Chris Froome,the lanky Kenya-born Briton who has dominated professional stage-race cycling all year,rode to victory in the 100th Tour de France on Sunday,cheered by thousands who gathered near the Arc de Triomphe in the races first twilight finish.
Chris Froome,wearing the yellow leaders jersey,rode down the the Champs-Elysees on the final day of the Tour de France.
The races 83-mile final stage was the Tour de Frances first evening race on the Champs-Élysées.
Marcel Kittel,a German riding for Argos-Shimano,won the 83-mile stage in a final sprint along the cobbles of the Champs-Élysées. In winning his fourth stage,the most of any rider this year,Kittel denied Mark Cavendish of Omega Pharma-Quick Step the chance to win the Tours finale for a fifth consecutive time. Cavendish finished third,behind André Greipel of Lotto Belisol.
But the green jersey for the best sprinter in the Tour went to Peter Sagan of Cannondale for the second straight year.
Froome,28,riding a yellow bike to symbolize his victory,smiled broadly and clapped his teammates on the back as he crossed the line. The victory,his first in a Grand Tour race,makes him the second Briton in a row to win cyclings biggest race. His Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins,who skipped this years Tour because of illness and injuries,last year became the first British winner.
This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time, said Froome,referring to recent Tour victories that have been stripped away because of doping. He has repeatedly maintained that he is clean.
Darkness was falling as the riders mounted the podium to accept their jerseys in each of the categories. Behind them,an elaborate light show played against the Arc de Triomphe,displaying by turns the color of each of the jerseys.
After Froome received the yellow jersey as the overall champion,he blinked back tears as a band played God Save the Queen.
Joining him on the podium were Nairo Quintana,a 23-year-old Colombian who rode for Movistar in his first Tour and finished 4 minutes 20 seconds back,and Joaquim Rodríguez,a 34-year-old Spaniard with Katusha,5:04 behind.
By tradition,the final stage is largely a formality for the man wearing the leaders yellow jersey. Sunday was no exception as the peloton rolled slowly and steadily out of Versailles and through the suburbs of Paris. Froome,whose aggressiveness throughout the previous 20 stages had become a hallmark of the race,chatted pleasantly with riders from other teams.
But after the racers crossed the Seine and turned left onto the Rue de Rivoli,the sprinters moved to the front and the speed quickened. Fighter jets screamed overhead,releasing trails of red,white and blue smoke as the riders began 11 circuits of the roadway extending from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe.
The finish came down to the three men who have emerged as the dominant sprinters in racing: Kittel,Cavendish and Greipel. Kittel got the jump on the other two and outlasted them to win by a wheel length.
His victory underscored a generational shift in the three-week race. For years,Cavendish,with 25 Tour stage victories in his career,including two this year,has been the favorite in every sprint. No longer. Twice in this Tour,Kittel pulled away from Cavendish in head-to-head battles.
The Tour also marked the arrival of Quintana,who was an unknown quantity training in the mountains of Colombia a couple of years ago. This years race,which was extremely mountainous even by Tour de France standards,played to Quintanas strengths,and it is hard to know how he might do on a different course next year.
I expect him to be one of the big contenders for Grand Tours for the future, Froome said on Saturday.
At the same time,the 2,115-mile race seemed to confirm the fading prospects of Alberto Contador,who had been viewed as the dominant Grand Tour cyclist,especially feared in the mountains,since winning the first of his two Tour de France titles in 2007.
Yet in the Pyrenees and again in the Alps,Contador,30,could not match the accelerations of Froome or Quintana,who blazed past him and into second place on Stage 20. Afterward,Contador expressed disappointment,but promised to come back.
Tomorrow finish the Tour 2013,but after tomorrow start the 2014 one,this motivate me even more!!! he wrote on Twitter.