GREAT Britain’s Bradley Wiggins vowed the extension of his lead during stage nine of the Tour de France vindicated all of the training he and his team had undergone in order to prepare for the event.
Wiggins finished 35 seconds ahead of compatriot and team-mate Chris Froome after clocking 51 minutes and 24 seconds on the 41.5km time trial from Arc et Senans to Besancon on an exceptional day for the British riders that also strengthened his grip on the Tour’s yellow jersey. Today he and his fellow competitors undertake their first rest day of the race but last night Wiggins reflected on the success that had built an overall one minute and 53 second Tour lead over defending champion Cadel Evans a day after he had dismissed allegations of doping from social network Twitter.
“Time-trialling is what I do best,” Wiggins said. “I know exactly the routine what I need to do. I felt great from the first pedal stroke and I knew I was in for a good one.
“This is what we have trained for. The graft during the winter, missing the kids’ birthdays having been at training camps – this is what it is for. To get the stage win is fantastic.”
Froome, the winner of stage seven, added: “There is no tactics in something like today. This is by far the hardest event in cycling. You just have to go as fast as you can and turn yourself inside out to get the best time.
“It is good to know you are on track for a good time, but you have to be careful you do not overcook it so it is a fine line to gauge that effort.”
■ Bradley Wiggins, 39:09:20
■ Cadel Evans, +1:53
■ Chris Froome, +2:07
■ Vincenzo Nibali, +2:23
■ Denis Menchov, +3:02