AP Photo/Laurent Rebours Bradley Wiggins pushes hard in the final 100 metres of Monday's stage.
Tour de France

Sprint finish: Wiggins crushes nearest rivals to extend overall lead

The 32-year-old Team Sky rider was over a minute and 40 seconds faster than defending champion Cadel Evans.

Result: BRITAIN’S BRADLEY WIGGINS blitzed the field in the 41.5 kilometre time trial from Arc-et-Senans to Besancon and further extended his overall lead. The Team Sky rider, who took ownership of the leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday, finished 35 seconds quicker than teammate Christopher Froome and 1:43 clear of last year’s champion, Cadel Evans.

Here’s how it happened: The time trial was Wiggins’ maiden Tour de France victory and will give him a decent cushion before the race takes to the mountains later in the week. He now leads by 1:53 from Evans of the BMC team after turning on the afterburners early on and refusing to let up. The 32-year-old said afterward that he felt good from the first pedal turn and put the positive result down to his team’s planning and reconnaissance of the route.

Froome moved up into third position in the General Classification after finishing just 35 seconds behind Wiggins. The state results mean Team Sky have more of a tactical advantage as the race moves into the Alps on Wednesday. Vincenzo Nibali, who finished 2:07 behind Wiggins on the stage, is now fourth overall with Russian Denis Menchov, a former winner of the Tour of Spain and Giro d’Italia, in fifth at 3:02.

The big winner: It has to be Wiggins, who showed that the yellow jersey was no pressure at all as he burst from the traps and, spurred on from Froome’s great ride, maintained a steady pace throughout. The Belgian-born cyclist was keen to stress after the ninth stage that there was a long way to go to Paris. “After the rest day it will be a whole different ball game and anything can happen, a bad day or a crash. Let’s just take it a day at a time.”

The big loser: Evans will have been hoping to stay close to Wiggins before the race moves to the Alps but he now has to contend with Froome, who sits just 14 seconds behind. He would not have been pleased with losing out to Froome but Wiggins’ blistering ride will have taken the Australian by surprise. Team Sky will protect the race leader in the mountains and Evans has a real fight on his hands to retain his title.

Who’s wearing what jersey?

  • Yellow (Overall): Bradley Wiggins
  • Green (Points): Peter Sagan
  • Polka-Dot (Mountains): Fredrik Kessiakoff
  • White (Young Rider): Tejay Van Garderen

What about the Irish? Nicolas Roche continues his impressive start to Le Tour and has retained his spot in the top 10. Roche finished 23rd in the stage and lost 3:08 on the flying Wiggins but he outpaced experienced time trialists such as David Millar and Alexander Vinokourov. Speaking on RTÉ’s Sport at Seven, Roche said:

I was pretty worried coming into the time trial after having a good start to the tour in the mountains. It was not the performance of my life but it was definitely one of mt best T.T’s so far. Staying in the top 10, for my psychology, was a real blast for me today.”

Daniel Martin has continued his steady climb up the overall standings and is currently sitting in 67th place. He finished 51st in the time trial to climb to classifications later. The Garmin rider is 32:03 behind Wiggins but pushed consistently and strongly today.

So what happens tomorrow then? The riders will recuperate and try to relax as much as possible on the race’s first official rest day.

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