The Sports Matrix: Monday 23 July 2012


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The Independent Online

Wiggins crowned king of France as Cavendish cruises

Bradley Wiggins yesterday became the first British winner of the Tour de France after holding on to his yellow leader's jersey for a 13th day. The 32-year-old triple Olympic gold medallist finished in the chasing peloton in yesterday's final stage in Paris to take the Tour ahead of Team Sky colleague Chris Froome in second and Italian Vincenzo Nibali in third.

"It's been a magical couple of weeks for the team and for British cycling," Wiggins said. "It sounds clichéd and pathetic, but this is what I've hoped for for 20 years and I never dreamt it could become reality."

Wiggins' compatriot Mark Cavendish, pictured, won the stage, his fourth straight Champs-Elysées victory, to reaffirm his position as the Tour's greatest ever sprinter. His 23rd Tour victory was the seventh by a Brit in 2012. "I was already voted best sprinter of the tour by L'Equipe," he said. "But now I've won more stages than [André] Darrigade, on numbers at least, I can be secure of that award." MORE

Brailsford: Sky can be best team ever

Head coach Dave Brailsford says Team Sky's next challenge will be to become "the best cycling team the world's ever seen". "I feel driven to do that," he said. "The components of that are winning the best races out there, over a sustained period of time, and doing it clean." MORE

Alonso maintains form to extend lead

Fernando Alonso won his second race in three at Hockenheim to extend his lead at the top of the Formula One championship to 34 points. Lewis Hamilton, in his 100th GP, earned the ire of Sebastian Vettel for unlapping himself. "That was not nice of him," the German said. MORE

Amla's triple ton punishes England

England are staring at a heavy defeat on the final day of the first Test at The Oval after again being made to suffer by South Africa. Hashim Amla's 311 helped the tourists reach 637-2d in their first innings, before England were reduced to 102-4, still trailing by 150 runs. MORE

Els left to take the glory as Scott slips

A spectacular final-day collapse by leader Adam Scott at Royal Lytham allowed Ernie Els to capture the fourth major of his career yesterday. Australian Scott led by four shots with four holes remaining before buckling under the pressure as Els made up ground. MORE

Pursley highlights Sweetenham effect

The role played by Bill Sweetenham in the recent renaissance in British swimming has been highlighted by head coach Dennis Pursley. "I don't think the team would be where it is today if it had not been for Bill," he said of his predecessor. MORE

Hoy ready for 'massive honour'

Sir Chris Hoy has said it would be a great honour if he was to carry the British flag at Friday's opening ceremony. "If it did come my way then it would be a massive honour," the Scot said. The bearer will be named today after a voting process. MORE

Modric fined again as Spurs row grows

Tottenham Hotspur have fined Luka Modric for the second time in three days after the Croat refused to travel to the US for a pre-season tour. Modric, who is seeking a move to Real Madrid, was also punished on Friday for missing training. MORE

Great Heavens takes Irish Oaks

Victory in the Irish Oaks for Great Heavens continued a winning streak for trainer John Gosden and jockey William Buick, on his 24th birthday. "She showed a lot of class and courage," Gosden said. "I'd nearly given up hope at the two-furlong marker." MORE

Opinion: James Lawton

Bradley Wiggins has gained admittance to the strata which have one requirement – proof that you can inflict winning qualities to the point that you were capable of beat-ing any opposition. MORE