Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins' joy at leading tempered by caution

 

Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins says he is in a "fantastic position" after his impressive stage-nine time trial victory on Monday.

But Wiggins, who is aiming to become the first Briton to win the race, is wary of reigning champion Cadel Evans.

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I struggled a little bit when I took the [yellow] jersey. I didn't sleep very well that night. I allowed the emotion to slightly get to me

"It's a fantastic position to be in but I'm a human, not a machine, and there's always the possibility of a bad day or a crash," said Wiggins.

"Cadel is not going to give up before we get to Paris."

Team Sky rider Wiggins, 32, claimed his first stage victory of the Tour with his time trial success and, in the process, extended his overall lead over Australian Evans to one minute and 53 seconds.

Riding last on the 41.5km route from Arc et Senans to Besancon, Wiggins clocked 51 minutes 24 seconds to beat Team Sky team-mate and fellow Briton Chris Froome by 35 seconds.

Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara, who held the yellow jersey before Wiggins, was third, while Evans finished in sixth.

Froome is now third in the overall standings, two minutes and seven seconds adrift of the lead.

The riders have a rest day on Tuesday, when Wiggins intends to reflect on his performance so far.

The triple Olympic champion took the yellow jersey on Saturday on the Tour's first summit finish and held it for the next two days through Porrentruy on Sunday and then Monday's time trial.

Analysis

"Bradley Wiggins just kept going and he is great at time-trialling. He will have had all the information given to him and he had a perfect session. Cadel Evans had a poor start and tried to chip away at the deficit but never looked like recovering it."

"I struggled a little bit at that mountain summit the other day when I took the jersey," he said.

"I didn't sleep very well that night. I allowed the emotion of taking the jersey to slightly get to me. But that's what it's all about, that's why I do this sport, that's why I love it and that's why I train as hard as I do.

"Fortunately we've got a rest day, so a little bit more time to let it all sink in."

Evans is now only 14 seconds ahead of Froome, but the BMC Racing rider remains optimistic, with the Tour set to move into the high mountains before finishing in Paris on Sunday, 22 July.

"There's still a lot more racing to be done before Paris," he said.

Stage 10 on Wednesday covers 195km from Macon to Bellegarde-sur-Valserine and includes the Col du Grand Colombier. At 17.4km long, the hors categorie climb has an average gradient of 7.1% but peaks of 12%.