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The scenic finish can't hide the ugly journey

Updated: July 27, 2008, 6:27 PM ET
By Bonnie D. Ford | ESPN.com

PARIS -- One of the most timeless moments in the Tour de France comes after the three-week endurance test is over and the teams slowly parade up and around the long, cobblestoned sweep of the Champs-Elysees, where the top sprinters in the peloton just finished trying to beat each others' brains out.

No matter what the weather is throughout the final Sunday, this ritual always seems to unfold in a dreamy silver haze with dusk falling on the broad avenue that was a battleground ...

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