Anyone tempted to be harsh on Bradley Wiggins? performance so far this Tour perhaps should think again.

Today (Wednesday) the big Cofidis rider got in the early break with Egoi Martinez (Discovery), Christophe Mengin (Francaise des Jeux), Laurent Lefèvre (Bouygues) and Cédric Coutouly (Agritubel) and flew the flag for Britain for most of the 207km stage.

The move formed after 25km and Wiggins was only caught 12km from the finish. Martinez and Lefevre stayed clear until two kilometres to go but were swept up by the sprinters and McEwen surged to take his second stage win in four days.

Wiggins can hold his head high because he did more than his share of the work and picked the right day to do it as the Tour passed close to the Cofidis headquarters in northern France.

The presence of Martinez in the break wrecked any chance of the moving staying clear because he was only 28 seconds behind Tom Boonen in the overall standings. However the riders gave their all against a stiff head wind.

“I’m pleased about getting the move and it went well,” Wiggins said proudly.

“I’d said I wanted to have a go and it worked. It was hard with the headwind and perhaps without Martinez in the move we might have stayed clear but it was amazing being out front like that. It’s a good boost for my moral and I’ll definitely try again later in the race.”