Historic day for British cycling as Wiggins wins maillot jaune and world champ Cav takes final stage again

Bradley Wiggins this afternoon crowned the greatest day in British cycling history by not only becoming the first rider from these shores to win the Tour de France, but also leading world champion Mark Cavendish under the flamme rouge to set up the world champion for his fourth consecutive victory on the Champs Elysees, his first there for Team Sky.

When the team was launched in 2010, Dave Brailsford attracted derision when he said its aim was to produce a British winner of the Tour de France within five years. They have achieved that with time to spare, and what's more there is also a British runner-up in the shape of Chris Froome.

With thousands of British fans lining the closing circuit in Paris today, it will be some party in the French capital tonight - Wiggins, Froome and Cavendish however will head to join up with Team GB, with the Olympic road race now less than a week away. With Wiggins today achieving one of the most historic victories ever by a British athlete in any sport, it's a great way to kick off the week in which London 2012 starts.

On a day when the record books were rewritten, one statistic that jumps out is that Cavendish, awarded the accolade of the Tour de France’s greatest ever sprinter a little over a week ago, is now indisputably its most successful.

Not only has he never been beaten on the Champs-Elysées on the four occasions he has finished the Tour de France, but today was his 23rd stage win in the race, putting him ahead of André Darrigade who racked up 22 victories between 1953 and 1964. Cavendish has overhauled that record in half the time.

A man who helped lead Cavendish to one of those Champs-Elysées victories, his former HTC-Columbia team mate George Hincapie, was himself setting a record on this year’s Tour as he made his seventeenth and final participation in the race.

Hincapie, now with BMC Racing, who has completed the race on sixteen of those occasions, was today given the honour of leading the peloton onto the Champs-Elysées for the first of a little over eight laps of frantic racing ahead of the final sprint for the line.

Usually, tradition has it that the maillot jaune’s team leads the man who is the Tour’s winner in waiting onto the famous avenue, but certainly Team Sky weren’t complaining, a helpful nudge in the back from one of their riders helping propel the American to the front of the race for the last time.

Earlier, the peloton had rolled in from Rambouillet, located to the southwest of the French capital, at the usual sedate pace that marks the early part of the final stage of the Tour,

The classification winners – Peter Sagan and Tejay Van Garderen respectively in the green and white jerseys and Thomas Voeckler in polka dot, well, everything – lined up with Wiggins for the obligatory photocall.

Once onto the Rue de Rivoli and the closing circuit, however, racing began in earnest. Joining Hincapie in jumping off the front was another 39-year-old, RadioShack Nissan’s Chris Horner.

A number of other riders managed to jump across to them, the composition of the group kept changing as the peloton snapped at their heels.

Ultimately it was the oldest rider in the race, Horner’s team mate Jens Voigt, who managed to lead the break that stuck, initially attacking with fellow German Danilo Hondo of Lampre-ISD. Lars Bak of Lotto Belisol, who had been in the break of last year’s Tour, also got across, with others attacking behind him.

The group of 11 that eventually formed did their best to stay out as long as they could, but with Liquigas-Cannondale joining Team Sky in leading the chase and Lotto-Belisol and Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank also moving to the front of the peloton inside the final lap, the break was doomed and the last escapees were caught with a little under 3 kilometres left.

After emerging from the tunnel beneath the Tuileries gardens and turning hard left at Norwegian Corner opposite the gilded statue of Joan of Arc onto the Rue de Rivoli, Team Sky were tearing along at the front of the peloton hunting for the perfect end to a Tour in which they have provided a tactical masterclass.

Wiggins himself put in a long stint towing the peloton along, peeling off on the Place de la Concorde, rivals all over the road as they tried to find the line through that would somehow give them a chance of challenging Cavendish for the win.

No-one knows the final corner like the Manxman, however, and as he Edvald Boasson Hagen led him out of it, Cavendish came out of the Norwegian’s slipstream and powered home ahead of Sagan and former HTC Highroad team mate, Matt Goss.

In the last three editions of the race, Cavendish’s final day victories, including last year’s confirmation of his points classification victory, have been the high spots of the Tour for British fans.

It’s a sign of the growing strength of British cycling that today’s win was simply icing on the cake to what will go down as the Tour when Bradley Wiggins made history and became the first rider ever to bring the maillot jaune back across the Channel.


Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, Team Sky:

“It's hard to take in as it happens. Every lap of the Champs-Elysées was goosepimple stuff. We had a job to do with Mark today and we were all motivated to do that so it made it go a lot quicker. The concentration was high and for Mark to finish it off like that... well, it couldn't get any better. 

