• Tour de France, Stage 20

Wiggins seals historic victory; Cav surges to stage win

ESPN staff
July 22, 2012

Bradley Wiggins was confirmed as Britain's first winner of the Tour de France as the 99th edition of the race reached its conclusion in Paris, with Team Sky team-mate Mark Cavendish winning the last stage with a trademark sprint on the Champs-Elysees.

Wiggins, who was pictured with champagne during the traditional procession into the French capital, topped the General Classification after three weeks of racing, all but sealing his historic victory by powering to glory in the individual time trial on Saturday.

With Wiggins assured of victory (as long as he avoided a crash and crossed the finish line in Sunday's 120-kilometre final stage), and second-placed Chris Froome securing a one-two for Team Sky, the spotlight fell on Cavendish.

The Manxman did not disappoint, the world champion winning a pulsating bunch sprint to become the first Rainbow jersey holder to win on the Champs-Elysees.

Wiggins, the yellow jersey leader, led the peloton inside the final kilometre of the Rambouillet - Paris route under the Flamme Rouge and, as he moved over on the final bend, Cavendish was left with a longer sprint than usual to negotiate. The Manx Missile held his nerve, keeping his head down and driving to the line ahead of Peter Sagan and Matt Goss for a 23rd stage win to move ahead of Lance Armstrong as the fourth most prolific winner in the race's history.

"It is incredible," Cavendish said. "Bradley Wiggins, the yellow jersey leading me out and said wait until the last km and go for it and I did. I went a bit earlier than I wanted to but I had the acceleration coming out of the corner and I just thought if I can put enough space between me and the chasers and then try to hold on.

"It couldn't be more perfect, it has been an amazing Tour for us. It is incredible, Team Sky said the aim was to win the yellow jersey and we've done it with a one-two. We've got one more job to do next week [the Olympic road race] and it's going to be an amazing few weeks for us."

Wiggins completed the formalities of his momentous triumph, finishing in the chasing peloton to end with a winning margin of three minutes and 21 seconds. Froome, touted as a future Tour champion, took second place, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) claiming third - 6:19 behind Wiggins.

Defending champion Cadel Evans finished almost 16 minutes behind Wiggins, while Sagan secured the green jersey for the points competition in his debut Tour de France. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) was crowned king of the mountains and American Tejay Van Garderen won the white jersey competition as the race's best young rider, placing fifth.

Stage 20 result
1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling - 3:08:07
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
4 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
5 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
6 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol Team
7 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
8 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team
9 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
10 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun

General Classification
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - 87:34:42
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling - 0:03:21
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:06:19
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team - 0:10:15
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team - 0:11:04
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan - 0:15:43
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team - 0:15:51
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar - 0:16:31
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team - 0:16:38
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat - 0:17:17

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.