Tour de France: Chris Froome to be crowned champion in Paris after surviving stage 20
Chris Froome is set to be crowned Britain's second successive Tour de France winner in Paris tomorrow.
By Matt Westby on Semnoz
Last Updated: 21/07/13 10:32am
The Team Sky rider finished third behind Nairo Quintana and second-placed Joaquim Rodriguez after the trio had attacked and gone clear 8km out from the summit finish on Annecy-Semnoz.
Froome now leads overall by 5min 3sec and only has to avoid crashing on the processional ride into the French capital on stage 21 to follow in the footsteps of Sir Bradley Wiggins, who became the Tour's first English winner 12 months ago.
With Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) dropped earlier in the climb, Quintana's superb display saw him elevated to second on the general classification and Rodriguez (Katusha) to third.
Quintana (Movistar) also wrapped up victory in both the best young rider and mountains classifications to complete a memorable debut Tour for the Colombian.
But the real celebrations were saved for Froome, who needed only to defend on the race's penultimate stage, but instead all but sealed victory in style by going on the offensive.
When Rodriguez attacked 8.3km out, Froome's response was to counter-attack and breeze straight past the bamboozled Spaniard.
Both Rodriguez and Quintana soon caught back up, but Contador had no answer and eventually crossed the line 2min 27sec down as he fell to fourth overall.
Rodriguez joins podium
Rodriguez did most of the work to pull the trio clear of the field and although Froome looked tired, he launched a final bid for the stage win by attacking just before the 1km-to-go banner.
Quintana, however, was still fresh from having sat on Rodriguez's wheel all the way up the hors-categorie ascent and counter-attacked to seal a 16-second victory that his excellent climbing in the race has deserved.
Rodriguez also found a second wind to overtake Froome in the closing stages and beat him by 12 seconds, but he will be left ruing coming into form late in the race, when his GC challenge was already over.
In the points classification, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has already sealed a second successive victory and will ride into Paris tomorrow in the green jersey.
Earlier in the day, veteran German Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Leopard) claimed the combativity prize with a brilliant, 51km lone attack out of the stage's 10-man breakaway.
Stage 20 result
1 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, 3:39:04
2 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +18secs
3 Chris Froome (GB) Team Team Sky, +29 secs
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +1:42
5 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky, +2:17
6 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +2:27
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, +2:28
8 John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +2:48
9 Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, +2:55
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, +2:55
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 80:49:33
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +5:03
3 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, +5:47
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff, +7:10
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, +8:10
6 Bauke Mollema (Bel) Belkin, +12:25
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, +13:00
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, +16:09
9 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, +16:35
10 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +18:22
- Green (points classification): Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
- White (best young rider): Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
- Polka dot (mountains classification): Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar