Sunday.

With a lead of 59 seconds over Spaniard Carlos Pereiro and
1:44 over German Andreas Kloeden, the American could be
forgiven for starting the celebrations early.

The last stage will also be a lap of honor for green and
polka-dot jerseys holders Robbie McEwen of Australia and
Michael Rasmussen of Denmark who have unassailable leads in the
best sprinters and best climbers standings.

On the 154.5-km course, the mood of the race will quickly
change as relief and relaxation give way to tension as the
peloton approaches Paris.

Some riders will take the last opportunity to shine by
breaking away during the eight laps that will also take the
riders on the Quai des Tuileries, Rue de Rivoli and Place de la

Since the Champs-Elysees became the scene of the Tour
finale in 1975 the last stage has often been decided in a bunch
sprint and McEwen has already two wins to his name in 1999 and