Chris Froome takes home fourth Tour de France title, Aussie Matthews claims green

By AP,

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    Riding a bright yellow bike to match his leader’s jersey, defending champion Chris Froome won his fourth and most challenging Tour de France title on Sunday.

    The 32-year-old Kenyan-born British rider finished 54 seconds ahead of Colombian Rigoberto Uran overall, the smallest margin of his wins.

    “This Tour has been my toughest yet. I want to pay tribute to all riders for their sportsmanship,” Froome said. “We raced hard together, we suffered together.”

    Australian Michael Matthews won the green jersey awarded for the Tour’s top sprinter.

    Matthews became the third Australian to win the green jersey, all this decade, following Robbie McEwen and Baden Cooke.

    “It’s really a dream come true to stand there with the green jersey,” the 26-year-old Matthews said.

    This was the third successive overall win for Team Sky’s Froome. His first in 2013 came the year after former teammate Bradley Wiggins sparked off an era of British dominance.

    His margin of victory over Colombian Nairo Quintana in 2013 was by more than four minutes. Quintana pushed him much harder in 2015, finishing only 1:12 back, but Froome beat Frenchman Romain Bardet by 4:05 last year. Bardet was third this time.

    Froome looked emotional as he lifted the race winner’s bouquet of flowers, his eyes seemingly watering. Then, smiling broadly, he gave a thumbs-up to the crowd before going to pick up his young son and walking back onto the podium with him in his arms.

    “I want to dedicate this victory to my family. Your love and support makes everything possible,” he said. “I also want to thank my team Sky (for your) dedication and passion.”

    Then, switching to an admirably improving French, Froome addressed the Parisian crowd.

    “I wanted to thank the French fans, thank you for the welcome and your generosity,” said Froome, who was nevertheless loudly jeered in Marseille on Saturday. “More than 100 years ago you created this beautiful race. Your passion for this race makes it really special. I fell in love with this race.”

    Bardet placed two minutes, 20 seconds behind him. But he denied Spaniard Mikel Landa – Froome’s teammate – a podium spot by just one second. Italian Fabio Aru, who briefly led the race, finished fifth, 3:05 behind.

    As per tradition, the 21st stage was reserved for sprinters and mostly a procession for Froome and the other overall leaders.

    Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen won it in a dash to the line, edging German rider Andre Greipel and Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen.

    Moments later, Froome and the rest of the peloton crossed the line after eight laps of an eye-catching circuit around the city’s landmarks, finishing as usual on the famed Champs-Elysees.

    Froome now needs only one more title to match the Tour record of five shared by Frenchmen Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, Belgian Eddie Merckx and Spaniard Miguel Indurain.

    © AP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (2)

    • July 25th 2017 @ 9:11am
      Marie said | July 25th 2017 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      How often does a rider win the overall classification without his team winning the teams classification? And has this changed over time?

      • July 25th 2017 @ 5:47pm
        Sheikh said | July 25th 2017 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

        Up to 1962 teams weren’t allowed to enter (they were also banned for 1967 & 1968) so there have been 54 times so far that teams have competed for the teams classification and the yellow jersey for one of their riders.

        During those 54 years, the yellow jersey/teams classification double has been won 15 times: ’62, ’63, ’69, ’73, ’79, ’84, ’85, ’86, ’90, ’91, ’97, ’07, ’08, ’09 & ’17.

        Plus, during the Armstrong years the 2nd placed rider’s team won the team classification three times: ’99 Zulle & Banesto, ’02 Beloki and ONCE, ’04 Kloden & T-Mobile.

        So you could say that the winner/2nd to Armstrong and his team won the double about a 3rd of the time (18 of 54).

        There doesn’t appear to be much of a pattern regarding certain winners needing a team all doing well. Of the multiple Tour winners, Merckx and Indurain’s teams only one once, while Anquetil and Hinault’s teams both won twice out of five(+). Sky have won once with Froome (out of four). Two of Lemond’s three wins had winning teams. Of the 2-times winners, Thevenet’s teams never won, Fignon once and Contador’s team won both times.

        You could argue that the Armstrong style of winning(++) reduces the possibility of doing the double (and US Postal/Discovery never won during those years, but did come 2nd three times) but in the 11 years since the double has been done 4 times, so pretty much the average number of times.

        [(+) 2 of Anquetil’s wins were under the Nations entry system, rather than the team system.]
        [(++) Teammates working hard in the mountains to nullify other competitors, not taking lots of drugs!]

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