Froome's mental strength gives him the edge, says Brailsford

Pedal power Team Sunweb’s Warren Barguil of France crosses the line to take victory on stage 18 of the Tour de France

Chris Froome glad to put Tour's mountain stages behind him

He just needed to finish safely in the French capital, as what he did on Sunday, chatting with Spanish veteran Alberto Contador during the ride.

The fan, a Channel 4 journalist called Tom Calverley, then got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend to marry him.

In March, he admitted making mistakes in handling Team Sky's anti-doping and medical practices after an investigation into a 'mystery' package hand-delivered for rider Sir Bradley Wiggins, at the end of the 2011 Criterium du Dauphine, which he won.

PARIS • Chris Froome picked up €500,000 (S$792,708) on Sunday as his prize for winning the Tour de France. I've worked on my descending, my positioning in the bunch, but tactically I've got more to learn.

It was Froome's closest Tour struggle yet as his final winning margin was less than a minute for the first time, Colombia's Rigoberto Uran finishing second at 54sec with Romain Bardet of France, the runner-up last year, third at 2min 20sec.

He was thrilled by the support in Marseille, where the start and finish of the time trial were in the Stade Velodrome football stadium, calling the atmosphere "enormous".

"He is right up there with the greats now, there is no denying it", Brailsford said.

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"This is an amazing place for the sprinters". I don't think that's going to diminish in the next few years or so.

Even then, his high-calibre Sky team, packed with riders who would be the head honchos in other outfits, would possibly have found a way to make sure Froome arrived in Paris wearing yellow.

"The goal was to be strong in the third week of the Tour and, especially after a couple of hard days in the Alps, it's worked out really well".

Some might argue this is bordering on myopia but cutting oneself off from the world and compartmentalising surrounding issues is probably part of being a successful Tour rider.

Brailsford also pointed to the way the team reacted when Froome's back wheel broke on the penultimate climb of stage 15, leaving him 45 seconds behind a group powered by Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale group and facing losing the yellow jersey for the second time in the race.

Edvald Boasson Hagen ended a run of near misses to take stage 19 of the Tour de France on Friday, on a trouble-free day for race leader Chris Froome who moved to the brink of overall victory. Voeckler was also the last Frenchman to claim the polka dot jersey five years ago.

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