Bradley Wiggins (Garmin) moved up to third place overall in the Tour de France on Sunday with another inspired ride on the climb to the finish at Verbier in Switzerland.



Alberto Contador (Astana) took control of the yellow jersey by winning the stage but Wiggins was clearly one of the strongest on the climb and out performed riders of the calibre of Carlos Sastre (Cervelo), Cadel Evans (Silence) and even Lance Armstrong (Astana).



Wiggins dropped Lance Armstrong in the final kilometres and dragged a little group of riders to the finish. His face showed the pain he was feeling in his legs but he finished fifth on the stage, 1-06 behind Contador and only 23 seconds behind Schleck. Armstrong finished 29 behind him.  

Third spot for Wiggins

Wiggins is now third overall, 1-46 behind Contador and only nine seconds behind Armstrong.



Robert Millar is the best ever British rider in the Tour de France, finishing fourth in 1984, but Wiggins could beat that the way he is riding at the moment.    



Wiggins has worked incredibly hard to become a Tour contender but is firmly keeping his feet on the ground even though he is so high in the overall classification.



“Fantastic, it’s really fantastic, I don’t know what to say, I just do what I do and it worked,” Wiggins said at the finish,” Wiggins said, briefly letting slip his emotions, before returning to his usual mental game plan.

“I’m in great shape, I just keep thinking that. I kept that in my mind. But I keep going day by day, I keep saying, day by day, I never think too far ahead. I’ve trained for this mentally and physically.

“But there’s still a long way to Paris, so I’m no getting too excited. I’m going to take it day by day.



“I’ve trained hard for this mentally and physically but I’m not going to think too far ahead.”

Millar sets up Wiggins on final climb

David Millar played a key role in setting up Wiggin’s aggressive ride. He dragged the bunch to the bottom of the climb, with Wiggins and Vande Velde tucked on his wheel. That gave them a perfect positioning for when the race exploded and meant they did not have to fight for position. Vande Velde faded and finished 2-41 back but Wiggins used it to produce the ride of his life.



“It’s just so inspiring having Brad and Christian going so well,” Millar said.



“Having Brad doing what he’s doing is just a joy working for him. I’m having fun and we’re all having fun.”



And so is everyone who is enjoying watching Wiggins prove he can be a genuine Tour de France contender.

Garmin boss backs Wiggins’ plan to take things as they come

Garmin team manager Jonathan Vaughters was in Verbier to see Wiggins come in, and was naturally full of support for his rider.



“He has never done this before,” said Vaughters. “He is going to have to learn how to regulate his body. Hopefully we can get him in this position to the time trial [on Thursday].”



Vaughters agreed with Wiggins’ day-by-day strategy: “Whatever we do we’re going day by day. How can you think three days ahead when you got two days before ? That’s how you crack, that’s how you cock things up, so day by day. It’s a long way to go, let’s not get too excited.”



Vaughters said Wiggins could benefit from Christian Vande Velde’s support: “Christian will be willing to help, for sure. Christian has a lot of experience and can be a big asset to Brad.”

TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 LINKS

Tour de France 2009 – the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.

STAGE REPORTS



Stage 15: Contador wins in Verbier as Tour explodes into life



Stage 14: Ivanov wins as Nocentini clings onto yellow


Stage 13: Haussler braves rain for victory in Colmar




Stage 12: Sorensen wins in Vittel as Cavendish goes for green



Stage 11: Cavendish takes fourth win to equal Hoban’s record



Stage 10: Cavendish spoils Bastille Day party to take third stage win



Stage nine: Third French win as contenders content with ceasefire


stage eight: Sanchez wins from break as Tour favourites cancel each other out




Stage seven: Feillu wins at Arcalis, Nocentini takes yellow, Contador leap-frogs Lance



Stage six: Millar’s brave bid denied on Barcelona hill as Hushovd triumphs



Stage five: Voeckler survives chase to win his first Tour stage



Stage four: Astana on top but Armstrong misses yellow by hundredths of a second



Live Tour de France stage four TTT coverage



Stage three: Cavendish wins second stage as Armstrong distances Contador



Stage two: Cavendish takes first sprint



Stage one: Cancellara wins opening time trial

LATEST TOUR NEWS




Tour de France 2009 News Index>>




Stage 14 analysis: Is the Tour now over?



Columbia criticise Garmin for chasing Hincapie



Cavendish reveals he is going for green



Tour comment: The suspense is killing us



Analysis: Why Cavendish is one of the modern greats



Radio ban over-turned for Friday’s Tour stage



Arvesen out of Tour with fractured collarbone



Tour analysis: Why the go slow did cycling no favours on Bastille Day



Cavendish’s odd stage 10 finish celebration explained



No radios today, but experiment could be a one-off



Tour audio: Mark Cavendish after stage 10



Contador brushes aside talk of Armstrong conflict



Cavendish odds-on favourite for Bastille Day victory



The Tour de France Comment: Monday, July 13



How the favourites are doing (first rest day)



Wiggins stays with leaders at Tour



Armstrong: ‘If Contador wins, I’ll be second’



Wiggins ‘on cloud nine’ at Tour de France



Armstrong says Contador attack wasn’t in the plan


Cavendish survives the first Tour mountain stage with ease



Wiggins, the Tour de France overall contender, has arrived

EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS



Garmin-Slipstream’s HQ before the Tour



David Zabriskie’s time trial bike



Mark Cavendish on the Tour’s team time trial



David Brailsford interview



Mark Cavendish on the Tour



Jonathan Vaughters on Bradley Wiggins’ chances

TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 PHOTOS



Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage four TTT photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones



Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson



Team presentation by Andy Jones



Team presentation by Graham Watson

TOUR GUIDE

Tour de France 2009 – the hub

Tour de France 2009: Who’s riding

Tour de France 2009: Team guide

About the Tour de France

FEATURES

Tour de France 2009: Who will win?

Tour de France 2009 on TV: Eurosport and ITV4 schedules

Big names missing from 2009 Tour de France

Tour de France anti-doping measures explained

Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish

Cycling Weekly’s rider profiles

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  • Albert Gomperts

    Listening between the lines to Johan Bruyneel’s interview with VRT nieuws this evening makes me think that he expects Wiggins to give Contador some pretty stiff competition next week.