TOUR de France champion Chris Froome revealed he was reduced to tears after crossing the line on the Champs-Elysees, in the final stage of this year’s race yesterday, linking arms with the fellow Team Sky riders that made his stunning win possible.
The British rider knew only a disastrous final day on the 100th edition of the Tour would see him leave Paris without the yellow jersey, such was the magnitude of his lead over general classification challengers Nairo Quintana, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador.
Froome, 28, could even afford to sip champagne on the procession in from Versailles and relinquished 43 seconds of his lead in order to cross the line with team-mates including Welshman Geraint Thomas, who rode for the vast majority of the tour with a fractured pelvis.
And the Kenyan-born rider, who only turned professional six years ago, was overcome by the magnitude of his achievement, after becoming only the second British winner in the Tour’s history, following Sir Bradley Wiggins triumph in 2012.
“It brought tears to my eyes coming over the line with the guys,” said Froome, who won by four minutes 20 seconds. “I expected it to be big but this is something else. This was an amazing way to finish off the 100th Tour de France.
“It was an amazing journey which would not have been possible without the support on and off the bike. Thanks to my team-mates for preparing so well and keeping the yellow jersey on my shoulders.
“This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time.”
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FROOME ON TOUR
■ 83 hours, 56 minutes, 20 seconds
■ 3,404 km
■ Three (eighth, 15th and 17th)