Wiggins set for Tour glory

Bradley Wiggins bound for Paris and historic victory in Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins bound for Paris and historic victory in Tour de France

First published in National Sport © by

Bradley Wiggins was today set to be confirmed as the first British Tour de France champion.

The 32-year-old triple Olympic champion began the 120-kilometre 20th stage from Rambouillet to Paris - his 13th day in the yellow jersey - with a lead of three minutes 21 seconds over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome.

Barring a freak accident, the duo were set to become the first Britons in Tour history to stand on the podium and Team Sky's livery had morphed overnight to become yellow, with Wiggins' bike also yellow.

The stage was set to be a procession to the Champs-Elysees, where the sprinters would contest the finish.

World champion Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) had won on the French capital's most famous boulevard in each of the previous three years and was unbeaten on the Tour's final stage. Wiggins was seeking to lead out his team-mate in the finale, in a prelude to what could occur at the Olympic road race on the opening day of London 2012.

The stage was ridden at pedestrian pace, with Wiggins pictured with the leaders of the classifications - points leader Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), King of the Mountains leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and best young rider Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), wearing green, polka dot and white jerseys, respectively.

Wiggins also rode alongside 2011 Tour champion Cadel Evans, a man the Londoner took inspiration from while watching at home after crashing out of the first week last year with a fractured collarbone.

Wiggins' Team Sky colleagues shared in the limelight, with the Londoner indebted to his seven colleagues for their support since the June 30 start in Liege.

George Hincapie, riding in his 17th consecutive and final Tour before retirement, led the peloton on to the Champs-Elysees for the first of eight laps. Alongside Hincapie (BMC Racing), who supported Lance Armstrong in each of his seven victories from 1999 to 2005, was Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek).

Team Sky's full eight-man squad were behind, with Cavendish sandwiched between Wiggins and Froome as the day's racing began.

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