x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Wiggins gets emotional after perfect script

Leader signs off with a bang by winning time trial ahead of today’s ceremonial final stage.

Bradley Wiggins will become the first Briton to win the Tour de France race today.
Bradley Wiggins will become the first Briton to win the Tour de France race today.

CHARTRES, France// Bradley Wiggins virtually secured his maiden Tour de France victory after winning the penultimate stage yesterday.

"I wanted to go out and finish with a bang," said Wiggins, who clocked a winning time of 64mins 13secs for the 53.5km time-trial course. "You couldn't write a better script really."

Wiggins, who took nearly two minutes from defending champion Cadel Evans when he won the Stage 9 time-trial, went into the 53.5km race against the clock with a 2min 05secs lead over Sky teammate Chris Froome.

And after a smooth, controlled ride over a course lined with hundreds of British flags emblazoned with good luck messages, the 32-year-old Englishman increased his advantage on the Kenyan-born Briton.

Froome, who finished second on the first time trial 35secs behind Wiggins, this time finished second at 1min 16secs back.

It means Wiggins will go into today's final stage to Paris - which usually does not host a battle for the yellow jersey - with an overall lead of 3mins 21secs on Froome, who has over a three-minute lead on third-placed Vincenzo Nibali.

Barring something remarkable, the Londoner will become Britain's first yellow jersey champion.

"I don't know what to say. Only one more day to go, and I've won the yellow jersey," said Wiggins.

"I've a lot of emotions and a lot of relief it's finished. It's a dream come true, but I've been working to win this for the past five years. The job is done, almost."

Sky team manager Dave Brailsford said: "We made it our objective to win this race within five years with a clean, British rider, and that's what we've done. It might be a surprise to everyone else, but it's not a surprise to us."

Nibali of Liquigas capped a solid performance to cement his third place overall. After finishing 16th, he now sits 6mins 19secs behind Wiggins and is certain to finish third in Paris as Jurgen Van den Broeck of Belgium dropped to more than 10 minutes in fourth.

Defending champion Cadel Evans, meanwhile, had another day to forget. He started the day in sixth place overall at nearly 10 minutes behind Wiggins and finished 52nd to drop one place to seventh overall nearly 16 minutes down.

Having been upstaged by teammate Tejay van Garderen in the mountains, Evans suffered the humiliation of being overtaken by "TVG" on the stage despite starting three minutes earlier.

Van Garderen is set to finish fifth overall and has virtually secured the white jersey for the race's best-placed rider aged under 25 and under.

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