Marcel Kittel beat Mark Cavendish to the line in Paris to end the Manxman's run of consecutive victories on the final stage of the Tour de France.
Cavendish had won four in a row on the Champs Elysees but could only manage third place tonight behind Kittel and his fellow German Andre Greipel.
Behind, Team Sky crossed the line arm-in-arm as they celebrated Chris Froome's Tour win.
It was a fourth stage win of the Tour for the 25-year-old Kittel, who has put the Manx Missile, considered the fastest sprinter in the world, in the shade over the past few weeks.
Cavendish, in contrast, finished with two stage wins, the lowest total of his career after a Tour filled with incident and frustration.
After three weeks which have seen him caught in crashes, battle illness and get sprayed with urine by a spectator, Cavendish suffered a puncture during the third lap of the circuit and although he was quickly back in the peloton, the extra effort may have told in the final reckoning.
While fate may have leant a hand in Cavendish's frustrations in France this summer, he has also been quick to realise the formidable opponent he now has in Kittel, repeatedly referring to him as "the real deal".
Kittel saw his Tour debut curtailed by illness just five stages in last year, but has starred second time around, taking the yellow jersey on the opening stage and outshining his sprint rivals again and again, most obviously when he came from more than a bike-and-a-half's length down to beat Cavendish on stage 13 to Tours.
As night fell in Paris, the Tour finishing late as part of its 100th edition celebrations, Froome could get his party started having finished with a final margin of four minutes 20 seconds over Nairo Quintana.
The traditional procession in from Versailles began with Joaquim 'Purito' Rodriguez celebrating his third place overall by handing out cigars to fellow podium finishers Froome and Quintana.
Froome was then handed the customary glass of champagne as he rode alongside a Team Sky car with its branding coloured in yellow, while he was surrounded by team-mates in special yellow-tinged sunglasses.
They arrived in the centre of Paris just as the sun was beginning to set, and Froome insisted that his chief lieutenant Richie Porte lead the Sky train over the finish line of the Champs-Elysees on the first of their 10 circuits.
The Patrouille de France flew overhead as they rounded the Arc de Triomphe, this edition of the race the first to actually round the famous landmark, which would be lit yellow as the daylight faded.
Sky pulled off the front to allow the real race to begin, with the sprint teams beginning to jockey for position.
Lars Boom was the first to attack as the peloton stretched out but the bigger drama was behind where Cavendish punctured on the third lap.
Veteran Scot David Millar was in a four-man group that moved clear, perhaps enjoying a final lap of honour as he races in his 12th Tour at the age of 36.
With Peter Sagan already assured of retaining the green jersey he won on his Tour debut last year, the intermediate sprint on the fifth lap was barely contested, former Team Sky rider Juan Antonio Flecha leading Millar over the line ahead of the peloton.
The pair remained around 20 seconds ahead for the next lap before Millar went alone, maintaining his advantage over the peloton behind.
After two circuits of riding alone he finally sat up with two laps to go just as Jeremy Roy launched himself off the front.
Roy was soon replaced by the trio of Alejandro Valverde, Bram Tankink and Manuel Quinziato.
They led by 10 seconds going into the final 10km but the sprint teams were massing behind. Sky were back on the front as they began the final lap, with Geraint Thomas, the man who has ridden almost the entire Tour on a cracked pelvis, leading them over the line before the fireworks began in the final few kilometres.
Froome becomes only the second Briton to win the Tour, following on from his team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins 12 months ago.
Follow ITV Cycling on Twitter