Londoner conquers Paris – Wiggo celebrates Tour win as Cav grabs final stage victory
Photo: Courtesy francetvsport
Sporting his trademark sideburns and holding aloft the Tour’s stuffed lion London-bred Bradley Wiggins celebrated a remarkable victory in the most gruelling race in the world: “It's very surreal at the moment. This sort of thing happens to other people, you never imagine it happens to you,” he said.
Next to the first Briton to win the Tour him stood another Brit: Chris Froome, whose mountain climbing skills helped Wiggo to victory as well as winning himself second place.
In an extraordinary triple triumph for Britain, Mark Cavendish, the Manx missile, left the opposition in his wake as he sprinted to win the final Tour stage on the Champs d’Elysee.
The victory made it an outstanding seven stage wins for Britain in this year’s Tour and puts the Manxman close to the top of the all-time list for individual stage wins.
The impact of Wiggins and British riders on the Tour was felt throughout France. During the final time-trial, empathically won by Wiggins, the main French TV sports presenter sported sideburns to match Wiggo’s mod-inspired fashion.
He, along with many others in France, was won over by Wiggins’ charm (he did daily interviews in fluent colloquial French) and his sense of fair play “Il est le gentleman Wiggins” was the TV comment after he slowed down the peleton to let Cadel Evans, last year’s winner, and others catch up after a series of punctures on a key stage.
The Sky team was cheered on by thousands of British holiday makers and residents in France who joined locals at the roadside.
Even in the depths of the French countryside you found Union Jacks, not to mention Welsh dragons. “We’re not cycling fans but we heard the Tour was coming and we had to be here.”
The director of Sky’s team David Brailsford said the success was the outcome of a ten year programme - he told French viewers that Sky’s game plan was to take advantage of Wiggins’ speed in the time-trials and support him strongly in the mountains.
While paying tribute to the single-minded determination and professionalism of the Sky team, which accounted for six of Britain’s stage wins (the other one was a victory for David Millar) the French had their own reason to celebrate with the popular Tomas Vockler winning the polka-dot best mountain climber’s jersey.
Labelled ‘the Cannibal’, Peter Sagan of Slovakia took the green points jersey (last worn by Mark Cavendish) with the new US prodigy TeeJay Vangarderen won the young rider’s white jersey.