Sports‎ > ‎

Wiggins the first Briton to win Tour de France

posted 22 Jul 2012, 08:56 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 22 Jul 2012, 08:56 ]

Bradley Wiggins is the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

VERVIERS, BELGIUM (JUNE 29, 2012) (REUTERS) - For Bradley Wiggins, winning the Tour de France is more the result of a three-year process than the end of a three-week race.

That epiphany hit Wiggins in 2009, when he finished an unexpected fourth overall and realized he could be riding laps around the Champs-Elysees with the yellow jersey on his shoulders.

A time trial specialist, Wiggins lost just under 10 kilos to become a decent climber.

This new approach helped him to cope with the pressure of becoming the first Briton to win the world's most famous cycle race.

Before Wiggins, the only other Briton who had come close to a podium finish in Paris was Robert Millar who finished fourth in 1984.

This year, everything fell right for Wiggins with a route tailor-made for 'rouleurs' - the all-round cyclists who make ideal domestiques - and no clear favourites with the abscence of Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck and 2011 winner Cadel Evans not at his best.

Spaniard Contador was banned for failing a dope test during the 2010 race and last year's runner-up, Luxembourg's Schleck pulled out with a broken bone in his pelvis after a terrible season where his only consolation was to be declared winner of the 2010 Tour following Contador's disqualification.

Meanwhile, Wiggins had the best possible preparation, coming into the Tour having become the first man in history to win the Paris-Nice, Criterium du Dauphine and Tour of Romandie stage races.

The Team Sky rider was also surrounded by an awe-inspiring squad, including second-placed Chris Froome, with only two riders picked by team principal Dave Brailsford to support sprinter Mark Cavendish, whose main goal this year is the London Olympics.

Wiggins already has six Olympic track medals, including two individual and one team pursuit golds in 2004-2008.

He decided to skip the track at the Olympics to focus on the Tour. But he still aims to try his luck in the road time trial in London and, with Froome, is also part of the road race team looking to carry favourite Cavendish to gold.