Froome writes place in British sporting legend with Tour win

21 July 2013 / 21:13

Chris Froome has spent three weeks putting his rivals in the shade - so completing his Tour de France victory in the Paris twilight seemed perfectly fitting.

Froome crossed the line with his Team Sky team-mates after earlier enjoying the traditional glass of champagne afforded to the yellow jersey on the final stage procession towards the Champs Elysees.

Much has been made of Froome's performance data in recent days but his Tour in numbers is perhaps more impressive, after nearly 84 hours in the saddle, covering 3,404 kilometres, he won the race by four minutes and 20 seconds.

He spent 13 days in yellow, won three stages, aimed a punch at one spectator for getting too close and took 20 dope tests.

He banks £380,000 - though will split that with his team-mates, perhaps after the deduction of his £140 fine for taking food illegally on stage 18.

Twelve months ago Froome played the role of super domestique to Sir Bradley Wiggins, guiding him to a famous victory and finishing second himself.

This year, he was the undisputed dominant force in a much more demanding race - winning three mountain stages, to the delight of those purists who prefer their champions to be forged when the gradient gets vertical.

After waiting 99 editions of this storied race for a British winner, Froome keeps the Union flag flying over France's most famous boulevard for another year and, at only 28, he's already favourite to retain his title in 2014.

"Nothing can describe this, this is an amazing feeling to be standing here," said Froome, who dedicated his win to his late mother.

"It's going to take a while to sink, it's just a dream come true.

"This has been a special edition of the Tour de France to finish it off against this backdrop is something incredible that I will never forget.

"Every day I woke up with a challenge ahead and I've got my team to thank for getting me through to this amazing moment.

"My team-mates have buried themselves to keep this yellow jersey on my shoulders.

"This is a beautiful country with finest annual sporting event on the planet. To win the 100th edition is an honour beyond anything I've dreamed, this is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time."

Froome's performance was praised by Team Sky principal Sir David Brailsford, who hugged his team leader and told him: 'it was never in doubt'.

"You will never get used to this, it's just breathtaking," he said.

"This is the best setting in world cycling and with the sun going down, it's just very emotional.

"It was a different Tour to win this year and we'll cherish this victory. 

"Chris is an exceptional champion and the future of cycling is in good hands."

Great Britain's David Millar made a brave and always futile lone escape for victory as the race reached the centre of Paris, with ten 7km laps around the Champs Elysees and it's nearby postcard landmarks.

But he was swallowed up by the fast finishing peloton, although there was disappointment for British champion Mark Cavendish, aiming to become the first man to win five showpiece sprint finishes in Paris.

He left his charge for the line just fractions too late, settling for third as fast up-and-coming rival Marcel Kittel won his fourth stage of the race.

© Sportsbeat 2013