Brad all over: ITV1 to screen last two stages of Tour de France as Wiggo hits the headlines
Wider audience for Saturday's iTT plus Sunday's Champs-Elysees finale with Cav going for 4th straight win
ITV1 will air the final two stages of the Tour de France this weekend as Bradley Wiggins heads towards victory in Paris, a further sign that mainstream media has woken up to the magnitude of the Team Sky rider's achievement in becoming the first British winner of the race in its 109-year history. The broadcaster will also show the final two stages simultaneously on ITV4, the usual home of its cycling coverage.
With Wiggins and team mate Chris Froome set to complete an historic one-two in Paris this weekend - no British rider has previously finished higher than fourth, a feat achieved by Robert Millar in 1984 and Wiggins himself in 2009, when he was with Garmin-Transitions - two national newspapers, The Daily Telegraph and The Times, have the maillot jaune as their main front page picture this morning.
With the Team Sky pair now safely through the mountains and extending their lead over third-placed Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale yesterday, TV news bulletins are also devoting additional time to the race as it heads towards its climax, while ITV4 last night screened a 45-minute documentary on Wiggins which you can watch on the ITV Player.
ITV1's screening of the final two stages, an individual time trial from Bonneval to Chartres which should see the pair extend their lead at the top of the general classification, and Sunday's traditional procession into Paris culminating in Mark Cavendish aiming to take the sprint on the Champs-Elysees for the fourth year in a row, will bring the race to an even wider audience than are currently following it through ITV4 and Eurosport, as well as the thousands of fans expected to make the trip across the Channel to the French capital.
It's also a reflection of the fact that the story of Wiggins' journey towards the maillot jaune is a feel-good story in this most dismal of summers, although the cyclist may not be aware of that himself, stuck as he is inside the Tour bubble.
At yesterday evening's press conference, he lamented that for all the questions he's fielded throughout the race, and the one he'd just been asked about whether the race would be remembered more for the absence of Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck no-one had said to him, 'Bloody good on you, mate, well done.'
As Carlton Reid points out in the comments below, that's now being put right with a hashtag #bloodygoodonyoumatewelldone now doing the rounds on Twitter.
Coverage of the two stages starts at 2pm on ITV1 and ITV4 on both Saturday and Sunday, with Eurosport's coverage of tomorrow's individual time trial beginning at 12.30pm and Sunday's final stage at 1.30pm.