Chris Froome wins his fourth Tour de France

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That led to questions about his ability to win the race for a fourth time when he looked lacklustre in the build-up.

The Dutch Dylan Groenewegen managed to claim the eighth bunch sprint victory this year as he outclassed Andre Greipel and Edvald Boasson Hagen in the final several hundred meters.

On his upcoming attempt at the Vuelta, Froome added: "The whole history side of it isn't something that drives me".

Stage 21 is reserved for sprinters, as the Tour's final stage traditionally is, with Froome and other riders lapping around Paris and its landmarks in a proccesional manner.

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".

That change of preparation, he said, was crucial in winning the Tour de France for a fourth time.

Froome's Team Sky chief Sir Dave Brailsford certainly believes Froome can become the greatest of them all, saying: "When his back's against the wall, like all great champions, he's come out and believed that he could win".

Froome's victory was the first one achieved with a gap of less than a minute and while there was no repeat of last year when he had to run up Mont Ventoux without a bike, he did have mechanical scares that his rivals failed to exploit. "Now I'm the winner here, it's wonderful".

"Physically, he has got what it takes and I don't think that's going to diminish in the next year or so".

"This is my first stage win at the Tour".

After crossing the finish line at the Champs-Élysées in Paris, Froome stopped by a group of people, reached into his pocket, and pulled out an engagement ring.

After 19 stages, 3,414.5 kilometers (2,121 miles) of Tour de France roads, and unspeakable mounds of calories for those who followed the riders from Germany through Belgium and Luxembourg and across five French mountain ranges, the marathon of cycling, eating and drinking is almost done.

Peter Sagan has proved the master in recent years of snaffling points on difficult stages, getting in the right breakaways and winning intermediate sprints.

With the Tour over, attention may well turn back to Brailsford's handling of the team in the light of a UK Anti-Doping investigation into allegations of wrongdoing.

VIN DU JOUR: The rose wines of Provence are enjoying increased popularity in France, especially after many winemakers decided to abandon the use of sulfites.

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