Wiggins books his place in history of Tour de France
Yellow jersey winner Bradley Wiggins of Britain (C) cycles with teammates during the final 20th stage of the 99th Tour de France.AFP photo
Bradley Wiggins was crowned the first ever British winner of the Tour de France, as riders in the cycling world’s most famous race arrived in Paris on the final stage yesterday.
The 32-year-old triple Olympic champion finished yesterday’s final stage to Paris with a leading in front of fellow Briton and Sky teammate Chris Froome, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas third overall.
“It’s a dream come true, but I’ve been working to win this for the past five years. The job is done, almost,” said Wiggins.
In a campaign that was reminiscent of his childhood hero, Spanish legend Miguel Indurain, Wiggins sealed final victory thanks in large part to two time trial wins, with Team Sky providing crucial support in the mountain stages in between.
“It’s what I’ve been aspiring to do for the past few years, and even since I was a child, when I was 12 years old I said I wanted to win the Tour de France,” said Wiggins. “No one really imagines, at that age, that it’s possible. Here I am 20 odd years on and it’s a reality now.”
Comeback from injury
A year after crashing out of the race with a broken collarbone and three years after underlining his yellow jersey credentials with a fourth place finish, Wiggins was finding it hard to come to terms with his achievement.
Going into the final 53.5 km race against the clock between Bonneval and Chartres on Saturday, Wiggins held a lead of 2:05 on Froome, the man who helped pace him up the latter stages of the race’s climbs.
Froome, who finished second on the first time trial at 35secs behind Wiggins, this time finished second at 1min 16sec.
“I’m very happy. Our objective was to come here and win the Tour with Bradley, and that’s what we have done,” said Froome, who outshone Wiggins on several of the race’s tough climbs.
“For me to come second is a big bonus.”