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Tour de France: Chris Froome completes historic British win

2015-07-26 20:47:52

Chris Froome

Chris Froome became the first Briton to win the Tour de France twice when he safely reached the finish line in Paris at the end of the three-week race.

The 2013 champion finished among the main peloton on the final stage, behind a bunch sprint won by Andre Greipel.

Mark Cavendish, seeking a fifth win on the Champs-Elysees, finished sixth after the 109.5km race from Sevres.

Froome beat Colombia's Nairo Quintana to the yellow jersey by 72 seconds with Spain's Alejandro Valverde third.

The final stage ended with 10 laps of a 7km lap around Paris but the times for the general classification were taken the first time they crossed the finish line because heavy rain in the French capital had made the roads treacherous.

That meant that 30-year-old Froome could not lose time if was held up by a crash or mechanical problem but he still had to complete the stage.

Inside the last 10km he had to stop to remove a paper bag that had got caught up in his gears, while moments later he rode over a discarded water bottle. If either had caused him to crash and not cross the finish line his title would have been cruelly taken away.

However, he stayed upright and rode over the line with his Team Sky team-mates several seconds behind the main bunch.

How Froome won

Froome had led the general classification since stage seven.

In fact, he had never dropped out of the top two positions since the third stage and up until Thursday held a lead of three minutes 10 seconds over the field.

In the end it turned out to be the narrowest winning margin since Carlos Sastre beat Cadel Evans by 58 seconds in 2008.

Chris FroomeTeam Sky finished the race with eight of the nine riders they started with - only Pete Kennaugh abandoned

But it will be seen as vindication for Froome, whose composed and gritty riding was at risk of being overshadowed by persistent questions over the legitimacy of his performances and three isolated incidents of abuse from spectators.

Froome's Tour victory was predominantly established by an excellent first week, followed by a phenomenal burst on the climb to La Pierre-Saint-Martin on stage 10 that put him almost three minutes clear.

Questions and abuse

It was that climb which caused some to question whether Froome's performances were being enhanced by doping, with a French TV channel using images of Lance Armstrong to draw parallels between the shamed drugs cheat and the Team Sky rider.

A French physiologist also presented data that he described as "abnormal".

But Team Sky produced their own numbers to counter that claim and Froome has repeatedly said that he is clean.

Chris FroomeTeam Sky released Froome's riding data to the media earlier in the week

That has not stopped Froome being subjected to abuse from spectators, as he claimed he had urine thrown at him on stage 14 and appeared to have twice been spat at in the last two stages before Paris.

Team-mate Richie Porte has said he was punched during stage 10.

There is also a sense that Kenya-born Froome has never fully secured the support of the British public, particularly in comparison to Sir Bradley Wiggins, who was the first Briton to win the Tour in 2012.

It remains to be seen whether his victory this year, which came among a field of Grand Tour winners including Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde, will persuade doubters of his ability.

Chris FroomeFroome and Quintana have had huge battles in the Pyrenees and Alps over the past three weeks


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