Chris Froome had to conquer demons in his mind when winning a second Tour de France title on this day in 2015.
Froome’s defence of the 2013 title ended with a broken hand and fractured wrist, but the Team Sky leader responded to win the 102nd Tour by one minute 12 seconds from Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
Froome had to dig deep on the penultimate stage to Alpe-d’Huez to limit his losses to Quintana, who ended as runner-up to Froome for a second time.
“There are all kinds of things going through your mind,” Froome said.
“It is forever this argument you are having with yourself, in your head, how much deeper you can go, how much suffering you can take.”
Froome felt the yellow jersey slipping through his grasp on the climb of the Col de la Croix de Fer as Quintana and his Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde, who placed third overall, tried to turn the screw.
“Once Quintana and Valverde had got that little gap, that was quite a pivotal moment of the race,” added Froome, who battled a chest infection in the third week of the race.
“If Richie (Porte) hadn’t got me close enough for me to be able to jump across like that, if I had tried to jump across on my own and they had accelerated and I was in no-man’s land, that could have been the Tour, that could have been the leader’s jersey gone.”
Froome was indebted to his team-mates for their support over three turbulent weeks.
Team Sky riders were abused by roadside spectators, and Froome was called a “doper”, had urine thrown at him and was spat on as unfounded allegations were made about his performances.
Froome went on to win the Tour in 2016 and 2017, with his four titles putting him just one behind the race record jointly held by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain.
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