With nothing other than what could best be described as a Sunday ride in the park, Britisher Chris Froome has apparently wrapped up his third Tour de France title in the past four years.
In the final climbing stage yesterday, he was cautious to avoid any sort of potentially disastrous situations. He lieutenants protected him, as they should, chasing down attacks by any of the three men with any sort of chance to chip away to Froome’s four-minute lead, and surrounding him in a safety bubble from any peloton mischief.
To most observers, Froome secured the race early, when he made a daring attack in the eighth stage that caught his main rivals completely by surprise. Team strategy from that point kept Froome in the yellow jersey, even when he encountered the unexpected, such as when a crash by one of the escort motorbikes forced him to run on foot along the course to maintain forward progress and to get a replacement bike.
He narrowly escaped; suffering only minor scrapes and bruises when he fell during a descent on a rainy course in the 19th stage.
In the final stage before the ceremonial ride along Paris’s Champs-Elysees, Froome gave away mere seconds to his primary rivals when he eased up at the finish after cautiously negotiating a final decent of 700 m.