Alberto Contador emerged as the new cycling boss on Sunday when the Spaniard wrapped up his second Tour de France title on the Champs-Elysees on Lance Armstrong's return to the race.
The 26-year-old Contador stayed safe in the main bunch as the last stage, over 164 km from Montereau Fault-Yonne, went to Briton Mark Cavendish.
"I am really happy. It was an especially difficult Tour for me but that's why I am enjoying the victory all the more," Contador said on the podium.
Cavendish outsprinted Columbia team mate Mark Renshaw of Australia and American Tyler Farrar to clinch his sixth stage win in this year's race.
"I wanted so bad to reach Paris, my team mates helped me to this," said Cavendish.
"And winning on the Champs-Elysees... All my dreams come true."
Over three weeks, Contador proved the strongest rider in the mountains and in the time trials, beating Luxembourg's Andy Schleck by four minutes 11 seconds for the overall victory.
Seven-times champion Armstrong, back from 3-1/2 years in retirement, finished third overall 5:24 off the pace.
Schleck, who also took the white jersey for the best under-25 rider, said: "He (Contador) was the strongest rider. He is the boss of the peloton."
Norway's Thor Hushovd clinched the green jersey for the points classification and Italy's Franco Pellizotti won the polka dot jersey for the best climber.
Contador's victory kept the Spanish flag flying high on the Champs-Elysees following triumphs for Oscar Pereiro in 2006, himself in 2007 and Carlos Sastre last year.
Contador, who missed last year's Tour after Astana were not invited because of their past doping record, took the overall leader's yellow jersey with a strong attack in the first Alpine stage in Verbier, Switzerland.
It was the ninth Tour title for Astana's Belgian team manager Johan Bruyneel, who masterminded Armstrong's seven victories on the three-week race.
Armstrong stayed in contention for almost two weeks but he discovered his limits in the Alps and in the final time trial in Annecy.
Britain had an exciting year on the Tour, with Cavendish snatching six stages and Bradley Wiggins finishing fourth overall.