There we have it, it’s all but over, the podium of 103rd edition of the Tour de France has been decided.
Sure the sprinters might toss and turn tonight, that symbolic win on the famed Champs Elysees cobbles front and centre of their minds, but for much of the peloton tomorrow’s ride into Paris will be all but a formality.
Chris Froome was always favourite to win this year’s race, no surprises there. But we saw signs of a new Chris Froome this time round. Casting off the ‘skybot’ moniker, there was less of the methodical Froome of old. Instead we caught glimpses of Froome 2.0 – a spontaneous, exciting and combative rider, especially downhill. Sure the team still might use a metronome as a training tool, but Froome 2.0 offers what we want … the unexpected.
For Richie Porte, Australia’s standout GC hopeful, his tour might be summed up in just two words, ‘that puncture’. After losing almost 2 minutes on Stage 2, Richie spent the rest of the Tour reclaiming time. He inched ever closer to the podium each stage of the final week to eventually finish in 5th place overall.
“It’s a great result but it’s a bit bittersweet to just throw away time like I have done on a few days,” Richie told reporters after last nights final stage in the mountains.
“I think it leaves me a little more motivated for next year so I look forward to having another go at it. I move on and now I’ve got the Olympics to look forward to so hopefully I’ll take some good form out of this race and have a good go there.”
Adam Hansen is one of the eight other Aussie riders to start this year’s Tour. Astonishingly, the 101st placed Lotto Soudal rider will complete his 15th consecutive Grand Tour when he guides team mate German sprint ace Andre Greipel into Paris tomorrow.
Of the other Aussies –
- It has been Luke Durbridge’s 3rd Tour. He finished Stage 20 in 113rd on general classification.
- Michael Matthews, riding his 2nd Tour, completed Stage 20 in 111th position overall.
- Mat Hayman, winner of this year’s Paris-Roubaix, has started 2 Tours but this will be the first he has completed. He was 136 overall at the completion of Stage 20.
- Leigh Howard, a member of IAM Cycling, raced his first Tour and finished the arduous event in 173 place on overall classification.
- Rohan Dennis served Richie Porte and Team BMC well and abandonded the Tour on the final rest day.
- Simon Gerrans’ 11th Tour de France campaign came to a bitter end after he crashed out on Stage 12. It was a double blow for Gerrans who also had to pull out of the Rio Olympics after being diagnosed with a broken collarbone.
- Mark Renshaw was the other Aussie to leave early. Renshaw, sprint sensation Mark Cavendish’s respected lead out man, fell ill after stage 8 and was forced to withdraw.
Bicycling Australia will feature in-depth analysis of this year’s Tour de France over coming days. Stay tuned for news, video highlights, interviews and more.