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.

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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