x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Wiggins becomes first Briton to win Tour de France

Team Sky chairman Robert Tansey said he hopes Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France triumph signifies the beginning of a period of British dominance.

Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, right, celebrates on the podium at the end of the 120km and last stage of the 2012 Tour de France after becoming the first Briton to win the famous race. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP
Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, right, celebrates on the podium at the end of the 120km and last stage of the 2012 Tour de France after becoming the first Briton to win the famous race. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP

Bradley Wiggins has become the first British Tour de France champion - and celebrated his success by leading Mark Cavendish to victory in Paris.

Wiggins completed his 13th day in the yellow jersey and the 99th Tour in first place, three minutes 21 seconds ahead of Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, who became the second Briton, after his teammate, on the podium in the history of the race.

Not content with his personal success, Wiggins played an integral role as world champion Cavendish won the 120-kilometre 20th stage from Rambouillet, sealing victory on the Champs-Elysees for a fourth consecutive year.

It was the seventh British stage success of the 2012 Tour, with Cavendish finishing with three wins, Wiggins with two, Froome with one and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) one.

All four Britons, together with Ian Stannard, are due to combine on Saturday in a bid to help Cavendish win Olympic gold in the 250km road race on the opening day of London 2012.

Cavendish has won on the French capital's most famous boulevard in each of the Tours he has completed - in 2009, 2010, 2011 and now in 2012.

The 27 year old from the Isle of Man, who also won stages two and 18, now has 23 Tour stage wins, moving above Lance Armstrong and Andre Darrigade into fourth place in the all-time list.

It was a remarkable effort for the Manxman, who spent much of the Tour in the service of Wiggins.

Wiggins repaid the favour, taking to the front with 1.1km remaining, with Edvald Boasson Hagen assuming the lead 600 metres out.

Cavendish came to the front in the rainbow jersey 400 metres from the line and powered to a supreme victory.

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) was second, with Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) third.

Team Sky chairman Robert Tansey said he hopes Wiggins' Tour de France triumph signifies the beginning of a period of British dominance.

Team Sky made their Tour de France debut in 2010 and Tansey believes their success - delivered ahead of schedule - will inspire Team GB at London 2012.

"We have a very strong set up and squad," Tansey said. "Our team loves riding for each other and they'll want to come back and do this again next year.

"We view this as the start rather than the end of something and the hunger is definitely there to repeat it.

"When we launched three years ago our ambition was to win the Tour de France with a British rider in five years.

"A lot of people were sceptical of that so to do it in three years is a tremendous achievement

"This is a great British story and less than a week away from the Olympics this will inevitably give the Team GB cycling squad a lift."

Tansey believes Wiggins' procession into the history books will prove to young British riders that anything is possible.

"What a guy Bradley is. I've seen him a few times over the last three weeks. He's been incredibly calm, relaxed and confident," he said.

"Hopefully he's inspired people up and down the country by showing that a lad from Kilburn can win the Tour de France.

"Twenty years ago when it was viewed as something only people from France, Italy or Spain can do.

"Now the aspiration is real for lots of other people and the hope is that this will encourage more people to take up cycling.

"He's got a great team around him and it's great to see the likes of Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome working with him."