• A look at how Chris Froome won the Tour de France

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    April 24, 2017 /  Racing, Uncategorized

    PARIS (AP) — Chris Froome is the second successive British rider to win the Tour de France. Here’s a look at his key moments:

    Stage 1

    Froome only had a few difficult moments on the bike. But one of those happened before the race had begun, with Froome tumbling off his bike after clipping a curb and grazing his right knee before the Stage 1 start. He changed bikes and returned to the peloton ahead of the official flag drop to start the Tour. If anything, it was the right time to fall because Froome avoided a heavy crash later on in the stage, when organizers changed the finish line area at the last minute because a team bus was camped on the line and unable to move.

    ”If that’s the only crash I have this Tour, I’ll take that,” Froome said at the time.

    Stage 8

    The first week of the Tour was about avoiding crashes and drinking enough water to cope with the searing heat as the race moved from Corsica and along the Mediterranean to Nice, Marseille and Montpellier. Once the race hit the high mountains of the Pyrenees, Froome launched a devastating attack on the last climb up to Ax 3 Domaines, and none of his rivals could even come close to catching him. That earned him the race leader’s yellow jersey – and the first question about doping. Froome’s incredible uphill speed drew comparisons to serial doping cheat Lance Armstrong, who was stripped of all seven Tour titles. Froome said he understood the suspicion but insisted he is clean. It would be the first of a barrage of questions he and Sky team manager Dave Brailsford would have to answer.

    Stage 9

    Isolated in the Pyrenees on a day when his Sky teammates fell apart, Froome had to withstand attacks from rivals all on his own. Colombian climber Nairo Quintana attacked him four times on the last climb but couldn’t break the Briton’s resolve. It was a defining moment as it showed he could defend just as well as he attacks.

    Rest Day 1

    Why was this rest day significant? Because Froome and Brailsford had to answer several questions about doping as the atmosphere started to turn sour. Self-professed Twitter experts provided a myriad of data, cycling blogs were full of comparisons with Armstrong and mainstream media outlets were keen to probe into why Froome is so good. It was a mere appetizer compared to what would happen on Rest Day 2.

    Stage 11

    Froome comes second to Tony Martin in the first time trial, missing out on victory by 12 seconds. It was still a victorious day for Froome as he finished more than 2 minutes ahead of archrival Alberto Contador and extended his race lead over the Spaniard to nearly 4 minutes.

    Stage 13

    For the first and only time, Froome loses to Contador after the Spaniard launched a clever late attack on a windy sprint stage to claw back more than 1 minute. It raised hopes – which proved fleeting – that the 2007 and ’09 champion could close the gap.

    Stage 15

    Froome did it again: another solo burst on the last climb up Mont Ventoux in Provence, one of the Tour’s most famed climbs. Froome showed rare emotion as he spoke of the pride he felt wearing the yellow jersey on the 100th Tour. His lead over Contador grew to 4 minutes, 25 seconds.

    Rest Day 2

    More questions about doping. Froome and Brailsford again assured reporters that they are racing clean. Brailsford offered to give the World Anti-Doping Agency unlimited access to Froome’s performance data. Froome snapped: ”Lance Armstrong cheated. I’m not cheating. End of story.”

    Stage 17

    Froome clinched his third stage victory, finally getting the time trial win he craved on a hilly course. Froome made up ground in the last third of the course after changing bikes, beating Contador by 9 seconds to move 4:34 ahead of him.

    Stage 20(equals)

    Froome assured everyone he would not go for any more stage wins in the three tough Alpine stages of the race. He stayed safe on Stages 18 and 19, but could not resist one last go on the penultimate 20th stage, jousting with Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez on the day’s last climb up to Annecy-Semnoz. This time, Quintana beat him. But Froome still managed to extend his lead over Contador, who slipped off the podium and down to fourth.

    Stage 21

    Nothing left for Froome to do except ride safely on the processional stage and then enjoy a glass or three of chilled Champagne.

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  • Cycling-Strict testing means cycling cleanest sport, says Froome

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    December 8, 2016 /  Racing, Sports, Uncategorized

    PARIS, July 22 (Reuters) – Stringent drug testing means cycling is now probably the cleanest sport, Tour de France champion Chris Froome said on Monday.

     Froome is the first rider to win the Tour since American Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven titles for cheating and, perhaps unsurprisingly given cycling’s drug-tainted past, the Briton found the finger of suspicion pointing at him during the race.

     “The way the sport is now and the way the testing is, it is so, so strict. Each rider has a blood passport where almost on a monthly basis, readings are taken,” Froome said in an interview with Reuters TV the day after his triumph.

    “People don’t realise the amount of testing we actually go through. I am confident to say that cycling really must be one of the cleanest sports, if not the cleanest, just because of the way it’s policed and controlled.”

    The Team Sky rider had to endure the inevitable questions about doping from the media during the three-week race.

    “That did add an aspect, a different aspect to our race that not only were we thinking about the race and the challenges that presented but also that aspect off the bike of having to answer questions about our legitimacy and what we did to get to this point,” the 28-year-old said.

     “I completely understand those questions, it’s normal given the revelations from Lance Armstrong’s era. I am just happy that I have been able to answer those questions and to show people that the sport really has changed,” Froome added.

    Kenyan-born Froome now has his sights on September’s world championships in Italy but believes this year’s Tour win could be the first of many after he dominated the 100th edition of the race.

     He became the second successive British winner of the Tour after Bradley Wiggins when he crossed the finish line on the Champs Elysees on Sunday to finish four minutes 20 seconds ahead of Colombian Nairo Quintana in the overall standings.

    The mountainous route on this year’s race suited Froome, who is a fantastic climber and a good time trialer, and he finished with three stage wins to his name.

     “It is still a little bit early to be talking about that but the Tour de France is a beautiful race, it is the pinnacle of our cycling calendar and I would love to be back again to try and target future editions,” he said. (Writing by Alison Wildey in London; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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