MONTGERON, France — Riding a yellow bike to match his jersey, defending champion Chris Froome set off toward his fourth Tour de France title on the final stage of this year's race.
The 32-year-old British rider started from Montgeron in the Essone suburb south of Paris as he headed to the finish 103
Froome chatted casually with two-time Champion Alberto Contador, the Spanish veteran, as if they were on a training ride.
Right in front of them, Frenchman Warren Barguil — wearing the best climber's red-and-white polka dot jersey — swapped race anecdotes with Australian Michael Matthews, wearing the green jersey awarded for the Tour's top sprinter.
Froome's teammates wore a yellow stripe on the back of their Team Sky shirts. They allowed themselves a flute of champagne, chinking glasses with leader Froome, as they casually rolled through the streets under cloudy skies with cheering fans packing the roads into Paris.
There will be plenty more bubbly flowing on Sunday night.
Froome has a 54-second lead over Colombian rider Rigoberto Uran and, barring a crash, he is virtually assured of winning a third straight title. His first came in 2013.
Froome did not win a stage this year, and this is unlikely to happen on Sunday.
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.
Froome all but sealed his win on Saturday, finishing third in the time trial in Marseille and putting more time into Uran and Frenchman Romain Bardet, who dropped from second to third.
Froome is edging closer to five-time Tour winners Jacques Anquetil, Eddie Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain.