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Froome finishes third Saturday to virtually ice Tour de France

July 20, 2013 at 12:37 PM
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ANNECY, France, July 20 (UPI) -- Britain's Christopher Froome virtually clinched the Tour de France Saturday with a third-place finish in the next-to-last stage of the epic bicycle race.

Froome finished Stage 20 with a lead of 5 minutes, 3 seconds in the overall standings and was not expected to be challenged during Sunday's grand finale in Paris.

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Froome has led the race since the eighth stage and was on the verge of becoming the second-consecutive British winner of the Tour.

Nario Quintana of Colombia won Saturday's stage -- which covered 125 kilometers (77.6 miles) from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz -- in 3 hours, 39 minutes, 4 seconds. Joaquim Rodriguez finished second.

Quintana, Rodriguez and Froome were tightly bunched together for most of the race, but Quintana put on a late charge to win the sprint to the finish and claim the coveted polka-dot jersey designating him the "king of the mountains," the BBC said.

Sunday's final stage covers 133.5 kilometers (83 miles) from the palace of Versailles to Paris' famed Champs-Elysees.

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