Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

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The Independent Online

Here Wiggo...

In the wake of England's traumatic defeat in Bloemfontein, the nation has been on a quest for a substitute patriotic success, with the thoroughly Scottish Andy Murray pushed into the vacuum.

The England cricket team, dominating the one-day series against Australia, has also been exalted, even though the first three surnames in the batting order – Strauss, Kieswetter, Pietersen – don't immediately conjure up John Major's "long shadows on cricket grounds and warm beer" image of England. And the team's most enchanting batsman, Eoin Morgan, is Irish. This surely doesn't matter when the German football side boasts players of Turkish and Polish ancestry.

The decidedly English-sounding Bradley Wiggins could be next for the St George treatment, as the multiple Olympic medallist leads the expensively assembled Team Sky in the Tour de France, which starts today in Rotterdam. Last year, Wiggins finished fourth proving he was tough enough for the 4,000km (2,500-mile) race. With hand-picked riders to help, could he become the first English winner?

Alberto Contador, last year's yellow jersey, is a strong favourite (4-7 generally) and will be able legitimately to pursue his feud with seven-times Tour winner Lance Armstrong (10-1 Coral) now that they're in separate teams, Astana and RadioShack respectively. It's Armstrong's last ride but there is no sentiment in the great race.

Wiggins is worth £10 each-way at 22-1, with Stan James. The ace sprinter Mark Cavendish (Columbia), who won six stages last year, is fancied for the green jersey; £10 win at Ladbrokes' 6-5. Pedants should know that Cavendish is Manx and that Wiggins was born in Ghent.