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"The thing that defines this victory is the way we rode tactically, and the collective performance of the team. The guys in the team just did an amazing job. It just epitomises everything I love about this sport."

Photo: A.S.O.

CHRIS FROOME

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GERAINT THOMAS

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NICOLAS ROCHE

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TEAM SKY

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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27.07.2015 @ 13:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After securing a third Tour de France victory in four years Team Sky wrote another chapter in the team's history in Paris.

 

As the riders crossed the line together to celebrate Chris Froome's second win in the world's biggest bike race, the enormity of the achievement began to sink in.

 

Ever since Froome crashed out of the event on a soaking wet day in 2013, both he and the team have been working to return to the top of the mountain and recapture the yellow jersey.

 

Froome headed for Paris on a similarly wet day on Sunday but this time the Brit knew he was riding to victory. To get there he, his team-mates and team staff, had to overcome a mental and physical battle during possibly Team Sky's toughest challenge yet.

 

"If I think back to Holland where it all began it just feels as if it was a lifetime ago with the guys," said Froome after crossing the line. "Last night we were just reflecting on some of the moments. It's been such a tough Tour. I'm just so happy to have come out the way we did.

 

"We've had to fight for this. We've had to fight for it on the bike, we've had to fight for it off the bike. We've overcome everything now and we've made it to Paris. We've been waiting for this moment for a long time."

 

 

Team Principal Dave Brailsford has seen it all before but there is no sign of his appetite for victory dwindling after another hard-fought success.

 

Paying tribute to the team he told Sky Sports News: "We've got a fantastic group of people. We've got a great work ethic and we've worked very hard on the culture within the team. Everybody is just so professional and they know how to win. They know what it takes, they do it every day and they do it relentlessly.

 

"This is the biggest race in the world in our sport. If you're going to be in elite sport you've got to go for the biggest event and try to win it repeatedly. And that's what we try and do. Every one is different. The thing that defines this victory is the way we rode tactically, and the collective performance of the team. The guys in the team just did an amazing job. It just epitomises everything I love about this sport. It's all about sacrifice and it's all about endurance. All these guys sacrifice everything they've got on a daily basis so that someone else can win. And when you see it happen it's phenomenal."

 

 

Brailsford did admit he was less in love with the sport during an agonizing penultimate stage which saw his team and Froome dig deep while coming under attack from GC rivals on Alpe d'Huez.

 

"Yesterday's stage up Alpe d'Huez was the longest 40 minutes of my life," he added. "We've been around a bit in the sport and done some big things but I couldn't watch yesterday. I knew in my head it would be okay but emotionally I couldn't cope with it."

 

 

"We've worked so hard for this and we're definitely going to enjoy it," said a smiling Geraint Thomas outside a jumping team bus in Paris.

"There are a lot of hard yards and work goes into it. There's a whole team behind Froomey. Obviously he has to finish it off, but everyone has got to set him up and put him in a position to win it. There's so much stress and tension for the whole three weeks. When you look at it Froomey only has to actually race himself for the final hour for a couple of stages - the rest is down to the team that keep him there and put him in the position to do that. And the team did that perfectly."

 

Crossing the line closest to Froome, Thomas, who finished a fantastic fifteenth overall in his own right, added that it had been a privilege to finish together as a team on the Champs Elysees.  

 

"You don't really ever get chance to do that. Froomey really appreciates the work everyone did. The fact that everyone crossed that line together arm in arm - it shows what a team this is. The fact that Froomey wanted to do that for us as well is great."

 

 

Wet weather and slick roads made the final stage far from the simple procession it often is. For Nicolas Roche, on the winning team in his first year with Sky, it was important to cross the line before the celebrations could really begin.

 

"It was quite stressful this morning with the rain," he told ITV. "Looking at the women's race on TV we saw how dangerous it was and we were quite nervous coming into Paris. But it was amazing being able to let go in the final 500 metres and celebrate together.

 

"We [stayed up front] for the first few laps just for safety reasons. Just because the race is not on for GC time you don't want to be caught in a crash while the roads were still wet. Lucky enough as the laps went by the road dried and that made it a bit safer coming into the finish.

 

"[Crossing the line was] an indescribable feeling. It's something that we've worked really hard for over the past few months. As a group we were really close and it was an exceptional result."

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