Bradley Wiggins pocketed another stage race win, his third of the season, today in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He left the race, heading for the team’s hotel and a few days of Tour de France recon, with the leader’s yellow jersey in his back pocket.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) tried to take back the jersey on a few occasions, but fell short. The two will face off again in the Tour de France, starting in just three weeks.
“I had a good run at it now, this is probably the best shape I’ve been in for the Tour. My time trialling’s improve, my climbing and my team is strong. I’m ready to go now,” Wiggins said in a press conference.
“I keep saying it, but Cadel is an incredible athlete and you can guarantee he will be there at the Tour, trying to win it for the second time.”
Sky’s captain completed his mission, winning the race for a second year running and focusing on the Tour. He stays in Châtel in Haute Savoie tonight, travels tomorrow by car to preview several of the Tour finishes and rides the first TT in Besançon on Tuesday.
“I’ll then head home for a few days, then Majorca for a week. It will be a lot warmer than it is in Manchester!” Wiggins explained. “I’ll stay there, miss the nationals because I felt it was too much last year. Then straight to Liège. The week is about freshening up and putting the final touches on the prologue work so that we are ready for Liege.”
Sky is due to select a long list of 14 riders for the Tour on Wednesday. It will whittle the list down to nine for the Tour de France. Mick Rogers placed second in the Dauphiné, Chris Froome fourth and Richie Porte ninth. They are expected to form the heart of Wiggins’ mountain team, but Mark Cavendish will also need his riders.
Wiggins stayed out of the team politics.
“The team will pick who they want, they will go with a strategy they see fit,” he said. “At this moment in time, I couldn’t tell you either way, it’d just be speculating.”
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Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: Stage reports
Stage seven: Wiggins wins overall, Moreno takes final stage
Stage six: Quintana wins but Sky and Wiggins in complete control
Stage five: Wiggins maintains lead as Vichot wins stage
Stage four: Wiggins blitzes time trial
Stage three: Boasson Hagen blasts to stage win
Stage two: Moreno wins second stage in Dauphiné hill-top sprint
Stage one: Evans wins as Wiggins takes lead
Prologue: Wiggins second behind Durbridge
Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: Photo galleries
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery
Prologue photo gallery