Jul 22, 2013 Sports
BBC Sport – Britain’s Chris Froome has won the 100th edition of the Tour de France.
Taking the title by more than four minutes, he linked arms with his team-mates as he crossed the line in Paris.
It is Britain’s second successive victory in the race – Froome’s Team Sky colleague Sir Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win it a year ago.
Marcel Kittel claimed the final stage in the twilight, with Manxman Mark Cavendish third in a hotly contested sprint along the Champs Elysees.
Cavendish was attempting a 26th Tour stage win – and a fifth on the trot in Paris – which would have put him third on the all-time list behind five-time Tour winners Eddy Merckx (34) and Bernard Hinault (28). But he was edged out by a wheel length by Germany’s Kittel and Andre Greipel in the French capital, with more than 350,000 spectators lining the streets.
Froome had finished runner-up last year but with Wiggins electing not to defend his title after injury problems , the 28-year-old was favourite to win the race and he brought the yellow jersey home in emphatic style, ahead of Colombian Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain.
He had first taken the lead when he won the eighth of the 21 stages in a summit finish at Ax 3 Domaines in the Pyrenees.
The Briton, who was born and raised in Kenya, claimed a further two stages in his maiden Tour de France title.
He told ITV4: “Crossing the line with [the] guys brought tears to my eyes. I expected it to be big but this is something else.
“Dave [Team Sky manager Sir Dave Brailsford] has been talking about the future of cycling – the youngsters coming through and the way the sport is moving. I look at the last decade and the way sport is going – we’ve got something to be proud of.”
But in the first Tour since disgraced rider Lance Armstrong admitted to doping in his seven Tour de France wins , which have since been expunged from the records, Froome found himself having to answer questions about drugs in the sport.
He added: “I’m glad I’ve had to face those questions – after all the revelations of the last year. I’m glad that’s been channelled towards me. “I’ve been able to deal with it. Cycling has changed – the peloton is standing together.”
In his victory speech while standing on the podium, Froome dedicated his triumph to his mother Jane, who died of cancer in 2008, for giving him “hopes and dreams”.
“Without her encouragement to follow my dreams, I’d probably be at home watching this event on TV,” he said. “It’s a great shame she never got to come see the Tour, but I’m sure she’d be extremely proud if she were here tonight.”
He also thanked his Team Sky colleagues for “burying themselves” for him during the gruelling race. “I’d like to thank my team-mates, who have buried themselves day in day out throughout this Tour to keep this yellow jersey on my shoulders, and the Team Sky management for believing in my ability and building this team around me.
“This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time,” he added, in a reference to doubters over doping suspicions.
The final stage started as a procession, as is the tradition, and the 170 riders headed off from Versailles with Rodriguez celebrating his third place overall by handing out cigars to fellow podium finishers Froome, donning a yellow bike, and Quintana.
The Brit was also handed a glass of celebratory champagne as he rode alongside a Team Sky car with its branding coloured in yellow, while he was surrounded by team-mates in special yellow-tinged sunglasses.
The sun was beginning to set as they arrived in the centre of Paris and Froome made sure his trusty wingman Richie Porte led the Sky train over the finish line of the Champs-Elysees on the first of 10 circuits.
A few riders attempted breakaways, included Britain’s David Millar, but they were swallowed up by the peloton and it was left to the sprinters to contest the final straight.
Overall classification – final standings
1. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky 83 hours, 56 minutes, and 40 seconds
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar +4:20
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha +5:04
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff +6:27
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff +7:27
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