Five-time winners Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain joined Froome on the podium. Missing, of course, was Armstrong. Stripping the serial doper of his seven wins tore a hole in the Tour's roll of honor as large as that left by World War II, when the race didn't take place from 1940-46.
None of the 100th edition's podium finishers — Froome, Nairo Quintana and Joaquim Rodriguez — have ever failed a drug test or been directly implicated in any of cycling's litany of doping scandals. That is an encouraging and notable departure both from the Armstrong era and many other Tour podiums before and since.
"In a way, I'm glad that I've had to face those questions. That after all the revelations last year and just the tarnished history over the last decade, all that's been channeled toward me now," Froome said. "I feel I've been able to deal with it reasonably well throughout this Tour, and hopefully that's sent a strong message to the cycling world that the sport has changed — and it really has."
"The peloton's standing together, the riders are united and it's not going to be accepted anymore."
The spectacular nighttime ceremonies, with the Eiffel Tower in glittering lights and the Arc de Triomphe used as a screen for a flashing lightshow, capped what has been a visually stunning Tour.
It started with a first-ever swing through Corsica, France's so-called "island of beauty," before veering through the Pyrenees to Brittany and then across France to the race's crescendo in the Alps — 2,115 grueling miles in total.
Because of the unique late-afternoon start for the final Stage 21, the riders raced on the cobbles of the Champs-Elysees as the sun cast golden hues over the peloton and shadows lengthened over the dense, cheering crowds. Marcel Kittel won the final sprint on the avenue, the German's sprinter's fourth stage win of this Tour.