Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) ended his remarkable 2009 season on a high on Saturday, with overall victory in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia.
While most Tour de France contenders are already enjoying their off season, Wiggins battled the wind and rain during the week-long race, racing hard and getting stuck in on every stage.
He helped team mate Chris Sutton win three stages with some high-speed lead-outs and then set up overall victory, with a dominant performance in the key 10km time trial on Friday
Wiggins finished 11 seconds ahead of team mate Sutton and 20 seconds ahead of Jonathan Cantwell (Fly V Australia).
Sutton could have snatched back the lead thanks to bonus seconds from Wiggins if he had contested three intermediate sprints and the final dash to the line. He generously accepted to follow team tactics during the final criterium stage in Melbourne and pay back Wiggins for his work during the race. Cantwell won the final stage.
“It would probably look a bit funny actually if Bradley’s in yellow, leading me out and I win the stage and roll him for GC (general classification) as well,” Sutton told the Australia Associated Press news agency.
“Bradley had the yellow… today was his day.”
Sutton could have emulated his father Gary, who won the Sun Tour in 1984 but allowed Wiggins to win and remember his own Aussie roots through his father Gary, who died in 2008.
“Chris could have won the stage and won the GC. We had to make a decision and fortunately for me Chris did the honourable thing and let me have it,” Wiggins said.
“My father was Australian, so I’m half-Australian I guess … to be here now as a winner myself is great.”
Britain’s Dean Downing (Rapha-Condor) was 19th on the last day, while team mate Simon Richardson finished overall in 15th place at 6-26.
Jayco Herald Sun Tour 2009: Stage six, Melbourne
1. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Fly V Australia in 1-26-57
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Jayco Australia
3. David Tanner (Aus) Rock Racing
4. Aaron Kemps (Aus) Rock Racing
5. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) LeTua
6. Jonny Clarke (Aus) Jelly Belly
7. Rhys Pollock (Aus) Drapac Porsche
8. Darren Rolfe (Aus) Fly V Australia
9. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream
10. Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly all same time.
Final overall classification
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Garmin-Slipstream in 15-51-27
2. Chris Sutton (Aus) Garmin-Slipstream at 11secs
3. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Fly V Australia at 20secs
4. Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin-Slipstream at 48secs
5. Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly at 1-43
6. Matthew Wilson (Aus) Jayco Australia at 2-05
7. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell at 2-08
8. Aaron Kemps (Aus) Rock Racing at 2-12
9. Philip Zajicek (Aus) Fly V Australia at same time
10. David Tanner (Aus) Rock Racing at 2-23
Stage five: Wiggins wins Sun Tour TT and takes race lead
Stage four: Sutton scores hat-trick
Stage three: Wiggins poised for place on Sun Tour podium
Stage two: Wiggins fifth overall in Sun Tour
Stage one: Bradley Wiggins fourth in Sun Tour opener
Bradley Wiggins: Rider Profile