The Wall Street Journal: Chris Froome set to win third Tour de France title
MORZINE, France — Halfway down an Alpine hill, Tour de France leader Chris Froome picked himself off the tarmac with a torn yellow jersey and a broken bicycle. As the race zipped by, the defense of his title threatened to go up in smoke.
Seconds later, however, Froome’s teammates arrived on the scene. Without missing a beat, Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas hopped off his bike, put Froome on it and sent him on his way. Thomas could wait for a replacement; Froome had to get going.
“Every stage has just been about Froomey and what’s best for him,” Thomas said. “That’s what we’ve done.”
Froome’s eight Team Sky lieutenants are set to deliver him to Paris on Sunday for his third victory in four years and Sky’s fourth since 2012. They have been such a dominant force at this Tour de France that no one else ever mounted a serious challenge. The Tour slid into monotony.
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“It’s got to be pretty discouraging,” Froome said, “looking at the guys who are there riding on the front of the race, setting that tempo, to keep the jersey on my shoulders.”
Froome will stand on the top step of the podium on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday ahead of France’s Romain Bardet and Colombia’s Nairo Quintana.
His success here has been a textbook example of how a single team can put a chokehold on a three-week bike race. He wore the leader’s yellow jersey for 13 of the 21 stages. And wherever the yellow jersey has gone, there has been a black Team Sky jersey at Froome’s side.
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.