The Amazing Race 21 Season Wrap-up

The Amazing Race 21 Wrap-Up
       
*sigh*

So The Amazing Race 21 was an alright season.  Nothing too memorable, save for the final Road Block.  But also not horrible.

I think the biggest thing to take away from TAR21 is that the show is definitely due for a sprucing up.  I hope a freshly remixed theme, new graphics, and some better challenges are in store for us at least in the next two seasons.

The Route
It was an okay Route.  Nothing that really stands out, except maybe Frankfurt being the death of teams.  

I guess after 21 seasons, TAR will be returning to a lot more locations they’ve visited previously.  There’s only so many countries left and with the world continuing to be unstable and unsafe for Americans to run through, I’m sure the options are limited.

The Tasks
We did have some surprisingly physical tasks this season which are great since TAR’s been oversimplifying everything from Leg design to types of challenges for years now.  

The tasks in Indonesia and Bangladesh like the carrying of ice, fish and bamboo or assembling that big scale were good to challenge the teams especially in those countries that were congested and stereotypically “third world.”

The Turkish bath was gratuitous team skin and the Russian time zone Road Block was a great mental challenge

The Twists
Just two new twists this season.  First, the Blind Double U-Turn which was the logical next step for it of course.  Also good to have it when there are more teams to incite paranoia and drama.  Having a regular Double U-Turn with less teams is makes more sense too since you’d probably be able to figure it out anyway.

It’s also about time someone figured out to use the U-Turn to their advantage like how the “Dream Team” did here.  I wonder if that will necessitate a tweak to the rules in reaction kind of like Big Brother instituting that “6 houseguests only” rule after the Five Finger/Backdoor Plan, I think in season 5.  But the U-Turn strategy they came up with here was very smart.

And second, the Double Your Money prize.  Spoiler alert, Phil says it will not return for TAR22.  And I don’t really think it made a difference in terms of competition.  If anything, the threat of another million dollars TAR needed to shell out limited possible locations or tasks.  TAR could use that million for something else like better challenges or to pay for those plane tickets to fresh and different locations.

The Teams
The teams were okay.  It was a solid group.  Even the early boots like Amy & Daniel and Gary & Will made an impression in their short times.

You also had strong personalities in Natalie & Nadiya and Jaymes & James who were pretty much locks for any All-Star season.  You had real underdogs in James & Abba and a likeable, yet strong couple in Trey & Lexi.

There weren’t any villains (despite what some casual fans might believe) or big fueds so there were no angry outbursts like we had in TAR20.

That said, a season like this where teams all helped each other out and even made pacts to get eliminated together kind of made me miss all that fighting and drama TAR20 delivered.

The Ending
As okay as the season was, the finale was very exciting.  And I believe that had to do with the teams being able to Race neck and neck in both final Legs.  

They were actually very linear Legs.  But the tasks were balanced enough and teams good enough to keep everyone within striking distance which made it all the more exciting.

The Final Road Block was definitely an inspired task.  While it may not come close to TAR12’s tragic, but genius final Road Block, this one was right up there with the TAR17 Pit Stop Greeter Hats, the field of clueboxes from TAR13 and the epic surfboards of TAR14.  And let’s not forget the very first memory Final Task, the totem pole Road Block of TAR3.  So ahead of its time.

But it was definitely a downer, almost like TAR12, when a horrible team ends up winning.  More on that below.

ALL-TIME RANKINGS
OVERALL SEASONS
1. TAR3
2. TAR5
3. TAR8
4. TAR1
5. TAR11:AS
6. TAR12
7. TAR2
7. TAR6
7. TAR4
10. TAR20
10. TAR19
10. TAR17
13. TAR10
14. TAR9
15. TAR21
15. TAR717. TAR18: UB
18. TAR16
19. TAR14
20. TAR15
21. TAR13


