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 – the hub: Index to reports, photos, previews and more.


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


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


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


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 de France 2009 – the hub

Tour de France 2009: Who’s riding

Tour de France 2009: Team guide

About the Tour de France


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


Follow the Tour on Cycling Weekly’s Twitter feed


  • 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.