TOUR DE FRANCE: Wiggins hails victory as defining moment of his life
BRADLEY Wiggins will enjoy his ride to Paris on Sunday knowing his place in the pantheon of British sporting legends is forever secure.
HISTORIC: Bradley Wiggins will become the first-ever British winner of the Tour de France on Sunday
Wiggins has won numerous world titles, six Olympic medals, including three golds, but his victory in the Tour de France, he becomes the first British cyclist to win the race, moves him to another level.
As sporting achievements go it's up there with Sir Roger Bannister's four-minute mile, the 1966 England World Cup win or Andy Murray, should he ever manage to finally win Wimbledon.
Wiggins claimed his second stage win of the race with a victory in the 53.5km time trial between Bonneval to Chartres, finishing one minute and 16 seconds ahead of fellow Brit and Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, who is now all but guaranteed second in the race.
Considering a British cyclist has never made the podium in 99 years, finishing 1-2 in Paris makes the last three weeks all the more incredible and unbelievable.
Wiggins becomes the first rider to win two time trials in the race, excluding the prologue, since Sergei Gontchar six years ago while the last time the yellow jersey changed hands only once in the race, Fabian Cancellara had it after the prologue until stage seven, was in 1977.
He now takes a massive three minute advantage into the final stage, where Wiggins's Team Sky colleague Mark Cavendish is looking for a fourth consecutive Champs Elysees victory to conclude a historic 21 days for British cycling.
“I wouldn't say it was a lap of honour, because it hurt, but I just wanted to finish the job off in style. There was a lot of emotion in the last 10k. Everything was going through my mind," said Wiggins.
“All the years of getting to this point, my family, disappointments, crashing out the Tour last year, watching Cadel Evans in this very position a year ago in Grenoble. I always imagined what that would feel like and now I know.
“I was thinking about my wife and children, my grandfather, my nan, my mother. That was just spurring me on with every pedal stroke.
“It sounds cheesy but your whole life to get to this point – it’s a defining moment in your life. From the minute I got into cycling as a kid it’s all summed up for this.”
These are heady days as well for Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford, who from next week will take control of Team GB's Olympic cycle squad, from whom much is also expected and demanded.
But whatever happens at the Olympics, it will struggle to match the unprecedented significance of Wiggins's sporting achievement.
“It was an amazing result and it’s been an amazing Tour for us," said Brailsford.
"It don’t think it came as any surprise as long as the guys stayed on their bikes they were going to come first and second. It went to plan.
“Bradley's had an amazing race and what a way to demonstrate he is the best rider in the race by finishing with a time trial like that. I'm incredibly proud of both him and Chris as well as every single person in the team.
“It's never been done before by a British rider, or by a British team - it's a very special day.”
© Sportsbeat 2012