Wiggins pipped to prologue
Bradley Wiggins dreams of winning the yellow jersey on home soil were crushed on Saturday as Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara thundered to victory in the Tour de France prologue, writes Jonny Weeks. Wiggins, who grew up in Maida Vale
By Jonny Weeks
Bradley Wiggins' dreams of winning the yellow jersey on home soil were crushed on Saturday as Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara thundered to victory in the Tour de France prologue, writes Jonny Weeks.
Wiggins, who grew up in Maida Vale, finished 23 seconds off the pace in fourth place in front of a million-strong crowd of spectators. But the reigning world and Olympic track pursuit champion, who clocked 9mins 13secs for the 7.9km course, said: "I thought I'd really had the perfect race."
The winner, Fabian Cancellara, the reigning world time trial champion, was the only competitor from the 189-strong field to finish in under nine minutes. He beat Germany's Andreas Kloden by 13secs after clocking 8mins 50secs.
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Wiggins reacted with shock as Cancellara screamed across the finish line. "What's that, 23 seconds?" he asked his Cofidis staff as he was warming down from his ride. "Well, what can you do? It's not as if it was only one second. I gave it everything. I didn't brake at all throughout and I could not have gone any faster."
Wiggins, one of the pre-race favourites, said he was boosted by the sheer scale of support he and Scotsman David Millar enjoyed. "I said I wouldn't let the crowd get to me but once I was out there it was amazing and it gave me a real lift," he explained
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"The whole day had been unbelievable. I was going out to do everyone proud but I never expected it to be of this magnitude. What a fabulous start to the Tour. After last year when everyone was talking about doctors, what a fairytale to be in London with people talking about who was going to win. I hope it will give cycling in this county a lift but even if it doesn't what a fabulous weekend."
Wiggins went on to finish 86th in the first stage from Greenwich to Canterbury on Sunday, behind the winner Aussie Robbie McEwen, who recovered from a crash to sprint to victory. The Londoner was sixth