Chris Froome (Sky) conceded almost a minute to his team leader Bradley Wiggins in the final Tour de France time trial, but his performance was still enough to take second on stage 19 and consolidate his runner-up spot on the general classification. Barring a bad crash, Froome is likely to finish the race just under three minutes clear of third placed Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) tomorrow on the Champs-Élysées.
In the crush of fans and media that greeted the 27-year-old at the finish in Chartres, Froom said: "Today was a big test and again still on a day like today anything could have gone wrong for myself or Bradley, so to be in the same standings as we were this morning - that was the objective and I’m chuffed to bits with that."
Froome, who’s only other Tour appearance was in 2008 when he finished 81st, said the magnitude of his achievement was yet to hit home.
"I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet but I’m sure it will in the next week or so. Still, obviously we’ve got to get into Paris tomorrow. I’m just looking forward to finishing it off now. The response we’re getting from everyone and the support we’re getting from the public and the fans is just unbelievable."
When asked if he could have imagined British pre-eminence at the Tour in his lifetime, the Kenyan-born British citizen said: "Maybe within 10 years of starting it [a British team] but not in the third year of Sky being a ProTour [ProTeam] team - that’s quite an achievement," he said.