Wiggins secures Tour de France win

22nd July 2012

Just when you thought the British makeover of the Champs-Elysees was complete, Bradley Wiggins stepped up on to the podium to add a finishing touch that was all his own.

Grasping a microphone that had been thrust in his hand to replace the trophies which will for ever  proclaim him as winner of the Tour de France, the 32-year-old Londoner surveyed the faces — half a million of them — pressed towards him from every angle.

It seemed a daunting task to set a bike rider and Wiggins looked to be struggling for the words to express his joy and gratitude. He wasn’t.

We’re just going to draw the raffle numbers,’ he said with a face as straight as that which had betrayed no emotion to his rivals across the mountains and valleys of France over the past three weeks.

We could have been in a bingo hall in Wigan, near where Wiggins lives. Instead we were on the most exclusive avenue in the world witnessing history as Britain acclaimed its first winner of Le Tour in its 99-year history.

Roars of laughter broke out in pockets of the grandstands lining the cobbled avenue.

In other sections there was silence. Language was one barrier, humour a greater one.

Wiggins continued, warming to his audience.
‘Some dreams do come true. My old mother over there, her son’s just won the Tour de France.

‘Thank you, everyone. Cheers. Have a safe journey home and don’t get too drunk.’

And they say English comics don’t travel well.
It was an offbeat end to an afternoon without precedent.

Wiggins won the yellow jersey, Mark Cavendish crossed the line first, just as he had for the previous three years in Paris.

The Brits had conquered cycling and they had snaffled France’s jewel of a race.
The French Tricolore hung from the arms of every lamppost along the Champs-Elysees, but at ground level it was the Union Flag that was omnipresent.

That and the colour yellow.