Lance Armstrong wins the 88th Tour de France
The 2001 Tour de France was relatively difficult, with a number of heavy mountain stages, a team time trial and a climbing time trial.
France was ridden 'clockwise', and thus the Alps were visited before the Pyrenees. The Tour started in France, but in the first week Belgium was visited as well. The finish was, as is traditional, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
The great favorite was the winner of 1999 and 2000, the American Lance Armstrong. His major opponent, like last year, would probably be German Jan Ullrich. Other major contenders seemed to be Joseba Beloki from Spain, Christophe Moreau from France and Francesco Casagrande from Italy. Not starting, because their teams were not selected, were Swiss Alex Zülle, Italian climber Marco Pantani and Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini.
Erik Zabel won his record sixth consecutive points classification victory.
Lance Armstrong has won the Tour de France in Paris after more than 88 hours in the saddle over the three weeks of cycling's toughest race.
The American was never in danger of losing his big lead in the overall standings on a final day into Paris that was dominated by the race for the green jersey.
Erik Zabel started the 160 kilometre stage, between Corbeil-Essonnes and the French capital, two points behind Stuart O'Grady in the points classification.
Jan Svorada won the stage on the Champs Elysees, and behind him the German pipped O'Grady into second to win the green jersey by 12 points.
The start of the final day is a celebratory one for the riders.
But for Zabel and O'Grady there were points to be won and they steered clear of the champagne Armstrong sipped in celebration of his victory.
After 28.5 kilometres the pair drew level in the overall standings after the German crossed the line ahead of the Australian in the first intermediate sprint of the stage.
And Zabel repeated the trick after 78 kilometres to open up a four point advantage heading onto the Champs Elysees where the riders completed 10 laps of a 10 kilometre circuit in front of thousands of supporters.
Custom dictates that the leader's team heads the peloton on the first lap, and kitted out in yellow gloves and boots in honour of Armstrong, US Postal duly led the way.
However on the second lap the attacks came and a group of riders broke away.
Over the intervening eight circuits the number of riders at the head of the field fluctuated, but by the bell that heralds the start of the final lap, a group of seven were still out in front.
But the peloton continued to eat into their lead and by the time the finishing line was in sight the sprinters were jockeying for position and the honour of a stage win in Paris.