London 2012: Bradley Wiggins becomes first British rider to win Tour de France in 109 years
Londoner Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky created history by becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France in it’s 109-year history.
The 32-year old cyclist and three-time Olympic track champion raised his arms while crossing the finish line in front of thousands of British fans on the Champs Elysees with a winning margin of three minutes and 21 seconds. Team Sky team-mate and fellow Brit Chris Froome enjoyed a second place and Italian Vincenzo Nibali settled for a third place.
An excited Wiggins said, “I don’t know what to say, I’ve had 24 hours for it to soak in. I’m still buzzing from the Champs Elysees, the laps go so quick. We had a mission with Cav and we did it. What a way to finish it off.”
Referring to compatriot Mark Cavendish, who claimed a fourth consecutive final-stage victory including the traditional sprint down at the Champs Elysees, Wiggins and Team Sky ensured Cav remained unbeaten in Paris. The 27-year old Isle of Man has won three previous Tour finishes in 2009, 2010 and 2011. It was a win-win situation for Team Sky while restoring faith in team principal Dave Brailsford’s decision of choosing Wiggins as the Tour leader.
Cavendish also surpassed seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong’s tally by taking his Tour de France stage wins to 23, 11 short of Belgian Eddy Merckx’s record of 34. Team Sky also had more reasons to celebrate – they achieved the rare feat of a 1-2 podium finish since 1996. Also, the win marked the first time compatriots finishing 1-2 since 1984.
Wiggins concluded, “I’ve got to get used to that, it’s going to take a while. You never imagine it will happen to you but it’s amazing.”