Laurent Fignon won the 70th Tour de France cycling classic today in a sprint finish down the Champs Elysees as thousands of fans lined the street to cheer the hometown favorite.
Fignon, 22, never was considered a top threat for the world's most prestigious cycling title when the 2,230-mile race began in Paris on July 1. The Parisian took the lead in the race Monday when countryman Pascal Simon withdrew after fracturing his shoulder blade.
Since then, Fignon, who turned pro only last year after dropping out of veterinary school, had built a commanding lead that was increased Saturday when he won his first leg in the 22-leg race.
"I surprised myself several times during this year's Tour de France," Fignon said after his second professional victory. "I accomplished feats I wouldn't have thought possible before. I think it's wonderful that I won the tour the first time I competed in it."
He finished the tour with a combined time of 105 hours 7 minutes 52 seconds. Spain's Angel Arroyo was second, 4:04 later, while Dutchman Peter Winnen finished third, 4:09 behind Fignon.
The final leg was over a 121-mile course from Alfortville to Paris. Switzerland's Guilbert Glaus clocked 5:30.56 to win the last leg in a sprint finish with second-place Sean Kelly of Ireland. Eugene Urbany was third one second later and Fignon finished fourth in the same time with a pack of 76 riders.
Jonathan Boyer of the United States finished 12th, 19:57 behind the winner.
The final day of the tour was marred by the announcement that two more riders had failed drug tests. The test results in the 17th and 18th legs for Frenchmen Jacques Bossis and Didier Vanoverschelde brought to six the number of riders who have failed such tests during this year's race. The type of drugs they had used were not disclosed.
As with the four other riders who failed drug tests, the two Frenchmen were given 10-minute penalties in the overall standings, fined 1,100 Swiss francs ($518) and given a suspended one-month suspension from cycling.
At the end of race, President Francois Mitterrand addressed two telegrams of congratulations. One was to Fignon and another to Simon.