By Claire Philbin
He may not be participating in this year’s Tour de France after a horrifying injury at the Critérium du Dauphiné left Chris Froome with multiple fractures and ruled him out of the rest of the season. But if you bet on Tour de France 2019, you’ll find his Ineos teammates Egan Bernal (7/4) and Geraint Thomas (9/4) as two of the favourites to claim the yellow jersey come the end of the race. In homage to one of cycling’s greats, here we take a look back at Froome’s four Tour de France general classification wins, which make him the second-highest winner of the gruelling road race, as well as being the most successful Brit.
2013: a debut general classification win
Froome won three individual stages of the 100th edition of the Tour de France to triumph in the general classification. After winning stage 8, the mountain stage from Castres to Ax 3 Domaines, he remained in control of the yellow jersey throughout the rest of the race – but still went on to win a further two stages: 15 and 17.
Stage 15 (Givors to Mont Ventoux) saw Froome dominate in the mountains again, winning the stage by 29 seconds, but also increasing his overall lead by 1 minute 46 seconds, to 4 minutes 14 seconds. While in stage 17, he was expected to extend his lead further in the time trial, and did just that. The 32km stage from Embrun to Chorges saw Froome complete the hilly course nine seconds quicker than his closest rival, tightening his grip on the general classification yellow jersey.
While Marcel Kittel for Argos-Shimano won the final stage in the Parisienne twilight, Froome won the coveted yellow jersey, with a final race time of 83 hours 56 minutes 40 seconds, almost four-and-a-half minutes quicker than Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in second-place.
2015: mountains classification and general classification wins
If his first win was impressive, 2015 saw Froome dominate from the seventh stage of the Tour – becoming the first British cyclist to win the prestigious race twice – while also winning the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification.
Froome took over as race leader after Tony Martin crashed inside the final kilometre of stage 6, breaking his collarbone, forcing him to retire from the race. High mountain stage 10 (Tarbes to La Pierre Saint-Martin) saw the leader dominate and win the stage emphatically – increasing his overall lead to nearly three minutes.
Although his overall win was only by 1 minute 12 second this time, Froome was consistent in his quest for the yellow jersey and he once again managed to hold off the charge of Colombian, Quintana.
2016: a hat-trick of general classification wins
Going into the 2016 Tour de France as one of the pre-race favourites, Froome completed a hat-trick of victories, once again dominating the race in its early stages. He may have only won two individual stages, but he held onto the yellow jersey from stage 8, which was his first stage win.
In the shortest stage of the race (stage 18: Sallanches to Megève), Froome held off the challenge of Tom Dumoulin, Fabio Aru and Richie Porte to extend his overall lead to nearly four minutes. The next stage saw him crash on a treacherous descent and needing to borrow teammate Thomas’ bike, he continued to hold onto his lead.
With a final race time of 89 hours 4 minutes 48 seconds, Froome made it a record three wins for a Brit at the Tour de France, beating Quintana (who finished third) once again.
2017: his fourth and most recent general classification win
Froome may not have won any of the individual stages at the 2017 Tour de France, but he took over the yellow jersey from teammate Thomas as early as stage five. Although Fabio Aru won it off him in stage 12, Froome won it back in stage 14 and held onto it, winning the overall race by just 54 seconds over Columbian Rigoberto Urán (Canondale-Drapac).
Once again, it wasn’t without drama, with a struggle on the steep incline finish at Peyragudes in stage 12 seeing him lose 22 seconds to Aru; while in stage 15, he got a flat tyre but still managed to hold onto the yellow jersey.
Will Froome be back to retain his yellow jersey in 2020? We’ll just have to wait and see.