Tour de France: Race leader Bradley Wiggins in a rage over dope slurs

Sky man stays in yellow after Froome helps him track late move by Evans

With the Tour de France

The Tour de France leader, Bradley Wiggins, stormed out of a press conference in a fury yesterday after being asked what his reaction was to anonymous members of the Twittersphere who claimed it was impossible to win the race without being doped.

"I'd say they are just f***ing w***ers," was Wiggins' impassioned response. "I can't be dealing with people like that, it justifies their own bone idleness. Rather than getting off their a***s and doing something with their lives it's easier for them to sit underneath a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of s**t..." Wiggins then got up and walked out, bringing an abrupt end to proceedings.

A committed anti-doper, Wiggins has faced such suspicions before, and then as now he has met them head on. In 2009, when asked what some would think of his outstanding – but unexpected – fourth place overall, his response was that he knew there would be whispers and unfounded claims that he was taking drugs, but that he was racing clean.

"I came from nowhere on the Tour and everybody knows where it [the Tour] has been with blood doping," Wiggins said in 2009. "I don't want there to be any suspicion or doubt that what I did was natural. I have nothing to hide and I want this transparency." He then put his blood values from the UCI's biological passport programme – the most sophisticated anti-doping system out there – online to prove his point.

If Wiggins' anger at such comments by faceless critics still persists, his rather more visible rivals on the bike also made it clear that they have no intention of letting the Briton have it easy en route to Paris as the Tour leader was forced to close down a dangerous late move by his arch-rival Cadel Evans.

While the host nation was still celebrating its first stage win of the 2012 Tour – albeit on foreign terrain, in the Swiss frontier town of Porrentruy – thanks to a solo attack by Thibaut Pinot, the youngest rider in the race, less than 30 seconds behind him Evans opened up the throttle alongside the ever-active Belgian overall contender Jurgen Van Den Broeck.

Wiggins and the one Sky rider remaining with him, all-rounder Chris Froome, managed to close the gap with some assistance from the RadioShack squad – but Evans' move was a timely reminder, after all the euphoria of Wiggins taking the lead on Saturday, that the race is far from over.

For most of the short, punchy stage over no fewer than seven middle-sized climbs in the Jura region, Wiggins and the Sky team had kept a solid grip on the race. Breakaway riders such as Thibaut, part of a group of 15 who sheered off the front mid-stage, represented no major threat, and the Briton looked at ease behind a line of three or four blue-clad colleagues.

But a major acceleration by Belgium's Van Den Broeck close to the summit shredded the field, and although Sky's presence in the lead group was reduced to just himself and Froome, Wiggins responded well.

"It was a tough day out there but it was good, a bit like being in a junior race," Wiggins said. "Everybody was attacking; that's what it's all about. I'm not surprised by anything in this Tour; I expect everything and anything to happen."

If yesterday can ultimately be written off as skirmishing, today's 41.5km (26-mile) time trial between Arc-et- Senans and Besançon is another story altogether. For a specialist such as Wiggins, after Saturday's triumph it represents his best opportunity prior to the final time trial outside Paris to open up a major gap on his rivals and consolidate his lead.

"We're in a good position; everybody will be in the same boat, but we're at the head of it," Wiggins said.

While Wiggins' performance will be the main centre of focus today, attention should also be paid to Saturday's stage winner Froome.

Wiggins' team-mate is also a gifted time trialist and, for all he has renounced all personal goals in the race in order to help ensure Wiggins claims the overall victory, the Kenyan-born, British-registered Froome is sixth overall and will almost certainly make an all-out effort in today's time trial.

The one comparable previous time trial in a Grand Tour when Froome and Wiggins went shoulder to shoulder in a race against the clock was in the Tour of Spain last year. Froome – who eventually emerged as the stronger of the two Sky team-mates – beat Wiggins into third place, albeit by a mere 23 seconds.

