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The London-Paris Stage 3 + Video

by Henry Peacock

The London-Paris 2012 has come to an end. After an epic Three Stage ride, all 450 riders from the seven speed groups came together for the final 40km ride into Paris. Rolling road closures, 65 motorbike outriders, Skoda lead vehicles and the Police Nationale led the beautifully flowing peloton along the final stretch of the iconic cobbles to the Arc de Triomphe and then to the Eiffel Tower.

Onlookers in Paris sounded their horns and cheered as the 1km long peloton passed, led by the hand cyclists and cycling legends Stephen Roche and Maurizio Fondriest. The riders worked together to finish the 507km ride and the event climaxed in an emotional finish with friends and family and flowing champagne.

The Peloton Passes a Typically Picturesque French Village

Stage Three started in Amiens and headed 168.25km south to Paris. The ride before lunch was a long 120km, with the following 40km being cycled as one peloton. The weather shone down on the riders on the final stage - a complete contrast to the previous two stages and excitement filled the air.This year Triple Crown Winner, Stephen Roche, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his victory. To mark the occasion he cycled into Paris on his restored Battaglin bike; the very same bike he cycled down the Champs-Élysée to win the 1987 Tour de France.

Motorbike Outriders Leading The Peloton Into Paris

The riders contended for the Yellow, Green and Red jerseys in the flagged time sections. After only two years of riding, Greg Mansell started Stage Three in the Yellow Jersey and finishes The London-Paris as the overall fastest rider. Greg Mansell also takes home the Green Jersey as the fastest sprinter of The London-Paris 2012. Professional German National mountain-biker Karl Platt held on to the Red Jersey for the start of Stage Three and goes home as king of the climbs, with an impressive win on all three stages. Annette Loubser beat the other ladies to the finish, claiming the Pink Jersey in 2012 and taking it from the former Pink Jersey holder Tanja Slater.A record number of teams competed in The London-Paris this year. Of the 35 teams, the overall win went to SIS, followed by City Index.

The 450 Strong Peloton Cycles The Cobbles of Paris on the Home Straight, Including Stephen Roche, Maurizio Fondriest and Karl Platt

Nigel Mansell and the UK Youth team crossed the finish line after an ambitious 1,350 mile non-stop ride from John O'Groats to The London-Paris start-line and onto Paris, raising money for UK Youth. Most impressive of all was group seven, the hand cyclists, who battled through terrible weather conditions and the undulating French countryside to complete The London-Paris. The hand cyclist team is aiming to raise £500,000 for The Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust.This year's London-Paris sees professional cyclists Karl Platt, Magnus Backstedt and Colin Lynch and legends, Stephen Roche and Maurizio Fondriest cycling in group one. Other sporting stars in this year's peloton include Nigel Mansell, Joel Stransky, Will Carling, John Salako and Geoff Thomas. Irish World Champion runner, Sonia O'Sullivan also rode The London-Paris 2012, moving from group three to group one on the last day, showing her cycling prowess.

The HotChillee 2012 Ride Captains At The Finish

The riders celebrated with a special gala dinner in Paris hosted by David Harmon. The Chazal Leaders' Jerseys were presented and speeches were given by legends Nigel Mansell, Stephen Roche and Maurizio Fondriest. There was also an auction for charity and a band and party into the early hours.

A video of stage 3 is shown below: