- Quintana cuts more than a minute from Froome's lead on climb
- 2013 champion Froome will keep yellow jersey on final day
Chris Froome will win the Tour de France after surviving an attack by Nairo Quintana on the final climb of Saturday, the Alpe d’Huez, that cut more than a minute from the 2013 champion’s lead.
The Colombian was 2 minutes, 38 seconds behind Britain’s Froome going into the 21 switchback turns of the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) climb. While he pulled away from the British rider, he couldn’t win the stage, finishing 18 seconds behind France’s Thibaut Pinot.
With a six-second bonus from finishing second in the 110.5 kilometer stage, Quintana is 1 minute, 12 seconds behind Froome, who will keep the leader’s jersey through the last ride on the streets of Paris. Froome’s Team Sky has now won three of the last four Tours.
“It was a bit close in the end, but after what he’s endured and put up with the last weeks, I think Chris has shown his true metal,” Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said in a televised interview. Froome helped Bradley Wiggins become the first British champion in 2012, and then won the following year.
Quintana, 25, took back more than 30 seconds Friday by breaking free with about three miles to go on a ride that finished with a climb to La Toussuire ski station in the Alps.
Froome, the 2013 champion, will hold the overall lead through the end of the race, which isn’t contested on the final stage by tradition. Quintana’s Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde is 5 minutes, 25 seconds behind Froome in third place.
Vincenzo Nibali, the defending champion, will finish fourth, 8 minutes, 36 seconds behind Froome after winning Friday’s stage to move up from seventh in the overall standings. He had began the day more than 8 minutes behind Froome after struggling with his form in the second week of the race.
The 102nd Tour started July 4 in Utrecht in Holland, went through Belgium and then arrived in France. It ends Sunday with a 109.5-kilometer ride through Paris. There were 21 stages, with 5 mountaintop finishes, covering 3,360 kilometers in this year’s race.