Bradley Wiggins will be awarded third place in the 2009 Tour de France, replacing Lance Armstrong, according to a report by AFP which says it confirmed the position with “official sources” after yesterday’s statement by the UCI that it would not reallocate results in the seven editions of the race won by the American between 1999 and 2005. As yet, Armstrong’s name continues to appear in third place for 2009 on the Tour’s website.
However, it looks a though the record books will now show that 2009 is when Wiggins became the first British rider to clinch a podium place in the Tour, although official recognition of that comes of course after his Tour de France victory this summer in which Sky team mate Chris Froome was runner-up.
On Monday, UCI president Pat McQuaid said that he did not believe that the United States Anti Doping Agency, which stripped Armstrong of all results dating from his return to the sport in 1998 after battling cancer, had proved that the 41-year-old had been involved in doping after coming out of retirement to ride for Astana in 2009, although the governing body decided not to challenge the decision.
With its statement yesterday only talking about 1998-2005, there was therefore some confusion about the implication for the period from 2009 onwards, although if AFP’s sources are correct, that now appears to have been laid to rest.
The 2009 Tour was the race in which Wiggins, then with Garmin-Slipstream, achieved his breakthrough as a GC rider, digging deep on the penultimate stage on Mont Ventoux to pip Frank Schelck to fourth place. At the end of the season, he made his controversial move to Team Sky, which had to buy out the remainder of his contract with the US-based outfit.