Chris Froome has emulated the effort of his Sky team mate Sir Bradley Wiggins by becoming the second Briton to win the Tour de France. Tour organisers did not disappoint in putting on a spectacular show to mark the 100th edition of the biggest race in cycling. Here’s my review of the past three weeks, and how Froome brought the yellow jersey across the line in Paris, rounding it off until the 101st edition begins in Yorkshire next summer.
Yellow Jersey highlights
The fight for the general classification did not really begin until the second week when Froome took his first stage victory. He moved into the yellow jersey on stage 8 after winning by a clear margin in front of team mate Richie Porte on the summit finish. After moving clear of the other riders, Froome pushed right to the line to put as much time as possible between himself and his rivals.
Stage 9 was a different story. The peloton was keen not to let Sky control the Tour for its duration, like it did when Wiggins won last year, and the Sky train was derailed early on. Froome was left isolated on the front with his rivals for the GC who spent the day attacking the yellow jersey.
This turned out to only be a temporary blip rather than the end of Froome’s time in yellow and he further increased his lead in the two individuals time trials, finishing second to Tony Martin on stage 11 and winning stage 17.
Froome’s only other stage win was his most memorable of the Tour, climbing up Mont Ventoux on Bastille Day (stage 15) with such bursts of pace that he left everyone lagging behind, including second placed Nairo Quintana who showed similar bursts on the climbs.
There was one final tense moment before Froome could enjoy the title of Tour de France winner 2013. During the final climb of Alpe d’Huez (stage 18), he appeared to run out of energy. Porte had to return to the team car to grab supplies for his team mate, but as this was so late in the stage, Froome received a 20 second penalty for the illegal feed. He still managed to put more time into his rivals, and so avoided any risks of losing his position overall.
Rider of the Tour
It would be hard to argue against the yellow jersey for rider of the Tour, but the second place finisher deserves a look in this year. Nairo Quintana came into the Tour relatively unknown, but is certainly leaving Paris as one of the big names to look out for in the future. As a Movistar rider, Quintana’s main purpose was to help team leader Alejandro Valverde, but a mechanical problem on stage 13, mixed with cross winds ripping the peloton apart ruined his chances of a podium finish.
Quintana announced his arrival on the mountains through his incredible bursts of pace going up hill, matched only by that of Froome. The Colombian’s solo attacks came thick and fast through out the tour and only the early timing of them stopped 23-year-old Quintana from putting more time into the yellow jersey.
As stage 20 was the last opportunity to get a podium position, Quintana and Rodriguez kicked off the front, leaving Contador unable to reply. Froome managed to join them for a short period, until Quintana jumped clear once again to take his first stage win in his debut Tour de France.
As well as second place in the GC and a stage win, Quintana also came away with the king of the mountains polka-dot jersey and the best young rider white jersey.
Alberto Contador was looking good for second place for a large part of the race but in the later stages the two-time Tour winner was unable to keep up with the attacks of Quintana and Rodriguez, and slipped down to 4th.
Joaqium Rodrigeuz looked to be one of the disappointments of the Tour early on, but came to form towards the end and managed 3rd.
2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans failed to impress after finding some form in the Giro d’Italia. He spent large parts of the race at the back and could only get 39th.