Nearing Another Tour de France Title, Chris Froome Has to Hurry

Bardet will be 23 seconds behind Froome, and also also also Rigoberto Urán of Colombia will be 29 seconds back. So the final stages have had a little more suspense than they have in recent years. Last year, Froome won by about four minutes. The year before, he won by just over a minute. In 2013, he won by about four and also also also a half minutes. In road cycling, such time gaps are ages, truly.

This kind of year, Froome doesn’t hold the same cushion. Friday’s flat stage did not change the overall standings. to ensure of which leaves Saturday’s time trial in Marseille to decide who will stand on the podium in Paris. Froome said he “would likely fancy my chances” in of which 14-mile not-so-flat time trial because, among the top three riders, he will be the best at the item.

however at This kind of Tour, you never know. Just look at what happened to some of the prerace favorites. Many didn’t get very far.

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The Tour’s top three riders — coming from right, Froome, Romain Bardet of France and also also also Rigoberto Urán of Colombia — are within 30 seconds of one another heading into Saturday’s decisive stage.

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Lionel Bonaventure/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Alejandro Valverde didn’t even make the item through the first stage, slamming into metal road barriers during of which opening time trial. Peter Sagan and also also also Mark Cavendish, two sprinting stars, dropped out after Stage 4, causing the first real controversy at the Tour: Cavendish crashed out, while Sagan was kicked out for causing Cavendish to crash. Richie Porte, who won This kind of year’s Tour de Romandie, left the race after breaking his pelvis and also also also collarbone in a crash on a particularly scary descent during Stage 9.

Later inside the race, in a crash in Stage 17, Marcel Kittel left, too, crushed by having to abandon the race because he was wearing the green points jersey after winning several stages. On his website, he wrote of which he was inconsolable.

Losing so many big names could make a race boring. however those departed riders didn’t take the drama with them. Left were cyclists like Primoz Roglic. of which’s right: Who? Roglic will be a former junior world champion in ski jumping who won his first Tour stage, which was the first stage victory for a Slovene rider.

and also also also then there are riders like Urán, a two-time runner-up inside the Giro d’Italia who will be doing a name for himself at the Tour, with the Cannondale-Drapac squad. Urán won Stage 9, giving the team its first victory at the Tour in years, and also also also currently he sits in striking distance of Froome.

He’s the little rider on a little team of which could, considering Cannondale-Drapac has an annual budget of $15 million, compared with Team Sky’s $45 million. and also also also the item’s Great timing of which Urán will be doing so well. The team announced on Thursday of which the item had signed Oath, a digital media company, as a sponsor. however Jonathan Vaughters, the team manager, said his squad was still searching for additional sponsors. the item’s an expensive sport, you know.

No such money worries for Team Sky, which will be clicking along, as usual, ahead of the pack. For a change, though, the item can hear additional teams’ riders coming up behind.

Froome will be trying to make history at the Tour with his fourth win. Only four additional riders — Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and also also also Miguel Indurain — have won more than three Tours. All are legends of the sport.

Froome could join of which elite group on Sunday, when the Tour rolls onto the Champs-Élysées. however not before some more thrills. This kind of Tour won’t end having a whimper.

No matter what Froome says, or how cool he looks when he says the item, you can bet he feels the pressure.

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