Tour de France title all but clinched
CHARTRES, France – For Bradley Wiggins, the champagne on the Champs-Elysees is about to flow.
He all but locked up the Tour de France title with a tour-de-force performance to win the final time trial – putting him on the cusp of becoming the first Briton to win cyclings showpiece race.
Wiggins blew away the field in Saturdays race against the clock in Stage 19, his second Tour victory this year in a time trial.
I really wanted to go out there and finish with a bang, and fortunately I was able to do that, Wiggins said.
Even before the Tour started, Wiggins was the favorite. The 32-year-old rider took the yellow jersey in Stage 7. Then came questions about the unity of his Sky Team, pre-race preparations and his ability to get up mountains – all of which he put to rest.
There was also the absence of two-time Tour champion and cycling superstar Alberto Contador, who is serving a doping ban. That led many to wonder whether Wiggins was really the sports best.
Wiggins has been vocal in his criticism of doping in cycling and said the sport may be changing after the sports governing body put tough controls in place.
I think the Tour is a lot more human now with everything the UCI is doing, he said.
The Team Sky leader obliterated the pack in the 33-mile ride from Bonneval to Chartres and punched the air and shouted as he crossed the finish line.
Todays ride to the finish on Paris Champs-Elysees will be largely ceremonial – Wiggins is too far ahead for any competitor to erase his lead over the 75-mile ride from Rambouillet.
Wiggins was timed in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 13 seconds. Countryman and teammate Christopher Froome was second, 1:16 behind.