Tour de France: Can Wiggins take it to the next stage?

Bradley Wiggins has proved he has solid Tour de France form, with three major stage-race wins this season at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné, writes Alasdair Fotheringham. So what are his next 10 steps to Tour glory, Britain's first-ever podium finish – and perhaps the yellow jersey?

Stay near the front

Wiggins admitted that drifting out of the front places during the Tour's fraught first week of crashes and bunch sprints was his biggest mistake last year. He was well to the rear when he came down and broke his collarbone.

Limit losses

The Planche des Belles Filles is the steepest single-summit finish and it comes early this year, on stage seven. Rearing up like a side of a house for 5.9km, this kind of finale, with sudden uphill accelerations where positioning is crucial, is one of Wiggins's weakest suits. It's one of arch-rival Cadel Evans's strongest.

The knock-out blow?

As a time trial specialist, Wiggins's first big chance to inflict damage is at stage nine's Besançon/Arc-et-Senans time trial. If he performs like his idol Miguel Indurain in Luxembourg's 1992 time trial, it could be where Wiggins takes an impregnable advantage.

Recover well

It has been proven that the Tour is won and lost off the bike, and the riders' recovery starts the moment they finish. Sky have taken this to a new level with special mattresses and mood music and lighting for the team bus.

Beware of ambushes

Two thirds of the way through stage 10's trek through the Jura mountain range is the 17.4km Col du Grand Colombier, a climb that has never been tackled in the Tour before. It's a chance for the mountain specialists to ambush all-rounders such as Wiggins.

Make the running

The biggest Alpine stage of the Tour culminates with an 18.5km ascent to La Toussuire ski station. Wiggins knows this climb well, it's where he defended his lead in the Critérium du Dauphiné in 2011 – his first major stage-race victory.

Mind the gap

Cadel Evans has already managed to drop Wiggins on a Tour-like descent this year, off Joux Plane in the Critérium. The champion will test the Briton's technical ability on one or two plummeting drops in the Alps and Pyrenees.

Jokers in the pack

In recent years every Grand Tour has seen outsiders make a serious challenge – Ryder Hesjedal and Thomas de Gendt in the 2012 Tour of Italy (first and third), Chris Froome in the 2011 Tour of Spain (second) and Thomas Voeckler in the 2011 Tour de France (fourth).

Team Sky on a high

There is strength in depth with climbers such as Froome, Richie Porte and Kanstantsin Siutsou as Wiggins's key wingmen for the mountains, not to mention all-rounder Edvald Boasson Hagen. World champion Mark Cavendish merely adds to a top-class mix.

Crunch Time: Stage 19

The Bonneval–Chartres 53km time trial is the final overall challenge, and for Wiggins the most important. If he's behind the mountain riders he can expect to regain two or three minutes and snatch yellow, just as Cadel Evans did last year against Andy Schleck.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
British musician Mark Ronson arrives for the UK premiere of the film 'Mortdecai'
music
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us