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.

 

Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead to win the Tour Down Under, the first event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second place on overall standings. Vine came in second on the stage to secure the biggest win of his career in a stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took the overall tour lead when he finished second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He came into the final stage with a 15-second lead on general classification.

The 70-mile stage involved four laps of a 15.5 mile-circuit through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just beyond the summit of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the crucial attack on the ascent less than 1.2 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped onto his wheel and Australian Ben O’Connor also joined in.

O’Connor led out close to the finish line, Vine briefly passed him but Yates came over the top to claim the stage win. Vine retained his overall advantage and claimed the title in his debut appearance in the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made his name in e-Sports before being signed by the UAE team after winning the academy program on the Zwift online platform. He won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the Australian Time Trial title.

“It’s pretty incredible to be standing here and wearing this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove that was first class. My guys were incredible.”

The final stage featured a breakaway of 13 riders but Vine’s UAE teammates led the chase by the peloton and put their rider in a position to contest the win.

Yates again rode an aggressive race but had to be happy with the stage win.

“We came Down Under with a lot of ambition. We put a lot into it and we didn’t come away with the overall but we can walk away pretty happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a massive talent and the crowd will be happy with a local winner.”

France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

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ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Bryan Coquard won Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under for his first-ever World Tour win, while Australia’s Jay Vine retained the overall tour lead by 15 seconds with one stage remaining.

Coquard is a lightweight sprinter who has had 49 wins in a decade-long career but had never won on the World Tour until he cleared out near the finish to claim the 82-mile stage by a margin of about just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group that shared Coquard’s winning time and who retained his lead on general classification over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race concludes with Stage 5, which ends atop 2,329-foot Mount Lofty.

“It’s a long time that I’ve waited for this win, 10 years,” said Coquard, who rides for the French Cofidis team. “I never really expected and I’m very happy and relieved with this win.”

While the stage was flat and suited sprinters, it had its challenges. Cross-winds and occasional gradients made the stage difficult and confounded some riders.

After an early breakaway by Jonas Rutsch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton broke into two groups with Vine and other tour leaders among the leading group.

The leading group stayed together around the last, sharp bend towards the finish and Coquard bided his time until his late sprint left other riders flat-footed.

“It was pretty stressful,” Vine said. “There was one point there, I thought we were going to have an easy day and I was happy, smiling, waving to families on the side of the road.

“Then, 45 kilometers in it was on and it was on until the end so it was a very hard day. There was a lot more calorie expenditure than I was planning.”