Tour de France: Where does fourth victory place Froome among cycling greats?

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Barring a disaster on the ceremonial final stage of the Tour de France, Chris Froome will become a four-time winner of the race on Sunday, clinching his third successive victory on the Champs-Elysees.

Since Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner of the most famous race in road cycling in 2012, Froome has established himself as the face of a period of dominance for Team Sky.

But where does he rank among the event's most celebrated figures?

Well, Froome's fourth win in the race sees him break clear of three-time champions Philippe Thys, Louison Bobet and Greg LeMond, leaving only four men boasting better Tour records than the Kenya-born rider - all on five victories.

Here we take a look at those riders, who will now be firmly in Froome's sights.

 

JACQUES ANQUETIL (1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964)

It is a sad inevitability that we cannot make it through a list of the Tour's most prolific winners without having to confront the issue of doping - indeed, one infamous drug-user, Lance Armstrong, was stripped of seven titles over his indiscretions.

But Jacques Anquetil was from a different age and was open about his drug use. He is quoted as once having said: "Leave me in peace. Everybody takes dope."

Nevertheless, Anquetil is considered a great in the sport, and his victory in the 1957 Tour came on his debut appearance in the race.

 

EDDY MERCKX (1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)

Belgian rider Eddy Merckx tops many a list of the greatest athletes in road racing history and he is the only man to have won all three main jerseys on the same Tour, topping the general, points and mountains classifications in 1969.

Merckx's five triumphs in France contribute to a total of 11 Grand Tour victories - the most achieved by any rider, while he tops the list for stage victories in the Tour de France, with 34.

He also holds the record for most wins in the Giro d'Italia (five) and claimed the Vuelta a Espana in 1973.

 

BERNARD HINAULT (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1985)

'The Badger' finished either first or second in every Tour he completed, retiring at the age of 32 after coming in as runner-up in 1986.

We'll never know whether Hinault could have gone on to more Tour victories but Froome is currently the same age as the Frenchman was when he quit and shows no sign of slowing down.

Hinault's final Tour win came despite him having to race for a week with a broken nose.

 

MIGUEL INDURAIN (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)

Miguel Indurain was the dominant force in road cycling in the early 1990s, winning five Tours on the bounce from 1991 to 1995.

That makes him the only man to win five in a row - another milestone Froome will surely have in mind after racking up his third in succession.

During Indurain's time at the top the Spaniard won seven of eight Grand Tour entries, topping the general classification at the Giro d'Italia twice between his first and last Tour de France victories.