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Sports

July 21, 2013

Froome rides to victory in 100th Tour de France

PARIS — I won't let you down like Lance Armstrong. This Tour de France champion is for real.

That, in so many words, is the promise Chris Froome made as the newest winner of cycling's showcase race so badly hurt over the years by riders who doped to win it.

Because of their deceit, Froome faced a series of questions as he dominated rivals over three weeks of racing, all centered on the same key concern: Can we believe in you?

Yes, he insisted. The sport is changing, he argued. He handled the scrutiny politely and adroitly. He said he understood the skepticism. And on the podium in Paris, his wiry frame wrapped in his canary yellow jersey, Froome asked the guardians of the 110-year-old race and all those who love it to trust him.

"This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time," he said.

In two years, Britain has had two winners: Bradley Wiggins in 2012 and now Froome, a cooler, calmer, more understated but no less determined character than his Sky teammate with famous sideburns.

Froome rode into Paris in style: Riders pedaled up to him to offer congratulations; he sipped from a flute of champagne; a Tour organizer stuck an arm from his car window to shake Froome's hand. He dedicated his victory to his late mother, Jane, who died in 2008.

"Without her encouragement to follow my dreams I would probably be at home watching on TV," he said.

Froome took the race lead on Stage 8 in the Pyrenees, never relinquished it and vigorously fended off rivals whose concerted challenges turned this 100th Tour into a thriller. Froome and his Sky teammates linked arms as they rode for the line.

"This is a beautiful country with the finest annual sporting event on the planet. To win the 100th edition is an honor beyond any I've dreamed," he said.

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