“I don't actually know what to say that I haven't already said yesterday. It's brilliant. But I'm lost for words. It's a different feeling to 24 hours ago but we've come here and we were committed to what we were doing so there was no sense of, ‘Oh, this is it.' It was so hard once the race started and, right to the end, when I was leading out with a kilometre to go. Right now, at the base of the podium, I'm trying to soak it all in and it's hard to articulate what I'm feeling. It's a strange feeling, really – very strange.

“Now we've come out of our bubble and now we start to realise what it means to all these people who have come over here for the weekend. That turn [near the Arc de Triomphe] was just a sea of Brits and the noise was incredible. It was close to what it was like at the Olympics in Athens when I was coming into the home straight. It's that kind of feeling. It's phenomenal. You couldn't fail to hear it. 

“Tonight I go home. Everything turns to the Olympics and I'll be out on the bike tomorrow and I've got an Olympic time trial to try and win. So that's a higher priority than anything else. It's a little weird to leave Paris without a party because it would be nice to spend time with the team and really enjoy it. This has been – as everyone's seen – such a team effort. Even today, it was an incredible group of guys. I've had the privilege to ride with them for the past three weeks; it's been an absolute honour.

“You imagine that you'd feel an enormous sense of relief but you get there and it's a very strange feeling. I remember watching Cadel win it last year and thinking, ‘God, that must be incredible!' But it happens to you and it doesn't feel as you imagine it to feel. It's a strange sensation. It's very surreal.”

Stage winner Mark Cavendish, Team Sky:

“After getting first and second on GC, winning five stages – or, whatever... how many was it before today – it wasn't going to be an unsuccessful Tour by any means. I'm just happy to get that final win today. We had the whole team on the front and it was an incredible sight. 

“I'm very ready for the Olympics now. Between four of the five guys who are in the Olympic Games squad, there are seven stage wins at the Tour de France so we're going to have an incredibly strong team and we're not just going to the Games to see how it goes. We're fully excited about it and we'll just wait for next Saturday. 

“My legs are really good. You've seen my sprint is really good and I just like getting to the finish. I've got an incredible team to try and do that in London four out of five of us have won stages here... between us we have one out of every three stages of this year's Tour. As a nation in the cycling world, there's nothing better than that.

“It was great for British cycling fans to see what they saw today: guys who are first and second on GC in the Tour de France controlling the peloton and the yellow jersey leading it out at the last kilometre... and me winning for a fourth time here. I'm incredibly proud of an incredible three weeks that came to a close today. 

“It was a sea of blue, white and red flags and it's incredible to see that in Paris.”

Tour de France runner-up, Chris Froome, Team Sky:

“I'm blown away by what we as a team have achieved these last three weeks as a team; it's monumental. Also, for a team that's relatively new to cycling – this is only the third year for Team Sky now – so for us to have two riders standing on the top two steps of the podium on the Champs-Elysées... it's really something special. Hopefully it's set the precedent for us going forward in the future. 

“I surprised myself. I knew I had very good condition coming into this race but you never know where your opposition is at and I was never confident that I would be right at the top of the sport. I'm really happy to be in this position and I hope to keep competing like this in the future. 

“I might not need to change my team to be a winner of the Tour de France. I'd love to win it one day and let's see... I've learned so much this year being right there at the front of the race but not having the pressure of being the leader. I'm going to take that experience away and hopefully learn for the future.

“I never saw this day coming so I couldn't be happier.”

Dave Brailsford, Team Principal at Team Sky:

"I’m very proud. It’s quite emotional. When I got into cycling, nobody else knew about it, but to see all those British flags on the roadside in Paris was phenomenal and I want to thank everybody for coming and thanks for all the support around the world.
"It's been an amazing Tour for us. Bradley has had an amazing race and demonstrated he was the best rider in it by finishing with a time trial like that on Saturday.

"We're very lucky to have both Chris and Brad on the same team. This was a Tour that suited Bradley. He's climbing really well, his time trialling's been off the scale and now I think you can see why we stuck with him.

"I couldn't be prouder to have worked with both Bradley and Chris. For Bradley to have won this race, as a British rider - which has never been done before - with a British team with a fantastic British sponsor, it's the stuff of dreams

"I'd never have said that we could do it unless I really believed that we could. A lot of people laughed when we said that we could win this race in five years with a clean British rider. But we were serious about it, we'd done our homework, we knew what Bradley was capable of and what a British team would be capable of - and we set about it.

"From a team perspective we'd like to build on this and I'd like to think this is not just a one-off. The staff and riders should take time and reflect a little bit now but we're building a team for the future here which we want to keep on progressing and coming back to this race to do it all again."

