Swathes of riders set out, but there can only be one winner.

 

Tour de France has ended, but these memories continue to live on.

Tight finishes, contentious decisions, and fierce clashes. Team Sky’s Chris Froome somehow emerged as Tour de France’s overall winner for the fourth time, but this competition in no shortage of the spectacular.

Case in point, this year’s runner-up, Colombian Rigoberto Uran, finished behind Froome by just 54 seconds. In fact, the top four contenders were separated by fewer than 30 seconds going into the final week. Froome was unable to add gloss to his third consecutive tour win, with LottoNL-Jumbo rider Dylan Groenewegen sprinting to the win on the 21st and final stage that ended in Paris.

“Each time I have won has been so unique, such a different battle to get to this moment,” said Froome afterwards.

“They are all so special but this will be remembered as the closest and most hard fought.”

French rider Romain Bardet finished third overall.

Froome’s latest win, which placed him 2nd in all-time wins, was a bumpy side, most notably high up on the Peyragudes at the end of stage 12, where he lost 22 seconds to Italian darling Fabio Aru. It was the first significant blow, one that could seriously threaten Froome. But, experience and grit ultimately paid off as he bounced back in style, sprinting up to the finish in Rodez at the end of stage 14 to reclaim the yellow jersey. He would not relinquish his lead after that.

Of course, this year’s edition wasn’t just about Froome’s triumph. Who could forget the epic crash-clash between Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan just before the finish on stage 4 in Vittel? It was a costly incident; Cavendish broke his right shoulder and Sagan was subsequently disqualified, putting both men out of the competition.

The tour’s two other jerseys, green (most points overall), and polka dot (king of the mountains), were won by Team Sunweb teammates Michael Matthews and Warren Barguil respectively.

The Tour de France has never failed to deliver a satisfying concoction of competitive action, drama, and crashes; all often in equal parts, from bloodthirsty rivals out to one-up each other, to tears and contorted faces as crashes derail hopes and aspirations. It felt like yesterday when TDF2016 came to a conclusion, and I’m sure next year’s edition will soon be upon us.

Case in point, this year’s runner-up, Colombian Rigoberto Uran, finished behind Froome by just 54 seconds.

Source:

http://www.bbc.com/sport/cycling/40695072