Stage 20: Chris Froome makes it seem like he was going to win all along
The Tour de France is typically won on climbs and in time trials. This year the climbing was pretty much a draw and Chris Froome won the time trials.
Okay, Froome didn’t actually win either of the time trials – Polish specialist Maciej Bodnar was quickest on this one – but he bettered his closest rivals and pretty much everyone else, and that was enough to secure him his fourth Tour de France.
Only four men in history have had more success in the race: the Frenchmen, Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault; the monster Spanish time-triallist, Miguel Indurain; and of course Eddy Merckx, who surely would have won more Tours if he hadn’t spent so much time knackering himself out winning six other Grand Tours and 19 Monuments. They all won it five times.
That’s pretty good company to keep – not least when you consider just how many opportunities there are for everything to go completely tits up over the course of a three-week race. A Froome victory was always more likely than a victory for any given rival, but you have to remember that he was up against an awful lot of rivals.
Viewed like that, “someone else” was the more likely winner, so well-ridden, that man.
A few other details
As predicted, Rigoberto Uran nipped past Romain Bardet to secure second place.
Alberto Contador swapped places with Warren Barguil. His ninth placed finish is his worst ever in the Tour de France.
It’s worth pointing out at this point that Contador’s successes in Italy and Spain mean he has seven Grand Tours to his name to Froome’s four. He’s been well off the pace in this Tour, but you wouldn’t discount it proving excellent preparation for the Vuelta a Espana next month…
The final stage only really turns into a race at the very end, so there is next to no chance that anyone significant will lose any time. Mostly they just prat along drinking Champagne and waving at people.