Alberto Contador earned his second Tour de France victory after seeing out the 21st and final stage, won in stunning style by Britain's Mark Cavendish.Spaniard Contador held off Luxembourg's Andy Schleck with American Lance Armstrong edging out Bradley Wiggins.
Wiggins also equalled the best Tour finish by a Briton with his fourth place matching Robert Millar in 1984.
Cavendish claimed his sixth stage win and became the first Briton to win on the Champs Elysees in Paris.
The 24-year-old was pipped to the sprinters' green jersey by Norway's Thor Hushovd but said that winning in Paris was a dream come true.
"I've always wanted to win on the Champs Elysees and the feeling doesn't disappoint," he said after completing the Tour for the first time at the third attempt.
"To cross the line here in Paris with your hands raised at the front of the pack is every sprinter's dream and I wanted it so bad.
"I'm happy with six stages, but next year I'll be fitter and stronger and hopefully the green jersey will come with that."
Italy's Franco Pellizotti won the polka dot jersey for the best climber while Contador's victory kept the Spanish flag flying high on the Champs Elysees as it followed triumphs for Oscar Pereiro in 2006, himself in 2007 and Carlos Sastre last year.
The Spanish 26-year-old proved the strongest rider in the mountains and in the time trials, beating Schleck by four minutes 11 seconds with seven-time champion Armstrong 5:24 off the pace.
And Contador, who missed last year's Tour after Astana were not invited because of their past doping record, spoke of his joy at claiming his second victory.
"It was a tough tour and hard one to overcome but it brings me great honour and joy to record victory this year," he said.
"There was always a risk I could lose right up until the end, but I held on," said Contador.
"The Tour is the hardest race in the world, but this year it was particularly difficult. That's why I am so happy."
Armstrong returned to the Tour after almost four years away from the sport and admitted he had been well beaten by his Astana team-mate.
But Armstrong will return next year, when he will take his place in new team Radioshack.
"I came here to do my best and I came across some guys who were clearly better than me," he said.
"I don't have any regrets, I got put out a couple of times, but considering my age and recent racing, it's not a bad performance overall."