"It's always possible [he could go faster again]," Wiggins said afterwards. "You've got to have the legs and last year [in the Tour of Spain] I started the time trial way too fast. It [being defeated by Froome] could happen again. But I just have to concentrate on my ride and see what happens.

"How important is the time trial? That remains to be seen. Every stage is important, but the time trial is irrelevant unless you've got through the previous seven or eight days. It's another stage and everybody will be giving it their all."

Since then Wiggins – third in the Tour of Spain behind Froome – has made huge strides in his climbing, but his time trialling has got no worse. Indeed, in June Froome was among those who lost large amounts of time to the triumphant Londoner in the Critérium du Dauphiné's race against the clock.

Since then, though, Froome's form has improved, and in today's time trial there is far more at stake – perhaps a whole Tour de France.


Get Adobe Flash player


Results & standings

Stage seven (Tomblaine-La Planche des Belles Filles, 199km): 1 C Froome (GB) Sky Procycling 4hrs 58mins 35secs, 2 C Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 0.02, 3 B Wiggins (GB) Sky Procycling at same time, 4 V Nibali (It) Liquigas-Cannondale at 0.07, 5 R Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Crédit En Ligne at 0.19, 6 H Zubeldia Agirre (Sp) RadioShack-Nissan at 0.44, 7 P Rolland (Fr) Team Europcar at 0.46, 8 J Brajkovic (Sloven) Astana Pro Team at same time, 9 D Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team at 0.50, 10 M Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 0.56, 11 N Roche (Rep Ire) AG2R La Mondiale at 1:06, 12 F Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 1:09, 13 R Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling at 1:14, 14 M Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling at 1:24, 15 T Pinot (Fr) FDJ-Big Mat.

Selected others: 100 S Cummings (GB) BMC Racing Team at 9mins 16secs, 107 D Millar (GB) Garmin - Sharp at 10:18, 146 M Cavendish (GB) SkyProcycling at 14:21.

Stage eight (Bellfort-Porrentruy, 157.5km): 1 T Pinot (Fr) FDJ-Big Mat 3hrs 59mins 10secs, 2 C Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 0.26secs, 3 TGallopin (Fr) RadioShack-Nissan at same time, 4 B Wiggins (GB) Sky Procycling at same time, 5 V Nibali (It) Liquigas-Cannondale at same time, 6 J Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team at same time, 7 C Froome (GB) Sky Procycling at same time, 8 D Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team at same time, 9 H Agirre (Sp) RadioShack-Nissan at same time, 10 F Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 0.30, 11 C Horner (US) RadioShack-Nissan at same time, 12 F Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team at 0.47, 13 N Roche (Rep Ire) AG2R La Mondiale at 1min 25secs, 14 C Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at same time, 15 M Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at same time.

Selected others: 88 D Millar (GB) Garmin - Sharp 4hrs 11mins 37secs, 124 S Cummings (GB) BMC Racing Team at 16mins 41secs, 148 M Cavendish (GB) Sky Procycling at 22.19.

General classification: 1 B Wiggins (GB) Sky Procycling 38hrs 17mins 56secs, 2 C Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team at 0.10secs, 3 V Nibali (It) Liquigas-Cannondale at 0.16, 4 D Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team at 0.54, 5 H Agirre (Sp) RadioShack-Nissan at 0.59, 6 C Froome (GB) Sky Procycling at 1min 32secs, 7 M Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 2.08, 8 J Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team at 2.11, 9 N Roche (Rep Ire) AG2R La Mondiale at 2.21, 10 R Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Crédit En Ligne at 2.27, 11 T Gallopin (Fr) RadioShack-Nissan at 3.13, 12 R Da Costa (Portugal) Movistar Team at 3.24, 13 T Pinot (Fr) FDJ-Big Mat at 3.41, 14 C Horner (US) RadioShack-Nissan at 3.43, 15 F Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan at 3.47. Selected others: 113 S Cummings (GB) BMC Racing Team 39hrs 26mins 17secs, 135 D Millar (GB) Garmin - Sharp at 47mins 33secs, 152 M Cavendish (GB) Sky Procycling at 51.59.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before