Britain's Chris Froome won the Tour de France on Sunday, having led the field ever since the eighth stage, although Germany's Marcel Kittel won the race's last stage, the triumphal ride along the Champs-Elysees and around the Arc de Triomphe, in the 100th edition of the iconic cycling race.
Joining Froome on the victory stand were Colombia's Nairo Quintana, riding for Movistar, and Spain's Joaquim "Purito" Rodriguez, riding for Katusha.
None of the men on the podium has ever failed a drug test or been directly implicated in any of cycling's many recent doping scandals, a welcome change from the Lance Armstrong era and many other Tours before and since his heyday.
"This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time," Froome said.
Froome, born in Kenya 28 years ago and riding for Sky, had won three stages during this year's race, while Kittel won four. Quintana turned in a very strong performance to win the 20th stage of the 22-stage competition late this past week.
The wearer of this year's yellow jersey dedicated his victory to his late mother, Jane, who died in 2008. "Without her encouragement to follow my dreams I would probably be at home watching on TV," said Froome, who had taken the lead in the Pyrenees and never was dislodged from the No. 1 slot by his racing rivals.
"This is a beautiful country with the finest annual sporting event on the planet. To win the 100th edition is an honor beyond any I've dreamed," he said. His overall winning margin of 4 minutes, 20 seconds was the largest since 1997 and since taking the lead two weeks ago he had clearly dominated the race.
He and his Sky teammates linked arms as they pedaled toward the finish line on Sunday evening and Froome crossed the mark about 9:40 p.m. with a last-stage time of 3:06:15.
The colorful and extravagant victory ceremony - accompanied by a lightshow and a lit-up Eiffel Tower in the background - was attended by about 350 riders who had participated in one of the Tours so far, including the so-called giants of the organization, Eddy Merckk, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, the only riders - besides Jacques Anquetil - who have each won five Tours.
Sunday's 133.5-kilometer (82-mile) ride was leisurely, for the most part, starting out from the Versailles Palace near Paris. Finishing the grueling three-week 3,404-kilometer (2,115-mile) race were 169 riders, out of 198 who had started.
Last year's Tour winner was another Brit, Bradley Wiggins, who also rode for Sky. He did not compete in this year's Tour due to knee injury. EFE