“I can’t allow this achievement to sink in yet. I’m flying straight out of Paris and into the Great Britain training camp in Newport to prepare for the Olympic Games. My thoughts turned to that almost as soon as Brad had stepped off the podium. As I said, everyone else should savour the moment but I can’t wait to get into that Olympic arena now with a British team and show the whole world what we’re made of. “

Tour de France Stage 20 result  

1  CAVENDISH Mark           SKY PROCYCLING               03h 08' 07''
2  SAGAN Peter              LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE            + 00' 00''
3  GOSS Matthew Harley      ORICA GREENEDGE
7  BOZIC Borut              ASTANA PRO TEAM
11 FARRAR Tyler             GARMIN-SHARP
12 DE KORT Koen             TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO
13 PAOLINI Luca             KATUSHA TEAM
14 GENE Yohann              TEAM EUROPCAR
15 HINAULT Sébastien        AG2R LA MONDIALE
16 PEREZ MORENO Ruben       EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI            + 00' 04''

Last man home on Stage 20  

153 HONDO Danilo            LAMPRE - ISD                   + 00' 09''

Final General Classification  

1 WIGGINS Bradley           SKY PROCYCLING               87h 34' 47''
2 FROOME Christopher        SKY PROCYCLING                 + 03' 21''
3 NIBALI Vincenzo           LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE            + 06' 19''
4 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen     LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM             + 10' 15''
5 VAN GARDEREN Tejay        BMC RACING TEAM                + 11' 04''
6 ZUBELDIA Haimar           RADIOSHACK-NISSAN              + 15' 41''
7 EVANS Cadel               BMC RACING TEAM                + 15' 49''
8 ROLLAND Pierre            TEAM EUROPCAR                  + 16' 26''
9 BRAJKOVIC Janez           ASTANA PRO TEAM                + 16' 33''
10 PINOT Thibaut            FDJ-BIGMAT                     + 17' 17''

Final Points Classification  

1 SAGAN Peter               LIQUIGAS-CANNONDALE            421 pts
2 GREIPEL André             LOTTO-BELISOL TEAM             280 pts
3 GOSS Matthew              ORICA GREENEDGE                268 pts
4 CAVENDISH Mark            SKY PROCYCLING                 220 pts
5 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald      SKY PROCYCLING                 160 pts

Final Mountains Classification  

1 VOECKLER Thomas           TEAM EUROPCAR                  135 pts
2 KESSIAKOFF Fredrik        ASTANA PRO TEAM                123 pts
3 SORENSEN Chris Anker      TEAM SAXO BANK-TINKOFF BANK     77 pts
4 ROLLAND Pierre            TEAM EUROPCAR                   63 pts
5 VALVERDE Alejandro        MOVISTAR TEAM                   51 pts

Final Young Rider's Classification  

1 VAN GARDEREN Tejay        BMC RACING TEAM              87h 45' 51''
2 PINOT Thibaut             FDJ-BIGMAT                     + 06' 13''
3 KRUIJSWIJK Steven         RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM      + 01h 05' 48''
4 TAARAMAE Rein             COFIDIS                    + 01h 16' 48''
5 IZAGUIRRE Gorka           EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI        + 01h 21' 15''

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


Tonnio [37 posts] 5 years ago

Well done Wiggo.

captain_slog [428 posts] 5 years ago

Awesome. Just fantastic. Magnificent achievement by everyone involved, on and off the bike, but especially the man himself.

PaulVWatts [111 posts] 5 years ago

I'm getting a bit sick of the Wiggo hype. Whats missing above is Mark Cavendish is now the most succesful sprinter in the history of the Tour de France and the fourth most most succesful stage winner in its history.No mention of that above. Also no mention of the fact he's never lost on the Champs Elysees. Where are you getting your cycling news from the Daily Mail?

Raleigh [1667 posts] 5 years ago


Johnboy27 [2 posts] 5 years ago

Paul W, it does say "More to follow". Calm yourself and cheer up for goodness sake! Well done Bradley, Cav, and Team Sky!  4

hoski [95 posts] 5 years ago
PaulVWatts wrote:

I'm getting a bit sick of the Wiggo hype. Whats missing above is Mark Cavendish is now the most succesful sprinter in the history of the Tour de France and the fourth most most succesful stage winner in its history.No mention of that above. Also no mention of the fact he's never lost on the Champs Elysees. Where are you getting your cycling news from the Daily Mail?

True. But that doesn't diminish Wiggo's achievement.

hoski [95 posts] 5 years ago

S'good day for British cycling!

notfastenough [3728 posts] 5 years ago

Allez les rosbifs!

What an achievement! Also loving the fact that the last 3 stages all dominated by brits - and every rider in the Olympic squad has won a stage in this years TDF (alright, except Stannard, but he's doing well elsewhere).

Well done guys. Great work.

