SAN DIEGO, July 20, 2013 – Enjoying a safe lead, Chris Froome of Sky Racing Team only needed to play it safe to secure his win of the 2013 Tour de France. The real battle taking place on the final mountain stage Saturday was for the second and third spots on the podium in Paris.
Befitting a great champion, Froome stayed with the top riders and joined the break by Nairo Quintana of Colombia and Joaquin Rodriguez of Spain as they raced up the final climb of the day and the Tour. Froome still had a chance to add the King of the Mountains jersey to his accomplishments, but he would have to take it away from the charging Quintana.
Quintana put on a surge with one kilometer to go and secured his first stage win in the Tour, the King of the Mountains jersey and the young rider’s white jersey, an amazing accomplishment for the 23-year-old cyclist for Movistar. It also vaulted him into second place over his rivals. Barring disaster, he should stand next to Froome on the podium in Paris.
The icing on the cake for Quintana, today is Colombia’s Declaration of Indepedence Day, its version of the Fourth of July and a national holiday.
As he crossed the finish line, the impassive Quintana finally gave the cheering crowd a smile. Put money on Quintana to win the Tour before the decade is out.
Quintana said of his win, “I do not believe it. I am very happy, and I must thank all my teammates who worked today but also throughout the Tour … Today we controlled the race well, everyone knew what he had to do, and was perfectly done. It’s great, even better than what I expected.
“It’s a special day for Colombia, especially since it is the national holiday. I think of course, about my family and friends who are there. The former Colombian riders have marked the history of cycling, but we are a new generation, who saw something important today.”
Rodriguez couldn’t match Quintana at the end, but did a superb job to ride into third place.
Alberto Contador of Spain didn’t have the firepower to keep up with this trio, and lost time dropping back into fourth place. It is surely a great disappointment for this proud former Tour winner. Fans can hope it fuels his desire to come back even better and win next year.
American fans can celebrate the fifth place result for Andrew Talansky of Garmin Sharp. He has steadily improved his overall standing as the highest placed American rider, and is now in the top ten in his first Tour. Talansky said even he is surprised at his good results; he will be another young rider to watch for the future.
Throwing down for the seasoned riders, 41-year-old father of six Jens Voight led the stage and crossed the final Category 1 climb first. It wasn’t about gaining points, it was about a show for the fans and sheer panache. The German is one of the most popular riders on the Tour among fans, who loved seeing the senior statesman and oldest rider in the Tour out in front. For his effort, Voight was named the stage’s Most Combative Rider. Voight says if he gets another contract, he can’t wait to come back in 2014 at age 42.
The current standings as the Tour rides into Paris:
Chris Froome, Sky Racing Team: 80 hours, 49 minutes, 33 seconds
Nairo Qunitana Rojas, Movistar, 5 minutes 3 seconds behind
Joaquim Rodriguez, Katusha, 5 minutes, 47 seconds behind
Alberto Contador, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 7 minutes, 10 seconds behind
Roman Kreuziger, Team Saxo-Tinkoff, 8 minutes, 10 seconds behind
Bauke Mollema, Belkin, 12 minutes, 25 seconds behind
Jakob Fuglsang, Astana, 13 minutes behind
Alejandro Valverde, Movistar, 16 minutes, 9 seconds behind
David Navarro, Cofidis, 16 minutes, 35 seconds behind
Andrew Talansky, Garmin Sharp, 18 minutes, 22 seconds behind
The traditional finale comes into the City of Lights and is essentially a coronation celebrating the achievement of the winner. For the centennial Tour, it’s a very special route. Instead of turning in front of the Arc de Triomphe, riders will go all the way around it. The stage is in the early evening and should finish at dusk, under the lights of Paris, the first ever evening finish. Truly a magical sight.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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