Le Semnoz, France—July 20, 2013—By Jen Benepe ©
Chris Froome, winner of the 2013 Tour de France told reporters that his win was “overwhelming.” “The arrival on the Champs Elysees will be enormous tomorrow.”
The Yellow Jersey winner who triumphed today on the penultimate stage into Le Semnoz, more than 16 km above the town of Annecy, said the Tour hadn’t been all easy: his worst moment was on the Alpe d’Huez, he said, when he had 5 km to go, and he had no strength left. “It’s a horrible feeling when you really have no more energy left in your body,” he said adding that he only made it because Richie Porte helped him to the end.
His best day was on Mont Ventoux, when he pedaled away from Nairo Quintana to take the stage.
“It’s been a real fight,” all the way through, he said, first with wind, then rain, then the mountains. “There have been good days in the mountains and bad days in the mountains.”
The ultimate reason he said for winning is to inspire other people to ride, and he hopes he will provide that for young Kenyans. As a young boy himself he first started riding mountain bikes. After studying economics in South Africa, he got an invitation to spend a solid year with a small development team at the Unione Cyclistes International in Aigle, Switzerland. He decided to take the risk, and see if cycling was something he could really do well.
Froome’s mother died before last year’s Tour, and though the Team Sky rider tried to deflect the question, he could not hide the emotion in his voice when he said, “she’s been a really big motivation for me. I’d like to think she has been alongside me all the way.”
Most observers expected Froome to win, but he said he did not start to relax until he was 2 km away from the top of Le Semnoz today, battling it out with Quintana and Rodriguez.
“With two kilometers to go, I thought, ‘I’ve got five minutes, this is pretty much wrapped up now, this is it now, I’m here, and nothing has gone wrong,” he said. “That became an overwhelming feeling and it became really hard to concentrate.”
The rider also tribute his team for their hard work, but also for being fantastically organized, which he said he appreciates. Calling himself both a team player and “independent,” he said the structured training, teamwork, and schedules worked well for him.
He said he was sorry not to have teammates Edvald Boasson Hagen and Vasily Kiryenko in Paris with them. Both men dropped out due to injuries.
who was born in Kenya, went to school in South Africa, has lived and trained in Britain, and now lives in Monaco, said one of the best feelings is when he goes home to Kenya.
“One of the things that makes me smile is when I go to Kenya and the customs officials grim at me, and that really makes me happy.
“People tell me this is a life-changing event, but I don’t really want to change,” he said.
The 28-year-old also expects to come back for another Tour de France, because he said most people peak in their early 30’s.
Finally responding to the speculation swirling around him that he might be doping, he answered, “It’s totally understandable given where the sport has come from, and the history of the sport.”