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ANNECY-SEMNOZ, France -- Chris Froome retained his big race lead Saturday to ensure that he will become Britains second successive Tour de France champion after Bradley Wiggins. Only an accident or other freak mishap on Sundays largely ceremonial final ride to Paris could stop Froome from winning the 100th Tour. Froome finished third in a dramatic Stage 20 to the ski station of Annecy-Semnoz in the Alps that decided the other podium placings. Nairo Quintana from Colombia won the stage and moved up to second overall. Joaquim Rodriguez from Spain rode in 17 seconds behind Quintana. He moved up to third overall. Froomes lead is more than five minutes over both those two. Alberto Contador, who had been second at the start of the day, struggled on the final climb and dropped off the podium. The 125-kilometre trek was the last of four successive stages in the Alps and the final significant obstacle Froome needed to overcome before Sundays usually relaxed ride to the finish on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. That 133-kilometre jaunt starts in Versailles. Froomes dominance at this Tour was such that this victory could very well be the first of several. At 28, he is entering peak years for a bike racer. He proved at this Tour that he excels both in climbs and time trials -- skills essential for those who want to win cyclings premier race. He also handled with poise and aplomb questions about doping in cycling and suspicions about the strength of his own performances. He insisted that he raced clean. Froome first took the race lead and the yellow jersey that goes with it on Stage 8, when he won the climb to the Ax-3 Domaines ski station in the Pyrenees. On Sundays Stage 21, he will wear the yellow jersey for the 13th straight day. Froome told French television that when he passed the sign showing 2 kilometres to go on Saturdays final climb, "for the first time I realized that it was almost won." "It was hard today," he said. "Rodriguez and Quintana raced very strongly." Sunday "will be a day for sprinters on the Champs-Elysees. For us, it is done." Saturdays stage did a big loop south of Annecy, through the mountains of Savoie between the lakes of Annecy and Bourget. This is cheese-making country, with lush Alpine pastures and dense, naturally cool forests. Quintanas win also secured him the spotted jersey awarded to riders who pick up the most points on mountain climbs. He also retained the white jersey as the Tours best young rider. He wiped away tears in his news conference as stage winner. "I couldnt ask for more," he said. "I got nearly everything. It was fabulous." "Its a very special day in Colombia. A big party and the whole of Colombia is celebrating." Unlike on Friday, when storms drenched the pack, the sun shone and the skies were blue on Sataurday. When a motorbike-borne television camera focused on Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde, he motioned that riding in such conditions was hot, tiring work. The ride took the racers up six climbs. The last two of those were particularly tough. The last steep climb to Annecy-Semnoz, past ski lifts and ski slopes, was rated HC or "Hors Categorie", meaning its considered too hard to classify. It was the last really tough climb of this Tour. The riders have just two small humps to climb on their leisurely Sunday ride from the Versailles Palace to the Champs-Elysees cobbles, where sprinters including Mark Cavendish will battle for the stage win. Uniquely for the 100th Tour, Stage 21 will set off in the late afternoon, so the race finishes more or less as the sun is setting behind the Arc de Triomphe. For a chunk of Saturday, the race was led by its oldest rider, Jens Voigt. The 41-year-old German was part of a group of 10 riders that broke away fromn the pack early in the stage. "Since Im almost sure that this was my last Tour, I wanted to say a proper goodbye," said Voigt. "I gave eveything," he said. "Im happy and now it is over for me." He was caught in the battle on the final climb. Quintana, Froome and Rodriguez rode off, leaving Contador to labour behind. The winner of 2007 and 09 who was stripped of his 2010 victory and banned for a failed doping test ran out of legs. Contador placed 7th in the stage, coming in more than 2 minutes behind Quintana. That dropped him to 4th overall, more than seven minutes back from Froome. Canadas Ryder Hesjedal is 69th overall after finishing the stage in 85th. David Veilleux of Cap-Rouge, Que., is 122nd overall while Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., is last at 170th. 