Chris Froome wins 2016 Tour de France as Andre Greipel claims final stage

Team Sky man crowned champion in Paris for third time in four years; Adam Yates wins white jersey

Chris Froome (Team Sky) is the 2016 Tour de France champion – his third win in four years – standing atop the podium in Paris as Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) won the final stage on the Champs-Elysees.

Froome finished arm-in-arm with his Team Sky team-mates – all nine of the team having finished the Tour – to complete a near-perfect few weeks for the 31-year-old.

Fellow Brit Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) was also on the podium in Paris – the first British rider ever to win the white jersey of Best Young Rider.

Froome’s victory is the fourth British Tour de France win in five years, and Team Sky’s fourth too after Bradley Wiggins’ 2012 success and Froome’s own wins in 2013, 2015 and now 2016.

Yates’ white jersey also means British riders have won at least one of all four of the Tour’s jerseys since the start of this decade.

Chris Froome has won the Tour de France three times in the last four years (pic: Sirotti)

With Team Sky swapping the blue stripes on their Rapha kit and Kask helmets for yellow, as they did 12 months ago, the stage played out in typical fashion for the processional finale – Froome and his team-mates sharing champagne as they rolled out towards Paris.

A small descent saw Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff) inadvertently, and temporarily, burst clear of the peloton but the sense of joviality – and relief – at making it to Paris was universal as the riders in the bunch happily chatted on the run-in to the Champs-Elysees.

  • British success at the Tour de France since 2010

    2011 – Mark Cavendish (HTC) – green jersey
    2012 – Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) – yellow jersey
    2013 – Chris Froome (Team Sky) – yellow jersey
    2015 – Chris Froome (Team Sky) – yellow jersey, polka dot jersey
    2016 – Chris Froome (Team Sky) – yellow jersey; Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) – white jersey

Yates, in the white jersey, rode alongside fellow Brit Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) – the two will form part of Britain’s Rio 2016 men’s road race team – and chatted freely, reflecting that mood.

Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff) took the final climbing point of the 2016 Tour de France, chased half-seriously by Nairo Quintana (Movistar), before Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), in his final Tour de France, led the way onto the Champs-Elysees.

With the crowds roaring the riders in, Froome fist-bumped Team Sky team-mate Luke Rowe and gave a thumbs up to the camera after another near-perfect Tour de France for the 31-year-old approached its conclusion.

Of course, it was not all fun and games – there was still a stage to be won – and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Brice Feillu (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data) were among those getting their sponsors’ names in the breakaway one final time.

Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Lawson Craddock (Cannondale), Marcus Burghardt (BMC Racing), Jeremy Roy (FDJ) and Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) completed the eight-man group, which boasted a 20-second advantage up the road.

Knee pain cost Marcel Kittel one of his lead-out men – Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) becoming the 24th rider to leave the 2016 Tour de France.

Kittel’s own final stage was not plain sailing either – a mechanical with less than 40km remaining, a very slow wheel change and further mechanical issues leaving him with a big chase back on, hammering his bars in frustration.

Ironically, it was the sort of chase Martin would normally drop back to assist but Kittel was still drafting his team car 10km later before finally rejoining the bunch.

The breakaway group continued their bid to stay away to the finish but Direct Energie’s pace-setting, particularly that of Thomas Voeckler, had cut the lead to just ten seconds with 20km remaining.

Etixx-QuickStep’s run of misfortune continued, with Dan Martin next to puncture – his chase back on somewhat less dramatic than his team-mate’s had been.

Rowe and Wout Poels decided to stretch their legs and join the group up the road, as did Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) but it was only the Kazakh rider left with 13km to go as the peloton closed the gap.

The attacks continued to come thick and fast, however, and Greg van Avermaet shot out of the peloton to join the Astana man and press on.

IAM Cycling were on the front, fully lined out, as the peloton took the bell but sprinter Sondre Holst Enger suffered a puncture to rule him out of contention.

Frenchman Bryan Coquard also punctured, meaning Direct Energie’s efforts on the front of the bunch counted for nothing too.

Adam Yates is the first British rider ever to win the white jersey of best young rider (pic: Sirotti)

Lotto-Soudal led the way under the underpass and under the flamme rouge, meanwhile, and though Katusha took the sprint up first, Greipel burst past Kristoff to ensure his Tour did not end without a stage win.

Green jersey Peter Sagan kicked hard as he chased Greipel down, but the German champion consigned the Tinkoff man to second place.

Team Sky crossed together just behind the main peloton to confirm yet another win in cycling’s greatest race.

Tour de France 2016: stage 21 – result

1) Andre Greipel (GER) – Lotto-Soudal – 2.43.08hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff – ST
3) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha
4) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data
5) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Orica-BikeExchange
6) Jasper Stuyven (BEL) – Trek-Segafredo
7) Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU) – Cannondale
8) Christophe Laporte (FRA) – Cofidis
9) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-Argon 18
10) Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) – Dimension Data

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 89.04.48hrs
2) Romain Bardet (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +4.05
3) Nairo Quintana (COL) – Movistar +4.21
4) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-Bike Exchange +4.42
5) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +5.17
6) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +6.16
7) Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) – Katusha +6.58
8) Louis Meintjes (RSA) – Lampre-Merida – ST
9) Dan Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +7.04
10) Roman Kreuziger (CZE) – Tinkoff +7.11

Other jersey winners

Green jersey (points classification) – Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)
Polka dot jersey (King of the Mountains) – Rafal Majka (Tinkoff)
White jersey (best young rider) – Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange)

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