Froome clinches fourth Tour de France title

Froome clinches fourth Tour de France title

Froome clinches fourth Tour de France title

Chris Froome put on a near-perfect performance to claim his fourth Tour de France and move within one title of cycling's greatest on Sunday as Team Sky tightened their grip on the classic race.

The Briton suffered a few hiccups but was always in control over the three-week race thanks to his excellent team-mates who sheltered him when it mattered, leaving the lanky rider to make the difference in the time trials.

Sky, who have the biggest budget of the peloton, have now snatched five of the last six titles and came within a whisker of placing two riders on the podium as Spain's Mikel Landa missed out on the top three by one second, according to provisional timings.

Froome is now one title behind Belgian Eddy Merckx, Spain's Miguel Indurain and French duo Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault.

He is the first to win three consecutive titles since Indurain, who prevailed from 1991-95. The disgraced Lance Armstrong's seven titles since then have been erased from the record book.
"I'm speechless, it's amazing," Froome said after getting off his bike and hugging his wife Michelle and son Kellan.

"The Champs Elysees never disappoints, there is something magical when you have spent three weeks thinking about this moment, it's just so rewarding every time.

"Each win has been so unique, such a different battle and this will be remembered as the closest and most hard-fought."

Colombian Rigoberto Uran finished second overall, 54 seconds behind, and France's Romain Bardet, runner-up last year, was third, 2:20 off the pace after both riders lost time to Froome in Saturday's final time trial.

Sunday's largely processional stage from Montgeron -- where the first Tour started in 1903 -- to the Champs Elysees in Paris was won by Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen in a bunch sprint. The 103-km ride was the occasion for Froome to sip rose Champagne with his team-mates as the race began only when the peloton, who went through the Grand Palais, reached the Champs Elysees.

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