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Tour de France Glance

July 20, 2013

ANNECY-SEMNOZ, France (AP) — A brief look at Saturday’s 20th and penultimate stage of the 100th Tour de France:

Stage: The 20th stage was the last tough one of the 100th Tour — Sunday’s ride into Paris for the finale is largely processional — and took riders into the Alps on a 125-kilometer (78-mile) trek from Annecy to Annecy-Semnoz. The last ascent to Annecy-Semnoz, past ski lifts and ski slopes, was rated HC or Hors Categorie, meaning it’s considered too hard to classify.

Winner: In time they may call it the “Battle of Annecy-Semnoz” as Colombian Nairo Quintana launched a decimating late attack on the last climb to beat Spaniard Joaquin Rodriguez by 18 seconds and race leader Chris Froome by 29. More importantly for Quintana, he dropped Alberto Contador on that climb and took the Spaniard’s place on the podium in second place. Rodriguez was third, Contador fell to fourth.

Yellow Jersey: Christopher Froome. He retained his big lead to ensure he will become Britain’s second successive Tour champion after Bradley Wiggins. Only an accident or other freak mishap — too much Champagne? — on Sunday’s ceremonial ride can stop him.

Stat of the day: 4 hours, 24 minutes, 39 seconds. The time gap between Froome and last-placed Canada’s Svein Tuft — the equivalent of a whole stage.

Quote of the day: “For the first time I realized that it was almost won”— Froome describing the moment he knew he was about to become a Tour champion as he passed the sign showing 2 kilometers (about 1 mile) to go.

What’s next: Froome can pretty much take it easy on Sunday, as he rides along the tree-lined Champs-Elysees and around the Arc de Triomphe for a nighttime finish. That 133-kilometer (82-mile) jaunt starts in Versailles, and once it is over Froome can mount the top of the podium like Wiggins did last year.

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