Eurosport - Sun, 25 Jul 17:07:00 2010
HTC-Columbia's Cavendish beat Julian Dean (Garmin-Transitions) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) with an emphatic dash to the line to become the first rider in Tour history to win successive stages on the Champs Elysees.
It was the Briton's fifth stage victory on this year's race - but not enough to move ahead of Petacchi at the top of the green jersey standings.
Spaniard Contador (Astana) finished safely in the pack to secure a second successive Tour victory - the third of his career.
"It's been very hard for me psychologically and I am so happy today. This is a very important victory for me," Contador told fans from the podium in Paris.
Contador, who won both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana in 2008, is now only the 10th rider in history to win at least five Grand Tours.
Schleck, 25, won his third consecutive white jersey as the Tour's best young rider, matching German Jan Ullrich's record set between 1996 and 1998.
France's Anthony Charteau (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) won the polka dot jersey for best climber while Petacchi's second place in Stage 20 was enough to guarantee the Italian a maiden green jersey victory in the Tour. At 36 years of age, Petacchi is the oldest rider to win the green jersey in the 57-year history of the sprinters' competition.
Cavendish's victory saw the Manxman move ahead of Norway's Thor Hushovd in the points standings, but he was still 11 points short of Petacchi's total.
"In the Tour you have got to be happy with just one win because it's the hardest race in the world," said Cavendish, who won last year's final stage in Paris 12 months ago.
"The first week was tough for me but the team kept going and we were rewarded with five victories. The finish here on the Champs Elysees is an icon of the sport. I'm so happy to have won it again."
Cavendish's triumph came after a brilliant turn of pace in the final 200 metres on the famous cobbles of France's capital city. Hushovd led the peloton as the riders swept across the Place de la Concorde and onto the Champs Elysees for the final time.
Petacchi then launched an attack on the left-hand side of the road but it was the 25-year-old Cavendish, coming from behind, who showed just why he is the world's fastest man on two wheels, winning by a large margin despite the absence of his lead-out man Mark Renshaw, who was eliminated from the race for dangerous sprinting on stage 11.
American Lance Armstrong finished comfortably in the bunch in what was the final Tour of his illustrious career.
The 38-year-old caused a ripple at the start of the 102.5km stage in Longjumeau after he and his RadioShack team-mates donned all-black jerseys inscribed with the number 28 - to represent the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide.
But the nine riders switched to the official red and grey RadioShack colours after the race jury threatened the entire team with disqualification.
RadioShack won the team classification award for the best-placed overall team while Armstrong said "adieu" to the sport with a disappointing 23rd place, 39:20 behind his one-time great rival Contador.Felix Lowe / Eurosport