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Wiggins on the verge of history
9:42am Sunday 22nd July 2012 in News
Lancashire's Bradley Wiggins is set to become the first British winner of the Tour de France after an imperious victory in the stage 19 time-trial to Chartres.
In the 99th edition of the sport's most fabled race, the 32-year-old Londoner is poised to ride Sunday's 120-kilometre 20th stage from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysees in Paris knowing he will return home victorious.
Wiggins, a three-time Olympic champion, began the 53.5km time-trial from Bonneval to Chartres with an advantage of two minutes five seconds over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome and enhanced his hold on the maillot jaune with a scintillating display against the clock to take a 3mins 21secs lead into the final day.
Wiggins completed the route in one hour four minutes 12 seconds. Froome was 1min 16secs slower in 1.05:29 to place second on the stage and all but confirm second place overall, with the final stage effectively a procession to the finish on the Champs-Elysees.
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) is set to complete the podium despite not being in contention in the time trial. The Italian finished in 1.07:51 to place 16th on the stage, 3:38 behind Wiggins, and fall 6:19 adrift overall.
Wiggins, who crashed out of the 2011 Tour with a broken collarbone as Cadel Evans triumphed, said: "It's the Tour. It doesn't get much bigger than this.
"You couldn't write a better script. What a way to finish. I wouldn't say it was a lap of honour, because it hurt. But I just wanted to finish the job off in style.
"There was a lot of emotion in the last 10k. Everything was going through my mind.
"All the years of getting to this point, my family, disappointments, crashing out the Tour last year, watching Cadel in this very position a year ago in Grenoble.
"I always imagined what that would feel like and now I know."