Froome bound for glory on the Champs Elysees
- Published: 20/07/2013 at 10:49 PM
- Online news:
Kenyan-born cyclist Chris Froome was Sunday poised to succeed Bradley Wiggins as the Tour de France champion to complete a remarkable double for Britain.
Britain's Chris Froome crosses the finish line at the end of the 20th stage of the 100th edition of the Tour de France cycling race, on July 20, 2013 between Annecy and Annecy-Semnoz, French Alps.
Froome, who finished runner-up in 2012 on his way to helping Sky teammate Wiggins make history as the first ever British winner of the world's most famous bike race, headed into Sunday's final stage with a 5min 03sec lead on Colombian sensation Nairo Quintana.
The final stage of the most prestigious event in cycling is traditionally not contested by the leaders in the race's overall standings, leaving Froome to toast victory on the world famous Champs Elysees in Paris.
As the field set off from Versailles, Froome will be roared on several thousand miles away by the man who first initiated him into the sport.
Back in Kenya, David Kinjah, Froome's first cycling coach, saluted his one-time protege's progress.
For the last three weeks Kinjah has been following Froome in arguably the world's most gruelling sporting event after buying a satellite television package and recording every stage of the Tour.
Recalling how they trained together, mountain biking in the rural highlands north of Nairobi, Kinjah admitted he is delighted to see Froome produce such a dominant display on the sport's biggest stage.
"Even though we don't see each other so much any more he has lived my dreams. He is wearing the yellow jersey every day and I almost felt like I was wearing it myself," Kinjah told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.
"He was like one of us, our brother. He was just funny and happy, a white boy who accepted our village and ate our food."
Kinjah also shed light on the famed Froome stamina.
"He would want to complete each and every training ride and he wouldn't stop. If he decided he wanted to complete the whole 100km he would do exactly that," he said.
"No matter how much pain or how many hours he went through he would keep riding to the end."
That ability has led to raised eyebrows in cycling circles with some speculating that Froome is just the latest in the long line of cyclists using banned substances.
But Sunday Times reporter David Walsh, who played a significant role in unearthing American rider Lance Armstrong's history of doping, has spent several weeks inside the Team Sky camp and he is adamant Froome shouldn't have to defend himself from drug slurs.
Walsh spoke to Richard Freeman, one of Team Sky's doctors, about Froome's dramatic improvement in the 2011 Vuelta a Espana and was convinced by the medical expert's assertion that his blood values remained the same and showed no trace of doping.
Team Sky chief Davis Brailsford told Walsh that he thought Froome's progress in 2011 was in part related to his successfully managing his bilharzia, a debilitating condition caused by a parasite that attacks red blood cells.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency