After making history in Paris,Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins is heading home to London hoping to add an Olympic gold medal to go with his yellow jersey. The first Briton to win cycling’s event will start the Olympic time trial August 1 as a big favourite for the gold.
After donning his winner’s yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees,Wiggins immediately turned his focus to Olympic race in just over a week. He even promised to forgo the Tour winner’s traditional glass of champagne.
Everything turns to the Olympics and I’ll be out on the bike tomorrow and Ive got an Olympic time trial to try and win, Wiggins said. Sacrificing the traditional Tour winners party was difficult but necessary, Wiggins said,because winning in his home Olympics is a higher priority than anything else.
Mark Cavendish,Wiggins teammate on Team Sky,also is aiming to transition quickly from Parisian boulevards to English lanes. The world champion from Britains Isle of Man wants to follow up his dominating sprint victory on Sunday with a win in the Olympic road race on July 28. If anything,Cavendish is even more heavily favoured to win the road race than Wiggins is in the time trial. Regarded as the fastest man on a bike,the road world champion has not been as successful this year as in previous Tours. He kept his ambitions somewhat in check to put Wiggins in yellow during the Tour.
Cavendish spent the first half of the season training specifically for the road race at the London Olympics,losing nine pounds (four kilograms) to be able to tackle the nine climbs of Box Hill in Surrey on Saturday. And with Cavendish having sacrificed some opportunities for more stage wins by helping his teammate protect the yellow jersey,Wiggins was all too happy to pay him back over the final miles of the race. Wiggins pulled ahead to lead the Sky train shortly before it pulled onto the Champs-Elysees for the final time as the team set Cavendish up for the sprint.
Its hard to take in as it happens, Wiggins said. 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.
Cavendish won the final stage of the Tour for the fourth year in a row. After Wiggins pulled back,Edvald Boasson Hagen delivered the perfect lead-out for Cavendish to sprint away from his rivals at the end of the 74.6-mile stage. Cavendish accelerated coming out of the final corner,never looked back and raised four fingers as he crossed the line.
The seven stage wins was a record haul for British riders in the Tour. This time the victories were divided up between Cavendish (3),Wiggins (2),David Millar (1) and Christopher Froome (1). All four,with Ian Stannard,will compete in Saturdays road race on the opening day of the Olympics with the aim of propelling Cavendish to another triumph.