For the second time in three years, Chris Froome of Great Britain has won the preeminent road race in the sport of bicycle racing: the Tour de France.
Froome held off a Stage 21 challenge from his primary rival, Nairo Quintana of Colombia. The race finished in the Alps this year and on the final ascent of the race, Alpe D’Huez. Quintana promised to challenge Froome on the climb and he did, pushing both his team, Moviestar and Froome’s Team Sky to extreme limits of endurance.
Froome was able to keep a 1:12 lead over Quintana and in the process he not only won le Maillot Jaune — the Yellow Jersey of the tour champion — Froome also won the polka dot jersey of the King of the Mountains, the first rider to do since Carlos Sastre (Spain) did it in 2008.
On the first mountain stage of the race in the Pyrenees Froome was roughed up by spectators who didn’t like seeing him win that stage. If you’ve ever watched the Tour de France you can see the spectators get right up on the riders, blocking the road, but then parting to let riders pass. Spectators have changed the outcomes of stages in the past, knocking riders off bikes
For the final stage 21, race officials turned off the clock when the riders came in to Paris, due to inclement weather. They still had to ride the final 10 laps up and down the Champs-Elysees, which they did at a leisurely pace, even though there was one more sprint to be won; Andre Greipel won the final sprint and Stage 21.
There have been persistent rumors of doping on Team Sky, but Froome and his team have consistently denied the allegations. Until someone can prove the allegations are true, Chris Froome will remain the Tour de France General Classification and King of the Mountains champion for 2015.
Team Movistar won the team jersey, Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the green jersey for the most points, Quintana won the white jersey for best rider under the age of 25, and the award for most combative, or most aggressive, rider went to Frenchman Romain Bardet. He almost won the polka dot jersey for best mountain climber, but lost it to the tour champion on the final Alpine stage of the race.
(All photos via YouTube)
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