Chris Froome celebrates third Tour de France title with beer and Champagne

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Sharing beer and champagne with teammates, Chris Froome celebrated his third Tour de France title in four years on Sunday.

The Kenyan-born British rider finished safely at the back of the main pack in the final stage, arm-in-arm with his teammates during the mostly ceremonial leg ending on the Champs-Elysees.

Immediately after finishing, Froome was greeted by his wife and infant son, who he took in his arms.

Andre Greipel of Germany won the 21st leg in a sprint finish.

At the start of the stage, Froome dropped back to his Team Sky car to collect bottles of beer and distributed them to each of his eight teammates for a celebratory round.

Then it was time for the traditional flute of champagne.

Froome rode a yellow bike to go with his yellow jersey, helmet, gloves and shoes. His teammates had yellow stripes on their jerseys and yellow handlebars on their bikes.

Froome also still had bandages on his right knee and elbow, the result of a downhill crash two days ago.

Having begun the stage with more than a four-minute advantage over Romain Bardet of France, Froome and his teammates dropped back just before the finish and he lost some of his margin.

Froome ended up 2 minutes, 52 seconds ahead of Bardet, while Nairo Quintana of Colombia finished third overall, 3:08 back.

Froome, who also won the Tour in 2013 and 2015, became the first rider to defend the title since Miguel Indurain won the last of his five straight in 1995. Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven consecutive titles for doping.

The 21st stage got off to a picture-postcard start as the peloton rode by the perfectly manicured gardens of the Chateau de Chantilly.

The mostly flat 113-kilometer (70-mile) stage concluded with eight laps of a circuit in downtown Paris, finishing on the cobblestones below the Arc de Triomphe.

Greipel narrowly edged world champion Peter Sagan, who was coming on with a late charge.

Alexander Kristoff of Norway crossed third.

It was Greipel’s first stage win in this Tour. The rider nicknamed ‘The Gorilla’ won four stages last year.

It was a difficult stage for the Etixx-Quick Step team. First, three-time time trial world champion Tony Martin abandoned the race due to a left-knee injury, then Marcel Kittel, the sprinter who won Stage 4, had a mechanical problem and dropped behind as he was forced to change bikes.

Kittel slammed a wheel to the ground in frustration as he waited for the change. He eventually caught up to the peloton but wasn’t a factor in the sprint.

Mark Cavendish, the British sprinter who won four stages in this Tour, abandoned the race before the Alps.

 

Andy Rihs, Swiss owner of cycling, soccer teams, dies at 75

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BERN, Switzerland (AP) Andy Rihs, a Swiss businessman who owned the BMC Racing cycling team and Young Boys soccer club, has died. He was 75.

Rihs died Wednesday in Zurich after “a patient and valiantly endured illness,” the BMC team said Thursday in a statement.

“Our grief is indescribable, but we will carry on his values,” the team said, praising Rihs for his “generosity, his sense of humor, and his infectious laugh.”

Rihs’s death comes with Young Boys close to winning its first Swiss league title in 32 years. Young Boys leads by 11 points with six matches left.

“Andy, thank you for everything. We will miss you,” Young Boys said in a statement.

Rihs’s brother, Hans-Ueli, is also an owner of the club and Stade de Suisse in Bern, known locally as Wankdorf. The stadium staged the 1954 World Cup final.

As BMC owner, Rihs secured a Tour de France title five years after his previous team was involved in a doping scandal. Cadel Evans of Australia wore BMC’s black and red colors to victory in the 2011 Tour.

In 2006, the Rihs-backed Phonak team disbanded after American rider Floyd Landis was stripped of the Tour title.

Cycling’s top riders set for Tour of California next month

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LOS ANGELES (AP) The top men’s and women’s teams will compete next month in the Amgen Tour of California, the premier U.S. cycling race.

The men will cover 645 miles over seven stages from Long Beach to Sacramento from May 13 to May 19. The women will have three of the top five teams for their three-day, 187-mile race that starts May 17 in Elk Grove.

Race owner AEG announced Thursday that Pete Sagan will ride for the BORA-hansgrohe team while Mark Cavendish will go for Team Dimension Data and be joined by Rafal Majka.

Tony Gallopin of AG2R La Mondiale is in the men’s field. So is LottoNL-Jumbo’s Nielson Powless, the race’s best young rider in 2016.

The women feature 2016 champion Megan Guarnier of USA Cycling National Team, Katie Hall of UnitedHealthcare and Kasia Niewiadoma of Canyon/SCRAM.