Wiggins crushes opposition in final TT to seal first British Tour de France victory
Event: Tour de France – Stage 19
When: 21 July 2012
Where: Chartres, France
How it unfolded
It is difficult to single out one particular stage from Bradley Wiggins’ historic 2012 Tour de France win, such was the Briton’s incredible show of consistency throughout an incredible three weeks in July. However, the manner in which Wiggins underlined his claim to Britain’s maiden Tour title, during the 53.5km time trial from Bonneval to Chartres, will live long in the memory of British cycling fans; a dominant and emphatic demonstration of Bradley’s winning gift – his extraordinary ability against the clock.
Wiggins took the yellow jersey on stage seven, the 199 kilometre mountain stage from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles, culminating in a thrilling mountain-top finish, which saw Wiggins’ Team Sky lieutenant Chris Froome grab stage victory and Wiggins take third.
From this point on, Wiggins’ hold on the maillot jaune was never relinquished. Two days later, the Briton increased his lead in the first individual time trial; going on to retain an iron grip on the GC lead in a gruelling trek through the Alps and Pyrenees.
Come the final time trial and Wiggins arrived at the start line in incredible form, having weathered the mountains and outrageous fortune better than any of his key rivals. From the first time-check, Wiggins was up, the nearest rival his own teammate Chris Froome. At the second check, Wiggins was over a minute ahead, clearly intent on demonstrating his authority. The Team Sky rider eventually stopped the clock 1:16 ahead of the field – victory was assured and the rest, as they say, is history.
What they said
"The last 10 or 15 kilometres, I was thinking of everything really: from my childhood to this point, the days I got into cycling as a kid: my family – my mother, my wife and children, my grandfather who died two years ago... and it was all for them really. It was an incredible feeling and it was spurring me on to go harder and harder and harder.
"Some people in sport say, ‘You're in the zone.' But I was in it today in a way that I've never been before.”
Why should this be the British Cycling's Ride of the Year 2012?
Taken in isolation, Wiggins’ final stage win was one of the finest demonstrations of time trial dominance in the Tour de France, evoking memories of Miguel Indurain and Jacques Anquetil. However, when Wiggins took to the start ramp in Bonneval, he was just 53.5km away from making history; becoming the first ever British Tour de France victor, about to set his seal an extraordinary individual and team performance.