FINALES
(regardless of winner)
1. TAR3
2. TAR12
3. TAR21
4. TAR8
5. TAR5
6. TAR2
7. TAR1
8. TAR20
9. TAR16
10. TAR15
11. TAR14
12. TAR6
13. TAR19
14. TAR17
15. TAR11: AS
16. TAR4
17. TAR18
18. TAR9
19. TAR13
20. TAR10
21. TAR7

GROUP of TEAMS
1. TAR3
2. TAR8
3. TAR5
4. TAR1
5. TAR11: AS
6. TAR2
6. TAR12
8. TAR6
8. TAR4
8. TAR20
8. TAR19
12. TAR17
13. TAR21
14. TAR10
15. TAR9
16. TAR18
17. TAR16
17. TAR15
17. TAR14
17. TAR13
21. TAR7

MY ALL-TIME TEAMS
1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12/18)
2. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
3. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
4. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
7. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
8. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
10. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
11. The Linz Family (TAR8)
12. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
13. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
14. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
15. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21)
16. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
17. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)

NON TOP 3 TEAMS THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE FURTHER
1. Ron & Christina (TAR18)
2. Teri & Ian (TARAS)
3. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
4. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Bopper & Mark (TAR20)
7. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
8. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
9. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21)
10. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
11. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
12. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
13. Bill & Cathi (TAR19)
14. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
15. Steve & Allie (TAR16)

MOST DESERVING FINAL 3 TEAM (NON-WINNERS)
1. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
1. Charla & Mirna (TARAS)
1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
6. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
7. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
7. Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
9. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS)
10. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)
11. Jaymes & James (TAR21)
12. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
13. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
14. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
15. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
16. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
17. Ken & Tina (TAR13)

WINNERS (subjective; as a team)
1. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
2. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
3. Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
4. The Linz Family (TAR8)
5. Flo & Zach (TAR3)
6. Rob & Brennan (TAR1)
7. Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
8. Chris & Alex (TAR2)
8. Chip & Kim (TAR5)
8. Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
*gap*11. Kisha & Jen (TAR18)
11. Meghan & Cheyne (TAR15)
11. Tyler & James (TAR10)
14. Freddy & Kendra (TAR6)
15. Nick & Starr (TAR13)
16. Rachel & Dave (TAR20)
*gap*
17. Reichen & Chip (TAR4)
18. BJ & Tyler (TAR9)
19. TK & Rachel (TAR12)
20. Eric & Danielle (TAR11:AS)
21. Josh & Brent (TAR21)

WINNERS (with respect to final 3)
      Winning Team
         Who I wanted to win
1. Ernie & Cindy
        Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
2. Dan & Jordan
        Dan & Jordan (TAR16)
3. Uchenna & Joyce
        Uchenna & Joyce (TAR7)
4. The Linz Family
        The Linz Family (TAR8)
5. Tammy & Victor
     Tammy & Victor (TAR14)
6. Nat & Kat
       Nat & Kat or Brook & Claire (TAR1)
7. Rob & Brennan
       Rob & Brennan or Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
8. Chris & Alex
       Blake & Paige or Chris & Alex (TAR2)
9. Chip & Kim
       Chip & Kim or Brandon & Nicole (TAR5)
10. Tyler & James
       Tyler & James or Lyn & Karlyn (TAR10)
11. Flo & Zach
       Teri & Ian or Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
12. Kisha & Jen
      Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
13. Meghan & Cheyne
       Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
14. Nick & Starr
       Nick & Starr or Ken & Tina (TAR13)
15. Reichen & Chip
       Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
16. Freddy & Kendra
       Kris & Jon (TAR6)
17. Rachel & Dave
       Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
18. BJ & Tyler
       Eric & Jeremy or Ray & Yolanda (TAR9)
19. Eric & Danielle
       Charla & Mirna or Dustin &Kandice (TAR11:AS)
20. TK & Rachel
       Ronald & Christina or Don & Nicolas (TAR12)
20. Josh & Brent
       Trey & Lexi or Jaymes & James (TAR12)

