(AP) – Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France by protecting the yellow jersey during Sunday’s final processional ride into Paris. He also helped Sky teammate Mark Cavendish earn his fourth straight sprint victory on the Champs-Elysees.
Wiggins secured his win with a dominating performance in Saturday’s final time trial to extend his already commanding lead. Fellow Briton and Sky teammate Christopher Froome finished second, 3 minutes, 21 seconds behind overall. Vincenzo Nibali of Italy finished third, 6:19 off the pace.
“It’s been a magical couple of weeks for the team and for British cycling,” Wiggins said. “Some dreams come true. My mother over there, she’s now — her son has won the Tour de France.”
The last time two riders from the same nation finished first and second in the Tour was in 1984, when Frenchman Laurent Fignon defeated Bernard Hinault.
Wiggins congratulated his teammates after crossing the line, gave a big hug to his wife and clutched the hands of their children.
The 32-year-old lanky Londoner blew kisses and bowed to a sea of union jacks.
After a soprano sang “God Save The Queen”, Wiggins thanked the crowd with a touch of British humor.
“Cheers, have a safe journey home, don’t get too drunk,” said Wiggins, who wrote in his autobiography about overcoming drinking problems after his early successes in the Velodrome.
Cavendish claimed his 23rd Tour stage win and third this year. He also became the first reigning world champion to win on the Champs-Elysees.
As expected, Wiggins repaid Cavendish for his efforts earlier in the race and led the Sky train in the final mile of the 74-mile stage before leaving his place to Edvald Boasson Hagen, who delivered a perfect lead-out for Cavendish.
Cavendish accelerated coming out of the final corner, never looked back and raised four fingers as he crossed the line.
The seven stage wins was a record haul for British riders in the Tour, beating the previous record of six stage wins in 2009 — when all were won by Cavendish.
This time the victories were divided up between Cavendish (3), Wiggins (2), David Millar (1) and Froome (1).
Wiggins and his teammates were at the font of the pack as it arrived on the streets of Paris for eight laps of a 4-mile circuit on the Champs-Elysees.
Veteran rider George Hincapie, competing in his 17th consecutive and final Tour, led the peloton onto the prestigious avenue alongside fellow American Chris Horner.
With Sky determined to help Cavendish secure a fourth consecutive win in Paris, Horner and Hincapie were immediately reined in. Several other riders tried to break away but the peloton was not ready to give them any slack as the race passed some of the capital’s most iconic monuments such as the Louvre museum, the Eiffel tower and the Place de la Concorde.
Six riders including Jens Voigt of Germany finally escaped from the back with 18 miles to go. They had a maximum lead of 30 seconds but were progressively reeled in as Liquigas and Sky organized the chase.
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Stage 20 Results
1. Mark Cavendish – Sky Procycling – 3:08:07
2. Peter Sagan – Liquigas-Cannondale
3. Matthew Harley Goss – Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
4. Juan José Haedo – Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
5. Kris Boeckmans – Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
6. Greg Henderson – Lotto Belisol Team
7. Borut Bozic – Astana Pro Team
8. André Greipel – Lotto Belisol Team
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen – Sky Procycling
10. Jimmy Engoulvent – Saur – Sojasun
Final General classification
1. Bradley Wiggins – Sky Procycling – 87:34:47
2. Christopher Froome – Sky Procycling – 0:03:21
3. Vincenzo Nibali – Liquigas-Cannondale – 0:06:19
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck – Lotto Belisol Team – 0:10:15
5. Tejay van Garderen – BMC Racing Team – 0:11:04
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre – RadioShack-Nissan – 0:15:41
7. Cadel Evans – BMC Racing Team – 0:15:49
8. Pierre Rolland – Team Europcar – 0:16:26
9. Janez Brajkovic – Astana Pro Team – 0:16:33
10. Thibaut Pinot – FDJ-Big Mat – 0:17:17
Tejay van Garderen
Links to news sites…
“History-maker Wiggins wins Tour de France
By Justin Davis (AFP)
PARIS — Bradley Wiggins has been crowned Britain’s first Tour de France champion, becoming an instant sporting hero at home just ahead of the London Olympics — in which he hopes to star again.
Wiggins, who had virtually sealed victory the previous day, finished the three-week, 3,479km epic with a 3min 21sec lead over British team-mate Chris Froome after Sunday’s 20th and last stage to Paris.
He also helped Sky team-mate Mark Cavendish to secure an unprecedented fourth consecutive stage win on the Champs-Elysees.
“It’s been a magical couple of weeks for the team and for British cycling,” Wiggins told the massed throngs who had besieged France’s famous thoroughfare, many waving British flags.
“Some dreams come true,” he added, after securing the famous yellow jersey in the largely ceremonial final leg.
Wiggins, who received huge support from his Sky team-mates during the gruelling rides through the Alps and the Pyrenees, promised to return the favour and help Cavendish secure Olympic gold in London.
“I’m more than happy,” said world champion Cavendish as he held his newborn baby at the finish line. “The Champs Elysees is the most beautiful avenue in the world, and I’ve won here again.”
Three years after Wiggins equalled Robert Millar’s 1984 best British finish of fourth overall, the Belgian-born Londoner finally achieved his childhood dream of winning the world’s most prestigious bike race.” Read more from AFP…
“Wiggins makes history with first Tour de France victory for British cyclist
(CNN) — Bradley Wiggins made history on the Champs Elysees Sunday as he became the first British rider to win cycling’s Tour de France.
And in a double triumph for Britain, his Team Sky teammate Mark Cavendish claimed the 20th and final stage in Paris for the fourth successive year.
Proudly wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey, Wiggins finished safely in the bunch, pumping the air in triumph as he crossed the line after three weeks and 3,497km of racing.
The 32-year-old Londoner finished three minutes 21 seconds clear of Chris Froome to complete a one-two for Britain and Team Sky.
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) claimed the final podium position.
Wiggins was assured of overall victory after his brilliant victory in the individual time trial Saturday, his second on this year’s race.
“It’s very surreal at the moment. This sort of thing happens to other people, you never imagine it happens to you,” he told ITV Sport after his triumph.
“It’s incredible. I bet I’ll look back in years to come and think ‘God, that was special’.” Read more from CNN International…
Photos by CorVos