Bradley Wiggins Wins 2012 Tour de France as Mark Cavendish Takes Final Stage
Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France by protecting the yellow jersey during Sunday's final processional ride into Paris. He also helped Sky teammate Mark Cavendish earn his fourth straight sprint victory on the Champs-Elysees.
We got a one and two on GC but still we were riding to control things on the Champs-Elysees."
"It was an honor to have the yellow jersey leading me out in the sprint. Bradley (Wiggins) told me he'd go full gas to the last kilometer and then Edvald (Boasson Hagen) led me into the last corner. The finish couldn't have been more perfect - no better end to this Tour," Cavendish added.
While 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans of Team BMC Racing didn't manage to defend his Tour de France champion title this year his team was one of only two teams with two riders in the top 10 at the end of the three-week, 3,496.9-kilometer race. Team BMC Racing's Tejay van Garderen became only the third American to win the best young rider classification at the Tour and finished 5th overall, while Evans completed the Tour in 7th position.
Van Garderen follows in the footsteps of previous American white jersey wearers Greg LeMond (1984) and Andy Hampsten (1986). The 23-year-old Colorado native spent all but two days of this year's Tour in the white jersey.
"I think it's another few years before I can think about switching this color (to yellow)," van Garderen told Roadcycling.com and continued "Luckily I'm still eligible for this color next year so maybe I'll try to win this again before I think of the big prize. Being able to learn from veterans like George (Hincapie) and Cadel (Evans) and that I can actually hold up to a three-week race has been wild."
Wiggins and his teammates were at the font of the pack as it arrived on the streets of Paris for eight laps of a 4-mile circuit on the Champs-Elysees.
Veteran rider George Hincapie, competing in his 17th consecutive and final Tour de France, led the peloton onto the prestigious avenue alongside fellow American Chris Horner.
"I'm actually really good friends with a lot of the Sky guys and I would have liked to have been a little bit more low key about it," Hincapie explained. "But they were asking me to do it. So I went ahead and did it and it was a real honor for me to lead them into Paris."
With Sky determined to help Cavendish secure a fourth consecutive win in Paris, Horner and Hincapie were immediately reeled in. Several other riders tried to break away but the peloton was not ready to give them any slack as the race passed some of the capital's most iconic monuments such as the Louvre museum, the Eiffel tower and the Place de la Concorde.
Six riders including Jens Voigt of Germany finally escaped from the back with 18 miles to go. They had a maximum lead of 30 seconds but were progressively reeled in as Liquigas and Sky organized the chase.
According to Team Sky director Dave Brailsford the team's next big ambition is to win all three Grand Tours - the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana - in the same season. The