Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

TOUR DE FRANCE ; `Vive la France': Froome Makes Emotional Victory Speech

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

TOUR DE FRANCE ; `Vive la France': Froome Makes Emotional Victory Speech

Article excerpt

PARIS - After the beer and champagne celebrations, Chris Froome delivered a sobering and emotional message from the Tour de France winner's podium on the Champs-Elysees. Ten days after the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed 84 people, Froome - a Kenyan- born British rider who often trains on the French Riviera - reminded everyone what the Tour stands for.

"These events put sport into perspective but they also show why the values of sport are so important to free society, Froome said on Sunday in a prepared speech. "We all love the Tour de France because it's unpredictable but we love the Tour more for what stays the same - the passion of the fans for every nation, the beauty of the French countryside and the bonds of friendship created through sport. These things will never change.

"Thanks for your kindness in these difficult times, Froome added, switching to French as he addressed the local fans. "You have the most beautiful race in the world. Vive le Tour, Vive la France.

Cheered on by thousands of fans undeterred by the recent spate of violence across Europe, Froome celebrated his third Tour title in four years. He finished safely at the back of the main pack in the final stage, arm-in-arm with his teammates during the mostly ceremonial leg ending on the cobblestones below the Arc de Triomphe.

Immediately afterward, Froome was greeted by his wife and infant son, who he took in his arms.

"To Michelle my wife and my son Kellan, your love and support make everything possible. Kellan, I dedicate this victory to you, Froome said, also thanking his teammates and coaches.

Andre Greipel of Germany won the 21st leg in a sprint finish.

At the start of the stage, Froome dropped back to his Team Sky car to collect bottles of beer and distributed them to each of his eight teammates for a celebratory round.

Then it was time for the traditional flute of champagne.

Froome rode a yellow bike to go with his yellow jersey, helmet, gloves and shoes. His teammates had yellow stripes on their jerseys and yellow handlebars on their bikes.

Froome also still had bandages on his right knee and elbow, the result of a downhill crash two days ago. …

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