July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Chris Froome, a Briton with Team Sky, won the Tour de France’s centenary edition after dominating the race since the first of six mountain stages.
Nairo Quintana, a Colombian competing in cycling’s most prestigious race for the first time, finished 4 minutes and 20 seconds back. Spain’s Joaquin Rodriguez was third.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Froome said about crossing the line in Paris with his teammates. “I expected it to be big, but this is something else.”
The 6-foot-1 (1.86-meter) Froome crossed the line with his face splattered with dirt from a rain-soaked Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris. Sprinter Marcel Kittel won the 83-mile stage, his fourth stage victory.
Froome’s victory gives Britain and Sky the title for the second year in a row. The Kenyan-born rider was runner-up last year after helping Bradley Wiggins become the first British winner. Wiggins dropped out of the Giro de Italia in May with a lung infection, and ruled out competing in the Tour, which started June 29.
Kittel, a German with the Argos-Shimano team, held off compatriot Andre Greipel and the U.K.’s Mark Cavendish to win the stage in a photo finish.
Froome, 28, finished the ride through Paris 43 seconds behind Quintana as he waited for his team. Wearing the yellow jersey, he linked arms with other Sky riders dressed in black as they crossed the finish line.
The 21 stages of the Tour covered 3,404 kilometers over three weeks with two rest days. Froome won three stages.
In the eighth stage, the 152-pound (69 kilo) Froome took the lead from South Africa’s Daryl Impey by winning to the Ax-3-Domaines ski resort. He extended his advantage by finishing second and first in two individual time trials, and winning a stage to Mount Ventoux. Froome was administered oxygen atop the 1,912-meter (6,273-foot) mountain after feeling faint and short of breath following a near six-hour ride.
Two-time champion Alberto Contador couldn’t match Froome in the mountains, and yesterday lost his place in the top three when Movistar’s Quintana and Katusha’s Rodriguez broke away on the final climb to Annecy-Semnoz.
Quintana, 23, won that stage, ahead of Rodriguez and Froome and finishes with the polka-dot jersey for top climber and white jersey for best young rider.
Froome is son of a Briton who ran a safari business in Nairobi in the 1980s. After abandoning a university degree in economics in Johannesburg, he turned professional in 2007.
He rode the Tour de France for the first time with the Barloworld team in 2008, finishing 84th overall. He was hired by Team Sky, which is bankrolled by British Sky Broadcasting Plc, News Corp. and Sky Italia, for the 2010 season, when he said his results was set back by illness.
His breakthrough year was in 2011 when he was runner-up to Juan Jose Cobo in the Vuelta a Espana race. At last year’s Tour, Froome slowed down on some climbs to help Wiggins win the race.
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