By Thomas Dodd
- Chris Froome effectively seals third Tour de France triumph by finishing with main rivals on Stage 20
- Team Sky rider leads by four minutes and five seconds with only traditional procession to Champs Elysees remaining on Sunday
- Movistar’s Jon Izaguirre wins final mountain stage to Morzine
MORZINE, FRANCE – Briton Chris Froome all but secured a historic third Tour de France title after finishing alongside all his main rivals on Stage 20.
All that stands between the 2015 champion and a successful defence of his yellow jersey is a ceremonial ride onto the Champs Elysees tomorrow afternoon.
The Sky rider’s third overall victory in four years will elevate him into illustrious company in Tour folklore – joining Philippe Thys, Louison Bobet and Greg LeMond as a three-time winner of cycling’s most coveted garment.
Following on from Friday’s crash in pouring rain on the final descent, Froome again had to contend with treacherously slippery roads on the run in to Saturday’s finish, but controlled the pace with his Sky teammates perfectly to cross the line in Morzine and stay 4 minutes clear of second placed Romain Bardet overall.
Movistar’s Jon Izaguirre won the final Alpine route of the race, after escaping away from stage 15 victor Jarlinson Pantano and 2014 Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali, who attacked for the glory of a stage win after hearing of the downfall of teammate Fabio Aru.
The Astana leader lost several minutes on the final climb, and along with Bauke Mollema dropped out of the Top 10 in the general classification.
They were replaced there by Tinkoff’s Roman Kreuziger and Joaquim Rodriguez, whose superb ride to eighth in the tricky conditions moved him up to seventh overall in his fairwell tour.
Tomorrow’s podium presentation will see Froome joined by Frenchman Bardet and fellow pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana in third.
The Colombian’s presence in the top three means there will be no room for Brit Adam Yates, but the 23-year-old will wear the white jersey as the best young rider in the field.
But for Froome it will be a second successive year of sipping Champagne and savouring the moment in the French capital, which the race will reach after 52km on Sunday evening, before the traditional nine circuits of the Champs Elysees.
It should allow the sprinters a chance to round out three weeks of a racing with a bunch finish.
German’s Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel will be looking to deny Peter Sagan a fourth stage win in the absence of Britain’s Mark Cavendish, who has triumphed in Paris four times in a row between 2009 and 2012.
Stage 20 Result (Megeve to Morzine 146.5km)
1. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (ESP) Movistar 4hours06minutes45seconds
2. Jarlinson Pantano (COL) IAM Cycling +19seconds
3. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Astana +42
4. Julian Alaphilippe (RSA) Etixx-QuickStep +49
5. Rui Albert Faria da Costa (POR) Lampre Merida +1m43
6. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Tinkoff +1m44
7. Wilco Kelderman (HOL) Lotto Jumbo NL +1m49
8. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) Katusha +3m24
9. Daniel Martin (IRE) Etixx-QuickStep +4m12
10. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar +4m12
13. Adam Yates, Orica, +4m14seconds
18. Geraint Thomas, Sky +4m18
20. Chris Froome, Sky +4m18
102. Luke Rowe, Sky +29m52
107. Ian Stannard, Sky +29m52
139. Daniel McLay, Fortuneo +34m08
170. Stephen Cummings, Dimension Data +34m34
Overall Standings (After Stage 20):
1. Chris Froome (GBR) Sky 86h21m40seconds
2. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R +4m05
3. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar +4m21
4. Adam Yates (GBR) Orica +4m42
5. Richie Porte (NZ) BMC Racing +5m17
6. Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar +6m20
7. Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) Katusha +6m58
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre-Merida +6m58
9. Dan Martin (IRE) Etixx-QuickStep +7m04
10. Roman Kreuziger (CZE) Tinkoff +7m11
15. Geraint Thomas, Sky +28m31
142. Stephen Cummings, Dimension Data +4h17m03
152. Luke Rowe, Sky +4h27m49
163. Ian Stannard, Sky +4h31m34
171. Daniel McLay, Fortuneo +4h50m14
(Abandoned after Stage 16): Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data
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