News: Bradley Wiggins wins Critérium du Dauphiné

Bradley Wiggins with stands the attacks from his rivals to win the very prestigous stage race, Critérium du Dauphiné.

The 31-year-old rarely looked troubled on the category-one ascent and remained in an elite group of 13 riders as they passed under the flamme rouge. When Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) made his second-consecutive stage-winning move inside the final 500m, Wiggins simply pedalled on and crossed the line with his arms aloft in 10th position which ensured he took his triumph with a one minute and 26 second advantage over Cadel Evans (BMC).

The result capped off a fantastic performance from the team and ensured Wiggins will go into the Tour de France next month with his confidence sky high. The final day of action had taken place under clement conditions and Team Sky allowed 11 men to go up the road soon after they had exited Pontcharra. That group were almost five minutes ahead by the time they hit the Col du Glandon, but splintered quickly on the hors-category climb as Thibaut Pinot raced clear.

The FDJ man crested the summit on his own, and pressed on up the neighbouring Col de la Croix de Fer with a 55-second advantage. Wiggins meanwhile, was sitting pretty in an elite group of around 20 riders, with Rigoberto Urán also there for support. It was from that group that Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) attacked on the descent which followed, and the French champion pegged Pinot back with 28km to go.

Eight kilometres later, Voeckler pressed on alone and held a 45-second advantage as he began the final climb of the day. He would eventually be joined by Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and the plucky Pinot, but back in the chase group Urán produced a huge turn on the front to ensure their threat was annulled, and all the main contenders were back together as they pressed into the final kilometre. When Rodríguez kicked in the dying stages no-one could follow and the Spaniard sealed his second stage win with an eight-second margin over Pinot and Gesink.

Wiggins meanwhile was just three seconds further adrift and able to savour another memorable performance.

Sean Yates told the Team Sky website “This is the biggest win Team Sky have had so far, there’s no doubt about that. The Dauphiné is a massive race with a super-strong field and pretty much anyone who’s anyone was here apart from Alberto Contador and the Schlecks. It’s often described as a mini Tour de France and you cannot underestimate the quality of this result, and the team’s performance. It wasn’t just Bradley’s display I was happy with, but the way the team went about things, and how they handled all the situations that presented themselves. Bradley produced an absolutely phenomenal ride but he could not have done it without them. Everyone did a fantastic job.”

Wiggins meanwhile was understandably delighted with his achievement saying “We have a plan for the Tour de France and the Dauphiné was part of the plan. My condition is not 100% yet, I have my training programme and I can still improve. In terms of the Tour, I am just going to have to ride my race, not put myself in the red by trying to follow [Alberto] Contador and [Andy] Schleck. It’s clear that the podium is certainly a real possibility, but others like Juergen van den Broeck can also get there.”

Geraint Thomas – “Well what a great couple of weeks it been. Ok, my win (Bayern Rundfahrt) was good on a personal note, but winning the Dauphine with Brad today is as great a feeling! The team at the Dauphine was unbelievable, and I’m not just been biased, a lot of the guys said it. It is without doubt the best team I have ridden with! We were under a lot of pressure during the last 3 days. There was attack after attack, typical Tour de France racing but we coped really well. It was like going into battle, we all fought for each other, and obviously Brad finished it off a treat!

I can certainly say I was feeling the efforts from this week today though. I was on ‘early doors’ with Flecha. Which basically meant we had to ‘marshal’ the front of the peloton until the right break went clear. Then it was a case of just getting to the finish. Unfortunately I think we missed the time limit by about 20sec which is a bit of a disappointing way to finish but the end result was what it’s about!

I now have a bit of down time in my flat in Tuscany. Then the last block of training in the Alps at the end of the week. The teams moral is great at the moment, hopefully July will bring just as much success!”

Full Story on Team Sky Website:

Wiggins in Yellow after Time Trial