After three weeks in which he continuously rode in the rear, Chris Froome will almost certainly finish the Tour de France in Paris on Sunday.

The four-time winner nevertheless enjoyed this edition immensely.

After Saturday's time trial, in which Froome again finishes in the rear, he takes more than half an hour to give interviews to media from many countries.

He is equally friendly and polite to every reporter and in between he makes time to wave to fans.

"I love this sport. It's tough, but I genuinely love cycling at the highest level," said Froome.

In 2017 he recorded the last of his four Tour victories.

The 36-year-old Briton ended up in hospital in 2019 after a fall in the Dauphiné with multiple bone fractures and since then he has not come close to his old level.

In the Tour he took another step in his recovery process.

"Due to my injury and the coronavirus, I have not been able to race much in recent years. It was an important goal for me to finish a race of this caliber again. All accelerations are much easier to follow after three weeks than in the beginning. is a good sign for me."

Froome did not finish in the top seventy in any stage in the Tour.

Froome did not finish in the top seventy in any stage in the Tour.

Photo: Getty Images

Froome never thought about giving up

"Although I've been in the back every day, it was a big step for me to be here and finish the race," Froome said with satisfaction.

"Certainly in a year in which so many riders dropped out."

"Because it was a very tough Tour. There was a hard race every day. And you see a lot of injured or exhausted riders driving around in the peloton."

Froome also crashed hard in the first stage.

"That cost me a lot of strength, but I never thought about giving up. I am very happy to be in Paris tomorrow."

Froome came to the aid of a fan after falling into a ravine

Due to a lack of performance, Froome was mainly in the news this Tour with a rescue on the Col du Portet.

Shortly after the finish, together with Philippe Gilbert and Christopher Juul Jensen, he came to the aid of a fan who fell twenty meters into the ravine on his bicycle.

"It was a colorful Tour, in every way," Froome laughs when he is reminded of the moment.

"I don't think that man realized it was Chris Froome who came to help him. It looked like he had a concussion, he had absolutely no idea what had happened."

After the Tour, Froome will discuss with his team Israel Start-Up Nation what the rest of the year will look like.

Participation in the Vuelta is an option.

"One thing is certain: I would love to ride the Tour again next year," says the Brit.

"It's no secret that I still hope to get back to my old level. I'm going to work very hard for that."

When he drives off after all the interviews, he gets applause from the French public.

At his four Tour victories, he was still regularly booed by spectators.

"The support from the fans has been really great. I've never enjoyed a Tour as much as this year."

See also: View the classifications of the Tour with Pogacar in yellow jersey