British cycling star Christopher Froome won his third straight and fourth Tour de France title as the 104th edition of the world’s most prestigious road cycling tournament concluded here. After the 21st and final stage that cannot impact the overall standings, the Sky rider Froome on Sunday, without a single stage win this year, won on his consistency throughout to clock 86 hours, 20 minutes and 55 seconds during the 3540 kilometers ride in 23 days, reports Xinhua news agency.
The British led Colombian Rigoberto Uran by 54 seconds, and that was the smallest margin from the second-ranked rider in his four triumphs, also in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Before Sunday’s final, starting from Montgeron and stretching 103km en route to the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris, Froome effectively bagged away his fourth title. He just needed to finish safely in the French capital, as what he did on Sunday, chatting with Spanish veteran Alberto Contador during the ride.
The 167 riders went past a few landmark sites in Paris such as Les Invalides and Arc de Triomphe. They also rode through the Grand Palais, a proposed venue for fencing and taekwondo by Paris for the 2024 Olympic Games. The Dutch Dylan Groenewegen managed to claim the eighth bunch sprint victory this year as he outclassed Andre Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen in the final several hundred meters. Tony Martin attacked from the bunch, before the peloton was reunited with 10km to go. With 300m remaining, Hagen launched the sprint but he fell short against Greipel, who expected to finish a hat-trick after winning this prestigious stage in 2015 and 2016.
However, Groenewegen stopped his quest to out-sprint the German and take his first ever victory in the tournament. Local favorite Romain Bardet, last year’s runner-up, trailed Froome by two minutes and 20 seconds to sit third. Froome’s teammate Mikel Landa failed to make onto the podium with just one second adrift Bardet. Italian Fabio Aru, who wore the yellow jersey for two stages midway in the tournament, was subject to the fifth position, three minutes and five seconds behind Froome. The polka-dot jersey representing king of mountains belonged to Warren Barguil with 169 points, and the Frenchman also took away the combative award.
Australian rider Michael Matthews comfortably maintained his spinters green jersey. Simon Yates was crowned the best young rider with an advantage of over two minutes. Team Sky stood first on overall team’s standings. Tears often come along with joy, as title favourite Richie Porte, Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas, 30-time stage winner Mark Cavendish and former spinters jersey owner Marcel Kittel all bid farewell to the Tour ahead of time due to injury after crashes.