British cyclist Chris Froome has all but secured his second Tour de France victory.
Froome finished today’s penultimate stage in the French alps in first place overall, with a lead of 1 minute, 12 seconds. The Kenyan-born Froome has led this year’s race since its seventh stage more than two weeks ago.
Today, Froome held off the second-place challenger, 25-year-old Colombian rider Nairo Quintana, over the climb of Alpe d’Huez, one of the race’s iconic mountain stages. Quintana led a bold attack up the final climb, where thousands of cheering spectators—many costumed and roaming into the narrow path—made for a chaotic experience. But he could not gain enough time over Froome.
Froome, one of the race favorites, must now just ride into Paris tomorrow (July 26) to win the world’s most important bike race, which is more than 2,000 miles (3,360 km) long this year. Riders historically do not attack the overall leader on the Tour’s final stage, which culminates in a sprint finish on Paris’s famed Champs Elysées.
Froome and Quintana also finished in first and second places overall, respectively, in the 2013 Tour.