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Photography by Cor Vos, Kristof Ramon, Jered & Ashley Gruber
The penultimate stage of the 2016 Tour de France finished with a precarious descent of the Col de la Joux Plane Saturday in pouring rain, and at the bottom, Ion Izagirre (Movistar) demonstrated world-class descending skills to take the first victory for Spain at this year’s Tour.
“There were many quality riders in our breakaway group, so we’re very happy to finish ahead of them and win the stage,” Izagirre said. “Beating Nibali in a downhill is something that counts in a career, but Pantano also descends very well. I’m super happy. We came here with the Sueño Amarillo (yellow dream), but Froome was the strongest. At the end of the day, we’re happy with a spot on the podium [Quintana’s third], a stage win and the team classification victory.”
Race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) sealed the Tour de France title for the third time, as most of the general classification contenders finished together in what appeared to be a bit of a stalemate. Froome’s maillot jaune shown brightly in the rain and a smile crossed the Briton’s face as he crossed the finish, a shake of his head reflected his disbelief that he had won the Tour again.
“I’m pretty sore, all my knee and my back, but my legs were better today than yesterday after the crash,” Froome said. “I had that four minutes gap to play with. It gave me a breathing space. I just had to stay in front. It’s a huge relief to cross that finish line. The last 24 hours have been pretty chaotic but my teammates helped me so much to keep the yellow jersey on my shoulders. It’s an amazing feeling [to win the Tour]. It could be like the first one again.”
Read the full stage 20 race report, highlight video, and results here.