My Final Subjective Team Rankings

Natalie & Nadiya Natalie & Nadiya – They started out as fun sisters who might not have the Race skills, but entertained.  That was definitely the wrong first impression.  Yes, they were fun and entertaining, but they turned out to be great Racers.  Strong competitors who were here to play.  They won Legs, they did well with challenges, they schemed and stole, but they were here to Race.  That gets much more respect by me than teams with defeatist attitudes who would rather quit then go forward.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing them on the Race in the future.
Trey & Alexis Trey & Lexi – They started out okay, but ended up becoming strong and consistent Racers.  They too were competitors who were here to Race.  They stepped on toes and did it with a smile.  But most importantly, they did well despite their inexperience even outside of Texas.  It’s a shame it all came down to that final Road Block because they had run two almost flawless Legs at the end.  It was also great to see a nice couple for once in a long time.    
Jaymes & James Jaymes & James – They definitely started out slow in the beginning.  Their fit bodies being no match for the Race.  But halfway through, they began to step it up and definitely worked to get to that final Leg.  They were also good, laid back, fun guys who were genuinely nice but also pushed themselves to Race well.  Their personalities matched what would become their Racing skills which is always good to watch.
James & Mark James & Abba – You want real underdogs?  James & Abba are that team.  Even though they actually won two Legs thanks to a Fast Forward and a horribly linear next leg, they were consistent, good Racers who were dealt with some bad hands.  But they were able to push through them, even if they ended up eliminated anyway.  But to see true underdog fighting spirit, just watch James & Abba’s final two Legs.  Now there’s real underdogs you can root for.
Amy & Daniel Amy & Daniel – Maybe the most surprising and disappointing elimination.  They seemed like they could go all the way.  Two strong, competitive people who ended up being done in by a bad taxi.  Definitely a shame.
Caitlin & Brittany Caitlin & Brittany – They actually had an okay Race and had it not been for their horrible rickshaw driver (a common theme this season) they could have made it a lot farther.  They were pretty good and could have gotten even better if they survived.  It’s too bad they had to get struck with bad taxi or in this case, rickshaw luck.
Gary & Will Gary & Will – While it is always great to see real TAR fans running the Race, Gary & Will were definitely slogging along the entire time.  For TAR fans, they did not use their TAR knowledge to their advantage, often making the mistakes that they should have known to avoid.  They were lucky to have lasted as long as they did, but they still made a strong impression.  One of a completely overmatched team that was still amusing to watch fumble their way through.
Rob & Shiela Rob & Shiela – Not much of an impression in their short time on the Race, but they were definitely *thisclose* to making it to Leg 2.  It would’ve been interesting to see if they could have done well on the Race.
Rob & Kelley Rob & Kelley – Definitely not one of my favorite teams.  They were cocky and arrogant and Raced horribly.  Instead of bad taxi luck, it was their own decision that got them eliminated.  
Abbie & Ryan Abbie & Ryan – They started out pretty well considering they had that chance to double their money.  But they soon became cocky with their Racing skills not matching their confidence. Then came that idiotic decision to stick together with Josh & Brent to walk together to their eliminations.  What?  They probably would’ve made Final 4 if they had actually hustled and Raced instead of lollygagging through that last Leg of theirs.  But worst part of it all, Ryan’s post-TAR Twitter rant basically calling TAR fake, rigged and scripted.  Way to endear yourself.
Josh & Brent Josh & Brent – Where to begin.  They wouldn’t be as horrible if they hadn’t won.  But because of how poorly they Raced and how many times they were able to luck out and escape elimination from lost passports to non-elimination legs to the U-Turn of a team that had given up.  That’s not including their own defeatist and quitter attitude (they actually did quit once!) that has no place on the Race.  I have no respect for teams that take the Race so lightly as to just give up when there are so many other people who would love and appreciate the opportunity to compete.  The fact that they fell into the finale and then ended up winning doesn’t make them underdogs.  Far from it.  They sucked as Racers and their poor showings were their own fault.  You want real underdogs, look at James & Abba.  Plus this whole “nice guy” notion when they were actually in line with the stereotypical TAR bickering couple types is absurd.  My least favorite winners like TK & Rachel or Eric & Danielle were because they were horrible people on the Race.  Josh & Brent weren’t horrible people on the Race, but they were horrible Racers and so underserving.
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Recap: The Amazing Race 21, Episode 11 (and 12) – “We didn’t even know what ‘customs’ was.”

