Wiggins first Briton to win Tour de France | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.07.2012
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Wiggins first Briton to win Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins has won the 99th Tour de France, making him the first Briton to win the most prestigious cycling race in the world. Teammate Mark Cavendish won the final stage.

The 32-year-old Wiggins, who had practically sealed his victory a day earlier by winning the final time trial, is the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

The Londoner, who had been wearing the yellow jersey since stage seven, secured the overall win with a three-minute, 21-second lead over British teammate Chris Froome.

"There is nothing bigger than that. They were crazy weeks and a few dreams became reality. I am just overjoyed," Wiggins said after the race.

"The whole country wants to say well done, brilliant, the perfect backdrop and start to the Olympics," British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

At the age of 18, Wiggins became a junior world champion and just two years later won the first of his six Olympic medals - three of which are gold - at the Sydney Games in 2000.

But his first Tour de France in 2006 went far from well as he finished 124th overall and complained that "it is too hard."

Another teammate, Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man, won the 120-kilometer (74.6 miles) final stage of the race, which traditionally finishes on Paris' famous Champs-Elysees, for the fourth consecutive year, taking his tally of stage wins from this year's race to three and to 23 Tour stage wins overall.

France's Thomas Voeckler claimed the polka dot jersey for the best climber, and Slovak Peter Sagan snatched the green jersey for the points classification.

The US cyclist Tejay van Garderen took fifth place and the white jersey for the best under-25 rider.

This year's race had one of the highest drop-out rates in recent years, with only 153 out of 198 riders completing the 3,497-kilometer Tour de France.

ng/tm (Reuters, AFP, SID)