Froome riding to victory in 100th Tour de France
Chris Froome was riding to victory in the 100th Tour de France on Sunday, dominating rivals over three weeks on the road and having coolly and adroitly dealt with doping suspicions off it.other Updated: Jul 22, 2013 00:42 IST
Chris Froome was riding to victory in the 100th Tour de France on Sunday, dominating rivals over three weeks on the road and having coolly and adroitly dealt with doping suspicions off it.
In two years, Britain will have had two different winners: Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and now Froome, a calmer more understated but no less determined character than his Sky teammate with famous sideburns.
Froome rode into Paris in style - in the canary yellow race leader’s jersey he took on Stage 8 and never relinquished, vigorously staving off rivals whose concerted attacks turned this Tour into a thriller.
The 100th edition was visually stunning, too, starting with a first-ever swing through Corsica, France’s so-called “island of beauty,” before veering through the Pyrenees to Brittany and then across France to the race’s crescendo in the Alps - 3,404 grueling kilometers (2,115 miles) in total.
The final Stage 21 set off from the magnificent Versailles Palace, the former residence of three kings and their seat of power until the French revolution of 1789. The riders were granted the privilege of riding through the palace’s manicured gardens, resplendent in their brightly colored team jerseys as they pedaled past lakes like mirrors, spurting fountains and unmoved statues.
“C’est formidable,” Froome said before leading the pack off on what was expected to be a leisurely 133-kilometer (82-mile) jaunt ending with a competitive sprint on the Champs-Elysees by riders chasing the stage win. The fact that Froome speaks French has been gratefully noted by fans here.
Froome’s clear physical superiority made him king of the 100th Tour. He set off on the last stage with a race lead of more than 5 minutes. If he retains that to the finish, as expected, it would be the largest winning margin since 1997, when Jan Ullrich beat Richard Virenque by 9 minutes, 9 seconds. Ullrich has since admitted to doping.