Cycling: Wiggins lays down marker for Tour with brilliant time-trial
Bradley Wiggins' chances of becoming Britain's first ever Tour de France winner this summer, not to mention taking the Olympic time-trial title, looked stronger than ever yesterday as the Sky rider inflicted a stinging defeat on his rivals both for the Paris podium and the one in London 10 days later.
In a year when the Tour is supposedly going to be decided by a race against the clock, two images yesterday summed up Wiggins' superiority in a demanding 53km Critérium du Dauphiné stage. The first was Wiggins doggedly shadowing the 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans for the last 10km, despite having started two minutes after him.
Evans – on paper the rider most likely to stop Wiggins from winning the Tour – finally finished eighth, 1 min 43 sec down on the Briton. The Australian veteran will have been further disheartened to see Sky's dark horse Tour contender, Chris Froome, also ahead of him in the stage classification in sixth place.
Image No 2 that reflected Wiggins' strength on a wind-buffeted, blustery course, was the sight of Tony Martin, reigning World Time Trial champion and Wiggins' No 1 rival for London, ploughing along with his mouth wide open – clearly suffering merely to stay close. Martin finished 34 sec behind Wiggins but had the consolation of being the only rider to finish within a minute of him.
But Wiggins is – very wisely – refusing to predict runaway success yet.
"You can never rule out Cadel," he insisted. "He wasn't so strong in the Dauphiné and then he was really good at the Tour [last year]. A lot of the work is done now and I think the result reflects that today. It's a nice position to be in certainly, ahead of everyone going into the Tour."
Latest in Sport
Brendan Rodgers says Manchester City's slip is timely warning for Liverpool title hopes
30 players who could be set for a big-money transfer this summer
Manchester United transfer news: David Moyes watches Porto stars Eliaquim Mangala and Jackson Martinez as recruitment drive steps up a gear
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 match report: Gareth Bale scores wonder goal to claim Copa del Rey for Real
Luis Suarez: Could Liverpool cash in on their star striker if they won the Premier League this season?
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...