Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) ended the Tour de France fourth overall, 6-01 behind Alberto Contador and 37 seconds behind Lance Armstrong, equalling Robert Millar’s British record of fourth place in 1984.



Now, after all the pain of three weeks in the saddle and the mental pressure of always being a contender, Wiggins can finally sit back and celebrate his achievement. He probably does not know, but his life and career will probably never be the same.



“This last week has been a long old week and I’m pleased its done now,” Wiggins said just a few minutes after the stage ended in Paris.



“The last three weeks have changed everything for me. Obviously I really need to rethink about the next few years. And realistically, I think I can come back next year and try and get on the podium.”



“I’m not going to say I can win the Tour de France but to repeat this ride or get on the podium will be something.”



Spirit of Simpson

Wiggins rode the stage to the summit of Mont Ventoux with a photograph of Tom Simpson, who died on the climb, on his top tube. He is honoured to be regarded as a Tour contender like Simpson and says sealing fourth overall on Mont Ventoux was his best moment of the Tour.



“Equalling the great Robert Millar and surpassing the even greater Tom Simpson is pretty special. I do realise what I achieved because I’ve got a great deal of respect for the sport and for what people have done before me,” he told the BBC’s Phil Sheehan in Paris.



“The Tour de France is the biggest bike race in the world. Just to be part of it is fantastic. To do something in it is beyond words.”



“I think Monaco was a great result but people expected that. Andorra was the breakthrough stage and then Verbier was pretty special. But I think most of all sealing it on the Ventoux was the ultimate. This has been a pretty special Tour all round.”



Wiggins has no regrets about finishing fourth behind Contador, Andy Schleck and Armstrong.



“It’s no mean feat finishing behind the three guys on the podium. And I don’t mind admitting that they are much better bike riders than I am. I’m just pleased to be in their company,” he said.



“To be on the podium this year would have been a bit of a cheek. To finish fourth is quite nice. I’m there but not quite there and those guys deserve to be on the podium.”



As Tom Simpson would have perhaps said, a place in the 2010 Tour de France is something to aim for.

 Bradley Wiggins, Tour de France 2009, stage 21

TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 LINKS

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

STAGE REPORTS



Stage 21: Cavendish wins on Champs Elysees as Contador wins 2009 Tour



Stage 20: Contador’s Tour lead safe; Wiggins retains fourth overall on Ventoux



Stage 19: Five star Cavendish wins Tour stage in to Aubenas



Stage 18: Contador tightens grip on the maillot jaune



Stage 17: Schleck brothers overhaul Wiggins as Frank wins the stage



Stage 16: Astarloza snatches Alps stage win as contenders wind up the pace



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

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Garmin-Slipstream’s HQ before the Tour



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David Brailsford interview



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TOUR DE FRANCE 2009 PHOTOS



Stage
20 photo gallery by Graham Watson




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Stage 16 photo gallery by Graham Watson



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Stage four TTT photo gallery by Graham Watson



Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson



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Stage one photo gallery by Andy Jones



Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson



Team presentation by Andy Jones



Team presentation by Graham Watson

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