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Froome finishes dominating Tour ride
Chris Froome completed a dominating effort in the 100th Tour de France, promising that he rode clean and that his victory “will stand the test of time.”
The Associated Press
PARIS — I won’t let you down like Lance Armstrong. This Tour de France champion is for real.
That, in so many words, is the promise Chris Froome made as the newest winner of cycling’s showcase race, an event badly hurt over the years by riders who doped to win it.
Froome faced the same question for three weeks as he dominated his rivals: Can we believe in you?
Yes, he insisted. And on the podium in Paris on Sunday, his wiry frame wrapped in his canary yellow jersey, the 28-year-old asked the guardians of the 110-year-old race and all those who love it to trust him.
“This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time,” he said.
In consecutive years, Britain has had two winners: Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and now Froome.
Sunday, he rode into Paris in style. Riders pedaled up to him to offer congratulations and he sipped from a flute of champagne. He dedicated his victory to his mother, Jane, who died in 2008.
His winning margin of 4 minutes, 20 seconds was the largest since 1997, when Jan Ullrich beat Richard Virenque by 9:09. Ullrich and Virenque later admitted to doping.
Armstrong had larger winning margins, but his results have been erased from the record book.
The 2,115-mile race began three weeks ago with a first-ever swing through Corsica, France’s so-called “island of beauty.”
Froome took the race lead on Stage 8 in the Pyrenees and never relinquished it, vigorously fending off rivals all the way to Paris. Sunday, Froome and his Sky teammates linked arms as they rode to the finish.
“This is a beautiful country with the finest annual sporting event on the planet. To win the 100th edition is an honor beyond any I’ve dreamed,” he said.
Marcel Kittel won the final Stage 21 sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the German’s sprinter’s fourth stage win of this Tour.
Five-time winners Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain joined Froome on the podium. Missing, of course, was Armstrong, the serial doper stripped of his seven wins.
None of this year’s podium finishers — Froome, runner-up Nairo Quintana of Colombia and third-place Joaquim Rodriguez of Spain — have ever failed a drug test or been directly implicated in any of cycling’s litany of doping scandals.
NAIROBI, Kenya — Riders in yellow jerseys from Froome’s first cycling club, the Safari Simbaz, loudly celebrated his victory on the dusty streets of his home city.
The son of a Briton who ran a safari tour operation in Nairobi in the 1980s, Froome’s cycling journey began with him riding a mountain bike on a potholed road near Kenya’s capital, with his mother driving alongside him.
“We are going to a have a great party with a ride through the routes Froome loved to trek in while he was in Kenya,” said a dreadlocked David Kinjah, his first cycling mentor.
Froome was born in Kenya and educated there and in South Africa.
• Slovakian Peter Sagan (best sprinter) and Quintana (best young rider, best climber) took the other significant awards.
• Two-time champ Alberto Contador of Spain was fourth overall.
• Tacoma-born Tejay Van Garderen of BMC Racing, who grew up in Bozeman, Mont., placed 45th. The highest-placed American was Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky, a Miami native, who finished 10th.