BRITAIN’S successful weekend of sport was rounded off in perfect style when Chris Froome won the Tour de France for the fourth time in five years on Sunday. The Team Sky rider is now second in the all-time list after completing his third successive victory.
Rigoberto Uran was second, 54 seconds behind, with Romain Bardet third.
As tradition dictates, the final stage is essentially a processional one as the group makes their way to Paris. Such are the informalities that Yoann Offredo stopped to greet family and friends as the race passed close to his home and Cyril Gautier wrote a marriage proposal on a piece on paper that was then broadcast across the world on television.
“Each time I have won has been so unique, such a different battle to get to this moment,” said Froome after he’d been crowned the winner. “They are all so special but this will be remembered as the closest and most hard fought.”
Team SKY director Nicolas Portal puts Froome’s success down to what are described as ‘cannibal instincts’. “He is normal off the bike, someone you can become friends with, but this guy has won the Tour de France four times and been on the podium in the Vuelta. On the bike he has his strength and this cannibal instinct. He just wants to win and his team-mates have to keep him calm.
“When there’s a little bit of crosswinds he just wants to go. To be honest, that is strange because when you know him he’s quite calm.”
Team-mates were also quick to show their support for the record breaker. Luke Rowe said: “He doesn’t get the respect for how much of an intelligent rider he is, sometimes he seems erratic or he just moves freely, but he’s intelligent and thinks things through.”
Froome’s win puts him ahead of American Greg LeMond and two others with three wins each. He’s still one behind the all-time greats with five victories – Jacques Anquetil of France, Eddy Merckx from Belgium, and Spain’s Miguel Indurain. Lance Armstrong’s seven successive victories have been removed from the Tour de France role of honour.