Cycling: Wiggins grabs the lead in Dauphine


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The Independent Online

Bradley Wiggins gave his strongest sign to date that he is on track for the Tour de France when he captured the lead in the Criterium du Dauphine Libéré stage race thanks to an outstanding time-trial ride.

Wiggins finished just 11 seconds off the pace from German specialist Tony Martin on a technical, rain-soaked course in Grenoble – identical to the route due to be used in the Tour de France time trial next month.

Triple Olympic gold medallist Wiggins now has a comfortable 1min 11sec overall lead on former World Champion Cadel Evans, perhaps not enough to give the Londoner outright victory in the three hard days in the mountains but sufficient to make it a real possibility.

Equally importantly, given the Dauphine's traditional role as a form guide for the Tour de France, Wiggins will have received a much-needed boost of confidence in the run-up to next month. Initially so annoyed he did not take the stage win he hammered his handlebars in frustration as he crossed the line, Wiggins said "That was just the adrenalin, it was a good time trial, and I had good feelings throughout."