Recap: The Amazing Race 21, Episode 11 (and 12) – Season Finale – Take Down That Million

The 11th Leg



The penultimate leg begins as teams fly first to Barcelona to catch a train to the Loire Valley in France. On the train ride, the “Dream Team” solidify their alliance while Josh & Brent take the hint that they are on the outside.

After the overnight ride, teams arrive in France and open the next clue on the windshields of shiny new Ford Escapes.  Teams must collect crates from a nearby café and load them into their Escapes using the fancy kick open feature, the handsfree liftgate. Then, they must drive themselves to the Chateau de Villandry where they must find the Stone Dog.



Josh & Brent decide to just follow the Dream Team who’ve gotten directions.  Along the way, the Twinnies yell to the teams in front that they must lose the Beekmans along the way.

They get to the first castle and find the stone dog and the next clue. Teams must find Da Vinci’s final resting place, the Chateau d’Amboise. Meanwhile, Natalie & Nadiya find the Speed Bump.


For their Speed Bump, they must head into the castle and help a woman tie up her corset.  



While the other three teams leave, the Twinnies tell the other Dream Team members to lose the Beekmans, saying they’re using them and faking injuries. Josh & Brent respond by calling them “bitches” and telling them to have fun with the Speed Bump.

Natalie & Nadiya quickly finish the Speed Bump while Jaymes & James and Trey & Lexi put their trust in Josh & Brent’s navigating skills and knowledge of French.

The three teams get to Amboise and find the Detour.


For both Detours, teams must drive to Château de Cheverny.
In Chow, teams must prepare a meal for hunting dogs by cleaning and cutting up pieces of meat, weighing out the correct amount and laying it out on the ground to receive their next clue.
In Plow, teams must use a horse and plow to till four rows of a designated field



The Beekmans want to work with Trey & Lexi and they both choose Chow, but Texas decides to go ahead and switch to Plow.  Jaymes & James and Josh & Brent get lost, allowing Natalie & Nadiya to actually arrive at the castle 2nd.  

The Chippies head over to Plow while Twinnies and Beekmans head over to Chow where they exchange playful jabs.



Trey & Lexi and Jaymes & James finish their side of the Detour and head to the next Route Marker at Caves de Roches where they find the Road Block.


For this Road Block, teams will have to memorize three different types of mushrooms they must collect in an underground farm.  Once they’ve collected 10 each, they’ll find their way out of the caves and if correct, will receive the next clue.



Lexi heads into the caves first with Jaymes right behind.

Meanwhile, The Beekmans finish feeding the dogs and leave The Twinnies behind. But Josh & Brent are unsure of where to go.

At the Road Block, Jaymes emerges from the caves first, but has the wrong mushrooms.  On the other hand, Lexi’s mushrooms are correct and they get the next clue telling them to go to the Castle of the Ladies or the Chateau de Chenonceau and the Pit Stop.



Trey & Lexi leave first, but are pointed to the wrong castle.  That lets Jaymes & James, who get the correct info, arrive at the Pit Stop first to claim their win and a pair of brand new Ford Escapes.  Trey & Lexi settle for 2nd.

At the Road Block, Natalie & Nadiya arrive just before Josh & Brent and Natalie manages to get the clue first.  The Beekmans are still right behind. The Twinnies ask a woman where “Castle of the Ladies” is and she tells them the absolute wrong answer causing them to go the wrong direction.

That’s what Josh & Brent need as they get the correct directions and arrive at the Mat in 3rd, leaving Natalie & Nadiya last and eliminated.



The Final Leg



The final leg begins as teams hop on a plane to their final destination, New York.  They are given a post card with the message “Wish you were here” and teams must figure out that they are being pointed to Coney Island.

