ALPE D’HUEZ, France (AP) A brief look at the 20th stage of the Tour de France on Saturday:
Stage: The penultimate stage took the pack along 110.5 kilometers (69 miles), starting in Modane Valfrejus and over two of the toughest climbs in pro cycling: The Croix de Fer pass and a finish up the fabled Alpe d’Huez, which was lined with colorfully and, at times, scantily clothed crowds.
Winner: Thibaut Pinot of France. The third-place finisher at last year’s Tour captured the stage win with a solo breakaway.
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Yellow jersey: Chris Froome. The Kenya-born Briton saw his overall advantage dwindle against his closest rival, Nairo Quintana, but held on enough to all but ensure victory in the three-week race in Paris on Sunday barring a catastrophe.
How did the ”Fab Four” perform? A day after surging ahead to trim Froome’s lead by about a half-minute, Colombia’s Quintana picked up where he left off and cut another 1:36 from his deficit with a blistering attack on the Alpe d’Huez. Among the two other pre-race favorites, two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali finished nearly 2 minutes after Froome – but they were already out of contention for the title.
Quote of the day: ”This will be burned into my memory: A victory on Alpe d’Huez is the stuff of dreams” – Pinot.
Stat of the day: 72. The number of seconds by which Froome now leads Quintana, setting up the closest 1-2 Tour finish since 2008.
Next stage: The last stage takes riders on a flat 109-kilometer (68-mile) loop from the western Paris suburb of Sevres to the Champs-Elysees. Expect a leisurely ride for the most part – until the final sprint approaches – and the Champagne to flow for Froome’s Sky team.