Wiggins completes trek to become first Brit winner of Tour de France 

click to enlarge Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling celebrates on a processional lap after winning the 2012 Tour de France after the twentieth and final stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysee. - BRYN LENNON/GETTY IMAGES
  • Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
  • Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling celebrates on a processional lap after winning the 2012 Tour de France after the twentieth and final stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysee.

Bradley Wiggins was greeted by thousands of Union Jack-waving fans on the Champs Elysees when he claimed the 99th edition of the Tour de France to become the first British winner of the famous race on Sunday.

Wiggins finished safe in the bunch on the 20th and last stage, a 74.5-mile ride from Rambouillet, as he helped his Sky teammate and fellow Briton Mark Cavendish to victory.

“What a finish,” Wiggins told reporters. “That was something. Mark won the stage after we led him out in the finale. Wonderful, wonderful.

Asked about making history, Wiggins added: “I’ve got to start getting used to that now which is strange. It’s mission complete.”

Next year, pure climbers Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck are expected to return after a doping suspension and injury, respectively.

A potentially hillier route next year could also threaten Wiggins’ domination, as could Team Sky rival Chris Froome who finished second this year.

Cavendish, who has now surpassed Andre Darrigade and Lance Armstrong with his 23 Tour stage wins, has won all four sprints he has contested on the landmark avenue.

He is also the first reigning world champion to win on the way up to the Arc de Triomphe.

Belgian Eddy Merckx holds the record with 34 stage wins on the Tour.

“It’s incredible,” Cavendish told French TV, holding his baby girl, Delilah Grace, in his arms.

“For me, this race is everything, it’s what my whole year is built towards every year,” he told reporters, aware that the London Olympic road race takes place Saturday.

Overall, Wiggins beat Froome by 3 minutes, 21 seconds and Italian Vincenzo Nibali by 6:19.

“Have a safe journey and don’t get too drunk,” Wiggins told the thousands of fans as he stood atop the podium.

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Julien Pretot

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