Jaymes & James and Trey & Lexi are first at the boardwalk of Coney Island but cannot see the hidden clue on a Houdini poster right in the spot that’s drawn on their postcard.  The Beekmans soon join them wandering around.



But it’s Lexi that sees the poster first telling teams to “Race to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.” She and Trey want to write it down, but Josh & Brent have seen them and then spot the clue as well.  They both run off, leaving Jaymes & James behind.

At the shipyard, they find the Road Block.


For this Road Block, teams must escape Houdini-style.  Getting tied up in a straightjacket and hung upside down from a crane, they must untie themselves and remove the jacket before doing a surprise freefall to receive their next clue.



Trey goes up first and quickly manages to escape his straightjacket before Brent and Jaymes can even get hoisted up. They open up the next clue telling them to find America’s first pizzeria which is Lombardi’s.

Trey & Lexi maintain their lead and get the next clue.  Teams must deliver 10 pizzas to three different addresses by memorizing all the information and then returning to the pizzeria to get the next clue.



Josh & Brent are right behind them.  But while Trey & Lexi deliver their pizzas to the correct customers, Josh & Brent mix up two.  They must redeliver pizzas as Jaymes & James finally arrive.

Trey & Lexi are on their way to the next Route Marker, the United Nations, which they had to figure out from just the UN emblem.  Josh & Brent correctly deliver their pizzas on the 2nd attempt with Jaymes & James right behind.

Trey & Lexi arrive at the United Nations where they find the final Road Block.


For this Road Block, teams must take the local greetings for “Hello” and “Goodbye” said by each Pit Stop greeter and match them with the flags from each of the countries they visited on the Race.



Lexi gets started with Spain and France as Josh & Brent arrive and Jaymes & James bringing up the rear.  All three teams are at the UN with Lexi, Josh and James struggling with the greetings.

Two and a half hours later and darkness is falling, the teams are now using process of elimination to figure out the ones they don’t know. And it’s Josh that finishes first. He raises the United Nations flag to retrieve the final clue telling teams to head to the Finish Line at Gotham Hall.

James gets the green light and he and Jaymes hurry off. Both teams are in their respective taxis, but it’s Josh & Brent who arrive at the Finish Line first and claim the million dollars.

Jaymes & James officially finish 2nd with Trey & Lexi 3rd.




Episode Thoughts
Well that was definitely a packed two-hours.  And definitely one of the more exciting finales TAR has had thanks to the teams in both Legs being neck and neck the entire time.

For the France Leg, I take offense to that horribly watered down version of the classic TAR5 Detour choice also called “Plow” in the Philippines. They could have done a different Detour, especially if Plow is going to be a Switchback for TAR’s return to the Philippines in TAR23, yes? 😉

For this Final Leg, the clue at Coney Island was inspired. The first Road Block was fun and the pizza delivery was alright.

But the Final Task had to be one of the better final memory tasks. Though not as epic as TAR12’s tragic, but genius final Road Block, this Road Block which most fans called from the beginning was a nice new take on the country/flag task. TAR definitely needs to have a memory task in the Final Leg for every Race and not every other (which they seem to do).

I definitely liked that it took more than two and a half hours for them to complete. Which then helped to have the Finish Line after dark for the first time since season 1 I believe. Also different to have had the Finish Line indoors.

But while it was an exciting finale, it reminded me of TAR12. It was also a great finale (and
great season), but had a horrible ending. Definitely not happy with the Josh & Brent win.  





Leg 11

PIT STOP
Castell de Bellver
Palma

CASH
$520

CONNECTING CITIES
Barcelona, Spain

ROUTE MARKER
Gare de Saint-Pierre-des-Corps
Tours, Loire Valley, France

Chateau de Villandry
Villandry, France

Chateau d’Ambroise
Ambroise, France

DETOUR
Château de Cheverny
Chaverny, France

ROAD BLOCK
Le Caves de Roches
Bourre, France

PIT STOP
Chateau de Chennonceau
Chennonceaux, France

&nbsp

DEPARTURE
 Castell de Bellver
Palma

Trey & Lexi 9:32am
Jaymes & James 9:46am
Josh & Brent 10:27am
Natalie & Nadiya 11:14am



CHOW


PLOW
>

In order of completion
> or < indicates team switched Detours.

