The end has come, friends.
Shed your tears, crack your beers, toast to your fallen comrades and riders of races past; Le Tour De France 2015 is all wrapped up, ladies and gents, and we have a very clear winner.
Bust open the bubbly, Team Sky. You’ve done it again.
Chris Froome, undisputed badass and leader of the pack since Stage 7, has just completed one of the most dominant Tour performances in recent years. After leading the peloton by 5+ minutes early on, he swiped the polka dot jersey from Daniel Teklehaimanot after the big climb at Stage 9 and managed to hang on until the bitter end.
It was a return to form for Froome, who crashed out with a broken hand early last year after a promising start and hopes of pulling a back-to-back repeat of his 2013 win.
It's also worth noting, however, that it definitely took multiple solid slams to put him out for good.
And so, for the third time in four years, a Sky rider has claimed the Yellow Jersey for the overall win with the fastest cumulative race time. Essentially the Manchester United or Los Angeles Lakers of professional cycling, Team Sky's big budget antics have proven that it's not all just for show.
(Though it's definitely
at least partially
Personally, this is a big win for Froome—he is the first Briton to win twice at the Tour, and the first person since 1970 to do it while simultaneously earning the Polka Dots and accompanying title of badassdom that is the "King of the Mountain".
But naturally, such an incredible performance can't go unpunished. It is Le Tour, after all.
Immediately after his impressive push in the early Stages, cries of cheating and the dreaded D-word flew at Froome from all sides. Nevermind that he tested out negative for all forms of doping. He's winning too hard. That means he's a cheat, right?
I get it—we're all still scarred from the Armstrong era, but just because a guy pulls (ridiculously) far ahead of the pack doesn't mean he's doped up. Have we considered that maybe, just maybe, he was actually the best rider out there this year?
Don't get me wrong: if somebody's caught cheating, then by all means, go ahead and get up on your soapbox. But do it with substantiated anger, yeah? As of today, there's zero proof to mar this guy's record.
Innocent until proven guilty, right?
But even after riding through a storm of spit, urine (yes, really—somebody threw urine at him), and all kinds of verbal abuse, Froome took the win and did it with class, clocking in with a total race time of a bit under 85 hours (well over a minute faster than Nairo Quintana, second place finisher and White Jersey winner), securing his title and making everybody jealous.
Especially these guys:
Losers. All of you.
(But look! We match!)
Both France and the U.S. put on positively dismal performances at the 2015 Tour.
With a new generation of talented young riders and a few recent second- and third-place finishes, the French team was poised to make a strong 2015 showing. Then, disaster struck, leaving their squad all but decimated by injury and illness. This year saw an abnormally high crash rate and subsequent abandonments, and the US was not immune to whatever weirdness and bad juju was dropping competitors left and right. A full third of the US competitors dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Of course, it didn't help that we only sent 3 riders to the Tour this year. Andrew Talansky managed to place 11th, making him the top US finisher in the peloton, followed only by Tyler Farrar way down at spot no. 154.
There's always next year, right?
Professional US cycling is definitely in a transitional phase, somewhere post-Armstrong but pre-New Generation. It might take a while for the dopetalk to level out and give the next batch of young guns their fair shot.
That's it for this year's Tour coverage!
Next week it's back to business, but don't worry—we've got plenty of fun stuff planned.