July 25, 2015 – Chris Froome’s Sky team manager Dave Brailsford paid tribute to his lead rider after the Briton virtually clinched a second Tour de France on Saturday, describing the champion-in-waiting as a credit to his country.
Froome finished fifth on the 110.5km 20th stage from Modane to Alpe d’Huez but did just enough to keep his nose ahead of a charging Nairo Quintana. The Kenyan-born 30-year-old now just needs to stay on his bike on Sunday’s final stage to Paris to add to his 2013 Tour success.
And he will have done so despite an at times torrid Tour where he has been spat at, had urine thrown over him, and faced accusations of doping and of riding a motorised bicycle.
“I think after everything he’s endured, Chris has shown his real mettle,” Brailsford told ITV4.
“They (Froome’s detractors) don’t see what we see every day. He’s a credit to Britain. Today (Saturday) the lads were geed up for it and they were superb.” Brailsford added: “Chris is the most unbelievable competitor — the most polite guy off the bike — but on it the most resilient character I’ve met.
“He deserves more credit than he gets. The way he puts up with the abuse is unbelievable. Britain doesn’t have many champions like this fella.”
Froome admitted he was struggling on the final climb up to Alpe d’Huez as Quintana gradually rode away from him, eating into the 2min 38sec lead the Sky rider had over the Colombian at the start of the day.
Quintana finished second on the stage, behind winner Thibaut Pinot, but Froome came home with over a minute to spare to win by 1min 12sec overall. And he paid tribute to teammates Richie Porte and Wouter Poels for hanging tough with him on the final ascent.
“I was in difficulty there, I had to really try and find some reserves,” he said.
“I had Richie Porte and Wouter Poels for company, they really turned themselves out and saved it for me in the end. “Throughout this Tour, every single day from stage one, the guys have just been fantastic.”