photo credits @ Le Tour/ASO
Alexander Kristoff (UAE) claimed today’s final stage of the Tour de France, after beating John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) in a sprint finish along the Champs Elysees, marking the second stage victory for UAE Team Emirates in this year’s French Grand Tour, and Kristoff’s first since the 2014 race.
Meanwhile, Geraint Thomas (Tem Sky) finished safely in the peloton to seal the overall victory, crossing the finish alongside his teammate and defending champion Chris Froome, who took the third spot on the podium.
Tom Dumoulin finished second for Team Sunweb after also taking the runner-up spot in the Giro d’Italia won by Froome.
Froome’s failure to win a fifth consecutive Tour de France showed how difficult it is to complete a Giro-Tour double, with Marco Pantani being the last man to achieve the feat in 1998 during the doping-tainted era.
Thomas, who won two mountain stages, including one on the top of the iconic Alpe d’Huez, emerged as the strongest man in the race as he gained ground on his two rivals after taking the yellow jersey at the end of stage 11.
Only in the final time trial did he lose time on Dumoulin and Froome, but he had already virtually wrapped up the title in the mountains.
“Thomas was the absolute strongest over the last three weeks,” said Dumoulin.
“He didn’t make any mistakes, he was never put into trouble by anyone, including me, in the mountains or in any stage.”
“The strongest rider won the Tour de France,” Froome said. “It was clear once we hit the Alps, Geraint was in better condition than I was.”
Meanwhile, France’s Julian Alaphilippe, a one-day classic specialist, confirmed his huge potential by winning two stages and taking the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.
World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) ground through the last days after a heavy crash to secure a record-equalling sixth green jersey for the points classification and France’s Pierre Latour emerged as a possible podium finisher in the near future by winning the white jersey for the best under-25 rider.
It was, however, a disappointing race for France as Romain Bardet showed his limits when he ended up sixth overall after two podium finishes in 2016 and 2017.
No French rider has won the race since Bernard Hinault took his fifth title in 1985.
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