Wiggins wraps up his maiden Tour

Sat, Jul 21, 2012, 01:00

Cycling:Bradley Wiggins is set to become the first British winner of the Tour de France after an imperious victory in the stage 19 time-trial to Chartres. The 32-year-old is poised to ride tomorrow’s 120-kilometre 20th stage from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysees in Paris knowing he will return home victorious.

Wiggins, a three-time Olympic champion, began the 53.5km time-trial from Bonneval to Chartres with an advantage of two minutes five seconds over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome and enhanced his hold on the maillot jaune with a scintillating display against the clock to take a 3mins 21secs lead into tomorrow’s final day.

The official confirmation will come tomorrow, but Wiggins‘ emotional celebrations today — both when crossing the line and then when on the podium — underlined that the hard work is already done. With team-mate Froome second, it has been a triumphant tour for Team Sky, with principal Dave Brailsford vindicated for backing Wiggins as his lead rider, despite some saying Froome should be allowed to challenge for the yellow jersey.

“It was amazing and it‘s been an amazing tour,” Brailsford said. “It‘s not been a surprise. Let‘s take nothing away from Bradley. He‘s had an amazing tour and what better way to demonstrate that he‘s the best in the race?

“As we know, we are lucky to have Chris and Bradley in the same team. But this was a tour that suited Bradley, he‘s climbing well and his time trials are off the scale. That shows why we stuck with Bradley. It‘s a lot easier to manage two good riders than two bad ones.”

Brailsford, who also doubles up as British Cycling‘s performance director, would now like to build a Team Sky dynasty. “We‘d like to build on this. It‘s not a one off,” he added. “We will take time to reflect, but we‘re building a team for the future and we want to keep coming back to do it again.”

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