Froome retains lead, virtually secures yellow
Chris Froome has effectively ensured that he will become Britain’s second successive Tour de France champion after Bradley Wiggins, by retaining his big race lead in the penultimate stage before Sunday’s processional run-in to Paris.other Updated: Jul 21, 2013 02:26 IST
Chris Froome has effectively ensured that he will become Britain’s second successive Tour de France champion after Bradley Wiggins, by retaining his big race lead in the penultimate stage before Sunday’s processional run-in to Paris.
Froome finished third in Stage 20 to the ski station of Annecy-Semnoz, won by Colombian rider Nairo Quintana.
The 125-kilometer (78-mile) trek was the last of four successive stages in the Alps and the final significant obstacle Froome needed to overcome before Sunday’s usually relaxed ride to the finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Froome easily retained his lead. Alberto Contador, who had been second at the start of the day, struggled on the final climb and dropped off the podium.
Quintana moved up to second overall, with Joaquim Rodriguez taking the third podium spot.
Froome first took the yellow jersey on Stage 8. All that remains now is Stage 21, a 133-kilometer (82-mile) ride from Versailles to the Champs-Elysees.
“I think for the GC (general classification), this time it’s done,” said Froome. “Tomorrow will be for the sprinters. We, are done.”
Slovakian Peter Sagan is set to retain the green jersey after opening an unassailable lead in the points classification over Mark Cavendish, who will look to claim his fifth straight win on the Champs-Elysées on Sunday.
On his Tour debut, Quintana is also about to secure the white jersey for the best under-25 rider as well as the polka-dot jersey for the best climber.
“I can’t ask for more. I almost have everything, it’s fantastic. Thank you to my team mates and my sports directors, who have helped me achieve this,” the 23-year-old, Colombia’s first stage winner since Mauricio Soler in 2007, told reporters.