Who did the Road Block?
Who’s a “fun-guy”?

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
6 Trey Lexi 6
6 Jaymes James 6
6 Natalie Nadiya 5
6 Josh Brent 6

PIT STOP
Chateau de Chenonceau
Chenonceaux, France

1st Jaymes & James +1
2nd Trey & Lexi -1
3rd Josh & Brent  =
Eliminated Natalie & Nadiya =






Leg 12

PIT STOP
 Chateau de Chennonceau
Chennonceaux, France

FINAL DESTINATION CITY
New York, NY, USA

ROUTE MARKER
Coney Island
Brooklyn

ROAD BLOCK 1
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Brooklyn

ROUTE MARKER
Lombardi’s Pizza
Manhattan

ROAD BLOCK 1
United Nations Headquarters
Manhattan

FINISH LINE
Gotham Hall
Manhattan

&nbsp

DEPARTURE
 Chateau de Chennonceau
Chennonceaux, France

Jaymes & James 1:33am
Trey & Lexi 1:44am
Josh & Brent 3:06am


Who did the Road Block?
Who’s up for an Amazing Escape?

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
7 Trey Lexi 6
6 Josh Brent 7
7 Jaymes James 6


Who has a way with words?

In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block
7 Josh Brent 7
7 Jaymes James 7
7 Trey Lexi 7



6 Natalie Nadiya 5
4 Abbie Ryan 6
3 James Abba 4
4 Rob Kelley 3
3 Gary Will 2
2 Caitlin Brittany 2
2 Amy Daniel 1
1 Rob Shiela 1

FINISH LINE
Gotham Hall
New York, NY, USA

Winners Josh & Brent +2
2nd Jaymes & James -1
3rd Trey & Lexi -1




Trey & Alexis Trey & Lexi – They had two very strong Legs.  But it was that Final Road Block that cost them that million. Bad directions from locals also cost them brand new Ford Escapes. But they had an otherwise strong finish and did very well until that stumble at the final task. I like Lexi’s We need to Race for ourselves attitude I France. There is no reason you have to stay with another team if you don’t have to.
Jaymes & James Jaymes & James – Jaymes & James may have stepped it up as the Race went along and in the penultimate Leg, they definitely kept a consistent pace that allowed them to pass Trey & Lexi at the right moment.  But in the Final Leg, they kind of reverted back to their early Race performances. Simple mistakes and lack of energy definitely did not help them in the Final Leg.
Natalie & Nadiya Natalie & Nadiya – It sucks that they had lost a chance at the million because some misinformed local gave them the wrong directions.  They did amazing in the penultimate Leg being able to catch up and even pass some of the other teams, especially Josh & Brent, despite having that Speed Bump.  They definitely had a legitimate shot, but that one wrong direction did it for them.
Josh & Brent Josh & Brent – Like they’ve done all Race, they fell forward into the Final Leg.  And they end up winning not because Josh was more observant with Pit Stop Greeters, but because he was faster with the process of elimination. *sigh* A more in-depth look at why they are horrible winners in my season Wrap-up.
Quotes from Episode 21.11

Lexi: “We didn’t even know what ‘customs’ was.”



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.

Recap: The Amazing Race 21, Episode 11 (Season Finale) – Which teams said Hello or Goodbye to the Million?


The Amazing Race 21, Episode 11 – Take Down That Million

TAR21 Finale TAR21 Finale TAR21 Finale
TAR21 Finale TAR21 Finale TAR21 Finale
TAR21 Finale TAR21 Finale TAR21 Finale

Teams have a royal trip through France’s Loire Valley before heading home.
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