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"It is still taking a little time to sink in what Ive achieved this week as was the case when I won the FedEx Cup but then it just kept getting better and better as the days went on and I am sure this will be the same," he said. Vince Carter is no longer the NBAs highest flyer, though hes certainly not ready to be grounded.Once one of basketballs most ferocious dunkers who put opponents on posters long before there were internet Vines, he can no longer rely just on his athleticism. Nearing 40 years old, the guy who famously put his arm through the rim while winning a dunk contest now often plays below it.Like everyone who wants to keep playing toward middle age, its about the mind now as much as the legs.Thats how I was able to stay around this long, is just, I learned the game, Carter said. Not being able to play. Everybody can play basketball, but learning the ins and outs of the game is what has kept me around.Same with Manu Ginobili in San Antonio, Jason Terry in Milwaukee, Paul Pierce in Los Angeles and Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, who follow Carter as the oldest players in the NBA this season.Basketball is a game a lot of people dont understand, Terry said. When you are not as athletically gifted, you still have your brain. I learned from none other than Jason Kidd.Terry plays for Kidd now, but they were teammates in Dallas when the Mavericks won the 2011 NBA title. Kidd by then was well past his dynamic days as a nightly triple-double threat, a guy who burst into the league with everything but a reliable jumper and left it at 40 ranked third in career 3-pointers.As I got older, the speed limit started coming into effect. Instead of going 55, I could only go 45, Kidd said. But, you know, when things started to go a little bit slower, you got to see things a lot better. For me, things were a lot clearer. As you get older, thats the best time to get better at the game. You can always learn, you can always do something different. For me it was shooting the ball. If I wanted to play for a while I needed to make an outside shot.Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant made similar transitions, outworking and outsmarting opponents when they could no longer just outplay them. Now Carter, who will turn 40 on Jan. 26 and ranks in the top 25 in career points and games played, does the same in Memphis -- where he surpassed Jordan this season as the oldest player to score 20 points off the bench.Like Jordan, he played at North Carolina for the mastermind, Dean Smith, as Carter called him, where even as a teenager he was being prepared for how he would need to play 20 years later.So he taught us how to learn the game, how to take your abilities and dominate to the best of your ability, Carter said. And with that being said, as Ive gotten older, just the little things that we tend to not want to do as a young guy stuck with me, as far as just the little thiings that we say a lot of guys make mistakes on.ddddddddddddCarter acknowledges tiring of the endless play the right way mantra preached at Chapel Hill, but now he lives it. He cant just jump over players like he did to Frederic Weis in the 2000 Olympics , though he quickly earned the trust of first-time coach David Fizdale, who had Carter on the floor defending 21-year-old Andrew Wiggins to spark the Grizzlies comeback victory over Minnesota in their season opener.Again, Ive said this before, I dont put limitations on anyone because of age, whether its youth or because theyre one of the elder statesman, Fizdale said. Vince Carter, hes a veteran, hes a professional, he stays in shape. I always remind people he was the best athlete in the NBA, so his falloff athletically isnt the same as an average athletes falloff.Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said the key for players who are effective into their mid-to-late 30s is their work ethic, and he marvels at what the 38-year-old Nowitzki puts himself through to keep playing on legs that support his 7-foot frame, particularly in this season when hes battled an injured Achilles tendon.Medical enhancements have helped, with teams providing such improvements for their players that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes young players entering the league now should be able to play into their 40s if they have the talent.When I first got to the NBA, taking care of your health meant not eating Twinkies before a game, Cuban said. Guys would smoke cigarettes, theyd drink, there would be beer -- people sometimes would have a beer at halftime. There literally were bars in locker rooms. Things have changed.The things that we let players do 15 years ago that created inflammation and created orthopedic issues in their bodies, we know not to do as much anymore.Carter has prolonged his career by becoming a reserve for the last five seasons, and by resisting the urge to create the spectacular highlights that made him the leading vote-getter to the All-Star Game four times. The Grizzlies say hes questionable to play Wednesday in Toronto, his first NBA home, after hurting his hip Monday.He still gets the internet buzzing -- and occasionally surprises himself -- with some vintage Vinsanity, but mostly skips the unnecessary risks to preserve his body to get through the long NBA season.And how many more after this?I dont know yet, he said. Im still flying. Its not time yet.---AP freelance writers Joe DiGiovanni and Andrew Gruman in Milwaukee contributed to this report. 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