PARIS — Chris Froome won the 100th Tour de France on Sunday, then vowed his victory wouldn’t be stripped for doping, as Lance Armstrong’s were.
“This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time,” said the British rider, who dominated rivals over three weeks on the road and adroitly dealt with doping suspicions off it.
The Tour treated itself to a nighttime finish on the Champs-Elysees. The famous avenue and the Arc de Triomphe atop it were bathed in yellow — emphasizing the canary color of Froome’s famous jersey.
Froome rode into Paris in style: Riders pedaled up to him to offer congratulations, and he sipped from a flute of champagne. He dedicated his victory to his mother, Jane, who died in 2008.
“Without her encouragement to follow my dreams, I would probably be at home watching on TV,” he said.
Froome took the race lead on Stage 8 in the Pyrenees and vigorously fended off his rivals’ concerted challenges.
Five-time winners Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain joined Froome on the podium. Missing, of course, was Armstrong. Stripping the serial doper of his seven wins tore a hole in the Tour’s roll of honor as large as that left by World War II, when the race didn’t take place from 1940-46.
None of the 100th edition’s podium finishers — Froome, Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez — have ever failed a drug test. Still, Froome rode through a barrage of skepticism, especially since his strength in the mountains and time trials reminded some of Armstrong and the way his team used to suffocate the race.
“In a way, I’m glad that I’ve had to face those questions, that after all the (Armstrong) revelations last year and just the tarnished history over the last decade, all that’s been channeled toward me now,” Froome said. “I feel I’ve been able to deal with it reasonably well throughout this Tour, and hopefully that’s sent a strong message to the cycling world that the sport has changed — and it really has.”