TOUR DE FRANCE: Wiggins in a haze after extending lead over Evans
BRADLEY Wiggins heads into the Alps with a near two-minute advantage over defending champion Cadel Evans in the Tour de France.
Wiggins made the headlines 24 hours ago for his expletive-laden rant in a news conference but he created news for the right reasons with a powerful stage nine time trial win to extend the lead over his nearest rival to one minute and 53 seconds.
He also becomes the third British rider to claim a stage win on this year's race after Tean Sky colleagues Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome, who also finished second in the time trial to move third overall.
“I just go out there and concentrate myself and doing the ride," said Wiggins.
"It’s all still a bit of a haze. I’ve won the stage which is almost forgotten about as it was all about the GC and the battle with those guys.
“I’m just really pleased with the way I put the ride together and mentally the way I put the day together. The noise when I rolled off the ramp was incredible and not letting that phase me in terms of going off too hard. At the moment it’s just relief and I’m proud of myself for doing that.
“It’s fortunate we’ve got a rest day tomorrow so there’s a bit more time to let it sink in before we are back on the road in two days’ time.
“We’ll just continue what we’ve been doing since the start. Me and Chris have been riding shotgun for most of the stage. The intention of the start of the race was, as last year when I crashed out we didn’t have a back-up plan.
"We’ll just continue what we’re doing and keeping Chris there as long as possible. It’s just taking it one day at a time, seeing where we go from here.”
After Tuesday's rest day the going get tough - and vertical - with the mountain stages that will define Wiggins's bid to become the first-ever British winner of the race in just over two weeks time.
He knows Evans will hit back hard in the defence of his title and Team Sky chief Sean Yates claims they are ready for the challenge.
"Our goal is still to have the jersey in Paris," he said.
"That means not jeopardising Bradley’s GC position. We’re going to try and do that in the best way possible. There are still 11 stages to go and a lot of teams who haven’t won a stage. For sure they will be trying.
“Bradley and Froomey delivered what they promised and what they’ve been working towards all year.
"It was a top drawer performance. It’s never been done before in British cycling and you can’t get much bigger than that.
“It’s a repeat of what we’ve been doing all year. We started out taking it day by day, treating it just as we would any other race and it was a continuation of the same theme."
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