Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins has made cycling history as he became the first ever Briton to win the Tour de France as world champion Mark Cavendish sprinted to victory on the Champs-Élysées.
Wiggins, a lifelong British Cycling member, completed the ceremonial 120km 20th stage to the iconic Champs-Élysées, Paris, to confirm his place as one of Britain’s greatest cyclists with teammate Chris Froome making it a 1-2 on the podium for Great Britain in the 99th edition of the race.
Wiggins told ITV: "I don't know what to say really. I've had 24 hours for it to sort of soak in. Today we were just on a mission to finish the job off.
"This sort of thing happens to other people, you never imagine it happens to you. It's incredible."
Then on the podium he addressed the crowd, many British: "I just wanted to say thank you for all the support all the way around.It's been a magical couple of weeks for the team and for British cycling. Some dreams can come true, and now my old mother over there, her son's won the Tour de France."
Cavendish added: "It's incredible. It couldn't be more perfect. It couldn't be a better end to an amazing tour.
"I was going to go at 300 (metres to go) but we came around the last corner at such speed that I thought I'd just use my acceleration now and hopefully distance the other guys and hold on.
"It was a gamble, but it was one that paid off. I've had good form since the Giro d'Italia. Everything's on target since then, it still is. I'm looking forward to next Saturday now."
Wiggins has been in yellow for 13 days since stage 7 after taking the maillot jaune from prologue winner Fabian Cancellara. A dominant winning performance in the stage 9 individual time-trial, his first Tour stage win, from Arc-et-Senans to Besançon extended Wiggins’ lead before a determined effort in the mountains, marshaled by fellow Briton Froome saw the 32-year-old gain further ground on rivals Cadel Evans and Vincenzo Nibali.
Saturday’s penultimate stage 53.5km time-trial underlined Wiggins’ true supremacy in a performance that left the rest of the field in his wake - the three-time Olympic champion winning by a margin of one minute 16 seconds ahead of teammate Froome on the route from Bonneval to Chartres, confirming his merit as winner.
For Cavendish, the stage win was the Manx Missile’s fourth successive victory on the Champs-Élysées and means Great Britain riders have won seven stages at this year’s Tour.
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 3:08:07
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
4 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
5 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
6 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team
7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
8 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
10 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
Final general classification
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 87:34:42
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:03:21
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:06:19
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:10:15
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:11:04
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:15:43
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:15:51
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:16:31
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:16:38
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:17:17