Team Sky’s Chris Froome took the third Tour de France victory of his career – but does he have some competition for next year? – By Whit Yost
Chris Froome’s third Tour victory
Team Sky’s Chris Froome took the third Tour de France victory of his career on 24 July — an achievement that ties him with Belgium’s Philippe Thys, France’s Louison Bobet, and the United States’ Greg LeMond for second place on the list of the Tour’s winningest champions. With two more Tour wins, Froome would join France’s Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault, Belgium’s Eddy Merckx, and Spain’s Miguel Indurain on the Mount Rushmore of Tour de France champions.
How Many Tours Can He Win?
For Froome, it appears that the Sky’s the limit: as long as he races for Team Sky (a team which has now won four of the last five Tours de France), there’s no reason to expect anyone else will defeat him in the near future. Froome recently extended his contract with the British super-team, so the Kenyan-born Briton will ride for the squad for two more seasons, and thus has a great opportunity to tie the all-time record of five Tour de France victories (barring any bad luck).
Should Froome and Sky decide to extend their relationship even further, there’s little reason to doubt Froome’s chances of becoming the winningest rider in Tour de France history. He’ll be 33 years old at that point—not young for a Tour de France contender, but not over the hill, either.
Who Will Be His Biggest Competition Next Year?
Since Froome became a contender, only two have gotten in his way at the Tour de France: his teammate, Bradley Wiggins, in 2012, and crashes in 2014. Otherwise, Froome’s had little trouble dispatching his rivals to win the world’s biggest bike race.
That doesn’t mean men like Nairo Quintana, Romain Bardet, Richie Porte, and Alberto Contador won’t stop trying. But next year’s odds are already starting to fall in Froome’s favour; information about the route of the 2017 Tour de France (which won’t be officially released until October) is already starting to leak. We know that the race will begin in Dusseldorf, Germany, but from there, it’s rumoured to travel through Belgium and Luxembourg before tackling the first summit finish of the race on la Planche des Belles Filles.
If that’s true, Froome and Team Sky will be tickled: the Briton won a stage atop the climb in 2012, the year Bradley Wiggins won Sky its first Tour, and Froome announced himself as a future Tour champion. If the rumours prove true, mark that stage as the day Chris Froome begins to put a stranglehold on yet another Tour de France.
Who Were the Tour’s Other Winners?
The yellow jersey isn’t the only jersey awarded in the Tour de France, and Stage 20 also put the finishing touches on the Tour’s other jersey competitions. Tinkoff’s Peter Sagan locked up his fifth green jersey as the winner of the Tour’s Points Classification a long time ago, while his teammate Rafal Majka won his second polka dot jersey as the Tour’s King of the Mountains. Lastly, Orica-BikeExchange’s Adam Yates held onto his lead in the Tour’s Best Young Rider competition, meaning the Briton took the white jersey on the final podium.