Chris Froome puts finishing touches on second Tour de France title in three years

Froome, 30, a late bloomer who surged into the limelight when he took second place in the 2011 Tour of Spain, beat Colombian Nairo Quintana by one minute 12 seconds and his Movistar team mate Alejandro Valverde of Spain by 5:25.

Team Sky rider Chris Froome of Britain, right, the race leader's yellow jersey, cycles near the Arc de Triomphe during the 109.5-km (68 miles) final stage of the Tour de France from Sevres to Paris Champs-Elysees, France, July 26, 2015. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
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PARIS // Chris Froome said he felt “incredible” after winning his second Tour de France title following Sunday’s 21st and final stage to Paris.

Briton Froome, 30, crossed the line on the Champs Elysees arm-in-arm with his Sky teammates to clinch a second Grand Boucle crown following his 2013 success.

“This is such a great race, what can I say? I feel a lot of emotion,” said Froome after a Tour in which he was doused with urine, spat at, insulted and accused of cheating.

“Of course it was a very, very difficult Tour, both on the bike and off it. I’m so happy to be here in yellow.

“There were a few difficulties, a few extra stresses outside of the race but that’s cycling in 2015.

“I’m happy to be in this position to speak for cycling today.”

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Germany’s Andre Greipel won the stage, his fourth this year and 10th in total, ahead of Frenchman Bryan Coquard and Alexander Kristoff of Norway.

Colombian Nairo Quintana finished second overall with his Spanish Movistar teammate Alejandro Valverde taking third, his best finish at the Tour at the age of 35.

“I’m not disappointed at all, I’ve confirmed my ability and my status within the team,” said Quintana.

“I’m only 25 so I have many more opportunities to try to win the Tour.

“(Froome) is a great rival, he suffered a lot for his victory and was very strong -- he deserves it.”

Rain had rendered the cobbles at the finish on the Champs Elysees dangerous so organisers neutralised the race from the moment it reached Paris.

It meant the official timing was stopped just after riders passed the finishing line for the first time ahead of 10 laps of the famous Parisian avenue.

It allowed Froome and his teammates -- wearing a black kit with the traditional blue stripe replaced by a yellow one in hommage to their leader’s feat -- to finish in a straight line, arm-in-arm, over a minute after the stage winner.

Having already won the Tour in 2013, finishing in the same way but then because his lead to Quintana -- second that time as well -- was sufficiently large to allow him to do so, Froome became the first Briton to win the Grand Boucle for a second time.

Quintana finished at 1min 12sec overall with Valverde third over five minutes back.

Last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali finished fourth overall, ahead of two-time former champion Alberto Contador.

But on the final stage, a 109.5km run from the Parisian suburb of Sevres, Greipel emphasised his sprint superiority at this Tour.

The 33-year-old had already won the second, fifth and 15th stages in sprint finishes.

It made it Greipel’s best ever Tour, eclipsing the three stages he won in 2012.

“I’m looking forward to a rest now,” said the Lotto-Soudal rider.

“This Tour de France has been amazing for Lotto-Soudal, in five bunch sprints we won four of them.

“We can be really proud of this Tour de France, next year is another Tour de France but now I’m really happy and delighted with everything that happened in these last three weeks.”

It continued German sprint dominance at the Tour as between Greipel’s two outstanding seasons, compatriot Marcel Kittel was the top fast-man winning four stages in both 2013 and 2014.

Greipel’s expected rivals Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan could only manage sixth and seventh respectively on Sunday.

Sagan did win the sprinter’s green points jersey, though, for the fourth year in a row, despite not managing to win a stage for the second successive year.

Froome finished as king of the mountains -- only the sixth rider to finish in yellow and the polkadot jersey -- and Quintana, 25, was the best young rider as his Movistar outfit won the team competition.

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