This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Tour de France finishing on the Champs Elysées for the first time. Apart from the 1989 finish when Greg LeMond overcame his deficit to Laurent Fignon in the final stage time-trial to win the race, arguably the most memorable finish on the famous boulevard was in the 1991 race.
That year, the rider from Uzbekistan, Djamolodine Abdoujaparov, was wearing the green jersey on that final stage. He had already won two stages in the race, the opening stage to Lyon and the fourth stage to Reims. However, on that fourth stage, he had forced Johan Museeuw towards the barriers at the finish.
The Belgian had somehow managed to stay upright, but he was absolutely livid afterwards. Abdoujaparov hung on to the win however, despite the protests. He was a rider who had developed a reputation as somebody who would win at all costs, and that stage win at Reims demonstrated it.
On that final stage to Paris, Abdou was favourite to win the stage. On the finishing straight it seemed like it was all going to plan. Coming into the last few hundred metres, it looked like the stage win would be between him and the German rider Olaf Ludwig.
However, Abdoujaparov somehow managed to collide with the barriers 100m before the finish and he flew into the air. It was a terrible crash and it looked really bad for Abdoujaparov who wasn’t moving. However, he eventually got to his feet. He had held a comfortable lead in the green jersey competition, but would still have to cross the finish line to win the competition.
A few of his Carrera team mates helped him to get on his bike and eventually he made his way across the finish line to claim his green jersey for the first of three times.
The Tashkent Terror retired from the sport in 1997 after failing a drugs test. Undoubtedly, there were a few other sprinters who weren’t disappointed to see him retire.
Here’s footage of that amazing crash.