PaulVWatts [111 posts] 5 years ago

I'm not diminishing Wiggins achievement but I think the press putting him above Cavendish in the ranks of British cycling history is ridiculous.
I never thought I'd recommend a Sun article but try this one which I think is more appropriate than the one above for todays race


WolfieSmith [1395 posts] 5 years ago

Pedants corner runs riot: always the result after a great British win. My favourite Spice girl is Sporty - and I'll back that with numerous articles.  4

SevenHills [244 posts] 5 years ago

What are you talking about MercuryOne everyone knows Baby Spice is the best!  4

Well done all of the Sky boys as well as Dave Millar - Looking good for the Olympic Road race.

koko56 [330 posts] 5 years ago
PaulVWatts wrote:

I'm getting a bit sick of the Wiggo hype. Whats missing above is Mark Cavendish is now the most succesful sprinter in the history of the Tour de France and the fourth most most succesful stage winner in its history.No mention of that above. Also no mention of the fact he's never lost on the Champs Elysees. Where are you getting your cycling news from the Daily Mail?

Woah there, so what about all the hype Cavandish gets over Chris Hoy etc?

Maybe it's like... Wiggos time? Cav has gotten enough coverage over the years and has not won as many stages as before in this year's tour - does it make more sense now?

PaulVWatts [111 posts] 5 years ago

I now fully aprove of the amended article above. On a pedantic note British 'based team' victory. Or is Edvald Boasson Hagen wearing the national champions jersey of Norway under false pretenses  3

Raleigh [1667 posts] 5 years ago

LoL the only reason that article was in the sun is because of Cav's GF.

PRINCIPIA PHIL [59 posts] 5 years ago

@PaulVWatts - using an article from the Sun to prove your point shows that your dredging the bottom of the barrel - it's a comic for crying out loud!!! You should try reading a newspaper for a change rather than a gossip rag.
It only proves that what you know about cycling could be written on the back of a stamp.........with a marker!

bikeyourbest [23 posts] 5 years ago

Well as a transplanted Canadian living in the States, with Brit parents, it's a lot to digest! I love it just as I loved it when Armstrong "pulled the peloton" of American cycling into the spotlight. To many, this may have been "The Snore de France" but I thought it was full of emotional uplifting moments, from Sagan's banging his fist onto the table of (potential) greatness to Voekler's trademark doggedness (is he not always amazing?) to T-P (the next great French hope?) to Georgie getting a hand on the back and shoved to the sharp end to lead the gruppo onto Rivoli...this was a great Tour. Maybe not the toe to toe fisticuffs of this year's Giro, but...it was a grand race for sure. Chapeau's to all the riders.

Simon_MacMichael [2507 posts] 5 years ago

Paul, we don't get our cycling news for stage reports from the Sun, Daily Mail or anywhere else. All our own work  1

What we've found works best for us, and for the site's users from what we've heard, is a couple of paragraphs summarising the race - who won, GC, major incidents etc - that goes up as soon as possible after the stage, then add in the full report once that's written, then the results and reaction later.

As you noticed, the full report did mention Darrigade's record being beaten, and also that Cav has never been beaten on the Champs (the only record Cav breaks for wins there is his own - only one other rider has won on the Champs more than once - Abdoujaparov, and not in consecutive years).

No doubt Cav remains King of the Champs, but worth remembering Darrigade for example never got the chance to race there - finish has only been there since 1975, by which point Jens Voigt had already learnt his first words. 'Shut up legs," we're guessing.

It would have been difficult to kick off this article without mentioning that the race had just ended with its first British winner. It would have been difficult to start it without mentioning Cavendish. That's why they're both mentioned in the headline and the opening paragraph.

Hope that helps explain.

Simon_MacMichael [2507 posts] 5 years ago

Oh and just a very quick word on the Sun's cycling coverage.

This article:


Lifts quotes attributed to Gianni Bugno from a spoof article on Cyclismas (you'd have thought the other 'quotes' might have set the alarm bells ringing:




PaulVWatts [111 posts] 5 years ago

Simon why refer Sun articles other than the single one I did refer to? The first sports article I have ever read in the Sun by the way and the result of a quick internet search for how the press covered the result. I picked the Sun to make a point for if they could give a balanced coverage after the finish surely you could? Maybe it would be better to have a slight delay than publish an unbalanced report? Sorry about the Daily Mail comment that was a bit nasty  19

notfastenough [3728 posts] 5 years ago

Road.cc are absolutely right to throw up a stub article initially, simply because us lot are going to comment somewhere - yes one of us could create a forum thread, but giving us a story (however brief) to attach them to, then simply updating the text is by far the better approach.

Other than that, I can't help thinking that, apart from this pointless discussion, the overriding sentiment is that we're all chuffed to bits with the success... which suggests a possibly deliberate fly in the ointment - not trolling are you?

(And if he is, the rest of us need to stop feeding him)

DevonChap [43 posts] 5 years ago

Amid all the congratulations one man seems to have been left out. James Murdoch, the son of the Devil himself, for signing those big cheques that made this all possible.

I'll get my coat......