Team Sky’s Chris Froome made history by winning the Tour de France for a fourth time on Sunday, widely regarded as his toughest Tour win yet.
The Team Sky leader, who described this year’s race as the “closest and most hard-fought battle”, sealed his victory on Saturday in a time trial, and rolled on to the Champs-Elysees with team-mates in a largely ceremonial stage contested by sprint teams, rather than overall race leaders.
Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto-Soudal) won the stage in a final sprint in Paris, edging Andre Greipel over the line by a narrow margin.
“I’m speechless, it is an amazing feeling,” Froome said. “There is something magical about the Champs-Elysees when you have spent three weeks thinking about being here in this moment.
“It is amazing to see my wife and son again – it feels like more than a month on the road.
“Each time I have won has been so unique, such a different battle to get to this moment. They are all so special but this will be remembered as the closest and most hard-fought battle.
“A celebration is definitely overdue.”
Froome finished Saturday’s stage with a 54-second lead over his rivals – the narrowest to date. At the end of three weeks, 21 stages and more than 3,500km, Froome finished with a broad grin alongside his team-mates, who wore a special kit for the occasion with their usual blue stripe replaced by a yellow one.
Froome had won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 editions and sits fifth overall in the all-time list of Tour victors behind greats Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
He said it was a “huge honour” to be talked about in the same breath as Anquetil. Riders completed eight laps through the streets of Paris, finishing on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees. A breakaway group of nine riders got away from the peloton with around 55km to go, but were caught 10km from the finish. In the end, it came down to a sprint from the peloton in the final 1500m.
Frenchman Romain Bardet lost time Saturday’s time trial in Marseille, scraping third place just one second ahead of Team Sky’s Mikel Landa. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) moved up to second, just 43 seconds behind Froome. Bardet suffered with illness yesterday and was seen looking exhausted in Marseille yesterday.
Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas wore yellow for the first five stages of this year’s race, after winning the opening time trial, but crashed out of the race in stage nine, suffering a broken collarbone.
Britain’s Simon Yates won the best young rider award, beating his nearest rival, Louis Meintjes, by 2’06”.
Two Team Sunweb riders won jerseys in this year’s race: Warren Barguil won the mountains competition, denoted by the polka dot jersey, while Michael Matthews won the points competition, denoted by the green jersey. He became the green jersey leader after Quick-Step Floors’ Marcel Kittel pulled out with injuries following a crash in stage 17.
Overall times remained the same from yesterday’s time trial, as below:
1. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky 83:55:16″
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac +54″
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale +2:20″
4. Mikel Landa (Spa/Team Sky) +2:21″
5. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +3:05″
6. Dan Martin (Ire/Quick-Step Floors) +4:42″
7. Simon Yates (GB/Orica-Scott) +6:14″
8. Louis Meintjes (SA/Team UAE Emirates) +8:20″
9. Alberto Contador (Spa/Trek-Segafredo) +8:49″
10. Warren Barguil (Fra/Team Sunweb) +9:25″