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Sports

July 22, 2013

Froome rides to victory in 100th Tour de France

PARIS — Chris Froome won the 100th Tour de France yesterday, having dominated rivals over three weeks on the road and adroitly dealt with doping suspicions off it.

In two years, Britain has now had two different winners: Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and then Froome, a cooler, calmer, more understated but no less determined character than his Sky teammate with famous sideburns.

Froome rode into Paris in style — in the canary yellow race leader’s jersey he took on Stage 8 in the Pyrenees and never relinquished, vigorously fending off rivals whose concerted challenges turned this Tour into a thriller. Froome and his Sky teammates linked arms as they rode for the line.

The 100th edition was visually stunning, too, starting with a first-ever swing through Corsica, France’s so-called “island of beauty,” before veering through the Pyrenees to Brittany and then across France to the race’s crescendo in the Alps — 3,404 grueling kilometers (2,115 miles) in total.

Uniquely, the 100th Tour treated itself to a late-afternoon start for its final Stage 21 so the riders raced a few hours later on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees as the sun cast golden hues over the peloton and the shadows lengthened over the dense, cheering crowds.

French Air Force jets in formation trailed red, white and blue smoke in the skies about the leafy avenue as the peloton powered up it for the first time and, exceptionally, circled like a necklace around the Arc de Triomphe in their brightly colored team jerseys.

After setting off from the magnificent Versailles Palace, the former residence of three kings and their seat of power until the French revolution of 1789, the riders were granted the privilege of meandering through the chateau’s manicured gardens, past lakes like mirrors, spurting fountains and statues looking on stonily.

As per tradition and because Froome’s big race lead made him untouchable, yesterday’s 133-kilometer (82-mile) final ride was a largely leisurely affair until the pace picked up sharply on the Champs-Elysees. Marcel Kittel won the final sprint on that famous avenue, the German’s sprinter’s fourth stage win of this Tour.

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