Tour de France stage 19 as it happened

Bradley Wiggins wins the individual time trial to all-but confirm that he will become the first British winner of the Tour de France.

21 July 2012 Last updated at 17:24

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As it happened

  1. 1700: 

    And that is where I am going to leave you all for today. Thanks for all the nerve-settling texts and tweets today. Think I may take Mrs Wiggo's advice when I get home later. I'll be back tomorrow though for the procession into Paris and to see Bradley Wiggins confirmed as the first British winner of the Tour de France. I'm reasonably confident you'll be joining me.

  2. 1658: 

    It's been an emotional day but I reckon there'll be lots more tears shed tomorrow when Bradley gets to Paris. He will be taking it extremely easy in the peloton but there's the small matter of a sprint finish on the Champs Elysees that will interest Mark Cavendish.

  3. 1656:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Overall top five after stage 19:

    1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky

    2. Christopher Froome (GB) Team Sky @ 3'21"

    3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas @ 6'19"

    4. Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol @ 10'15"

    5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC @ 11'04"

  4. 1654:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Huge cheers as Bradley Wiggins takes the top step of the podium in the tiny town of Chartres to accept a bunch of flowers for winning stage 19. And here he comes back again to get presented with the yellow jersey. Another bunch of flowers, another cuddly lion and he gives a huge wave to the largely British crowd.

  5. 1652: 

    Top five on stage 19:

    1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Team Sky 1:04'13"

    2. Christopher Froome (GB) Team Sky @ 1'16"

    3. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank @ 1'50"

    4. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma @ 2'02"

    5. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky @ 2'25"

  6. 1649: 

    BBC Sport's Chris Bevan on Twitter: "I went to launch of Team Sky in 2010 & thought "yeah, right" when Brailsford said aim was GB #TdF winner by 2015. He delivered!"

  7. 1647: 

    Martin from Toulouse, via text on 81111: "I'm in France and the TV presenter is wearing massive sideburns in deference to Sir Wiggo. He won this race on and off the road!"

  8. 1645:  
    Team Sky

    Team Sky head coach Dave Brailsford: "This shows why he is the leader of our team today. He smashed it. We can start thinking about winning this race now, barring accidents. A lot of people laughed when we said we could win this race in five years with a clean British rider. Today is all about Bradley and his achievement."

  9. 1643: 

    Bradley Wiggins's wife Cath Wiggins on Twitter: "Right everyone I am calling it. Operation drink as much champagne as you can. GO."

  10. 1641:  

    Wiggins covered the 53km course at an average speed of exactly 50km/h and his margin of victory means he leads Team Sky team-mate Froome by 3'21" overall with Nibali in third, 6'19" back.

  11. 1640: 

    Wiggins punches the air as he crosses the line, the emotion starting to pour out. "This is going to take some sinking in," says Simon Brotherton in the commentary box.

  12. 1638:  

    Wiggo's time? One hour, four minutes, 13 seconds - one minute, 16 seconds quicker than second-placed Chris Froome.

  13. 1637: 


  14. 1637:  
    Yellow Jersey

    There's only one man left on track. Here comes Wiggo. Union flags everywhere and he is going to smash everyone out of sight here. He's not letting up.

  15. 1636: 

    Nibali is hurting here, weaving across the road as he comes up a final little incline and towards the line and he is across the line but who cares what the time is because here comes Froomey. And he stops the clock in 1:05'29" - that cements second spot for the Brit

  16. 1634: 

    Tweeter Sagan on Twitter: "Why Mr Froome-dog not wait for Mr Twiglet? Spinning instructor Mr Brailsford whistle not working?"

  17. 1633: 

    Jurgen van den Broeck puts in a big effort up to the line and he's keeping fourth place. We've not seen much of Nibali during this stage but here is the Italian now, going under the Flamme Rouge - 1km to go.

  18. 1632: 

    Over-enthusiastic fans are encroaching onto the road as Wiggo comes through a 48km time check 75 seconds quicker than Froome, who in turn has gone quicker than Sanchez. We are heading for a 1-2 finish in the time trial and a 1-2 in the 2012 Tour de France.

  19. 1630:  
    White Jersey

    Here comes Tejay Van Garderen and he stops the clock at 1:06'47", fifth overall. And his BMC team-mate Evans is not too far behind, considering he was passed 20km back. Evans stops the clock at 1:10'06". His defence is over and I bet he's glad of that.

  20. 1627: 

    Rebecca Parr in Paris, via text on 81111: "Have just arrived in Paris today after cycling from London. Am so looking forward to seeing Le Tour tomorrow. Great stuff for all us Brits."

    Ken from London, via text on 81111: "I'm so used to rooting for the under-dog, it's a little unnerving to support the dominant team and rider. But I can get used to it! Allez Wiggo! Zoom Froome!"

  21. 1625: 

    We are watching Heimar Zubeldia of the RadioShack team come into the final kilometre and he has a wee wobble coming into a tight right-hander. The Spaniard started the day in seventh and he is over the line, tongue out, in 1:09'45" which means he is up to sixth.

  22. 1621: 

    Lots of riders streaming over the line, but if you'll forgive me, I'm not that interested in the lower placings. This is going to be a British one-two in the Tour de France. And Sam in Wolverhampton, Simon Brotherton on radio commentary confirms that there is a press conference this evening for the winner, proving that there will be no attacks on the road to Paris.

  23. 1618: 

    Andy, via text on 81111: "Have a swear, I'll pay your fines!"

  24. 1617: 

    Martin Peverley on Twitter: "If the wind picked up, someone should have told @bradwiggins 'cause it doesn't look like he cared. Burning it up!"

    Rob Terrace on Twitter: "This is getting slightly emotional. He's not winning, he's demolishing the field."

    Mark Payne on Twitter: "I think that puts the Froome/Wiggins debate to bed. Wiggo's dominating."

  25. 1614:  
    Yellow Jersey

    The official timing has come in and it's even better for Wiggo. He's 54 seconds clear of Froome, 58 ahead of Sanchez and getting on for two minutes quicker than Nibali.

  26. 1612:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Wiggins through that checkpoint in 36'41". Wow. Feels like a huge weight just dropped off my shoulders. Froome goes under the 20km to go banner and the British support on the roadside is going crazy. They could do with staying back off the tarmac though. "It seems like half of the British Isles has come across for this," says Simon Brotherton. "I think Paris is going to be unbeliveable tomorrow," adds Graham Jones.

  27. 1610:  

    Speak of the devil. Here comes Wiggo. And that is incredible. He is 53 seconds faster than Froome. That's 53 seconds quicker! If I could swear, I would.

  28. 1609: 

    Graham Jones says Bradley Wiggins will be averaging around 50kmp/h throughout this stage as Nibali goes through the 30km check at 38'42", 63 seconds behind Luis-Leon Sanchez. How is Froome doing, he whizzes through four seconds quicker than Sanchez in 37'35". Jones querying whether the wind may have picked up, we'll know in a few seconds when Wiggins comes through the check.

  29. 1606: 

    Mike from Beds, via text on 81111: "Can you pass my apologies onto Brad for yelling in his ear at Castelnau yesterday, my wife who was with tells me Wiggo shook on his bike!"

  30. 1603:  
    White Jersey

    And here comes the American, passing his leader as they go under the 20km to go banner. Evans has a quick look across and then it's head down and plough on. Cracking effort by Tejay, although Evans looks a shadow of the man who finished second on the equivalent stage last year.

  31. 1602: 

    Tejay looks like he's going to catch his team leader Cadel Evans here, although he has lost the three-second advantage he had over current leader Luis-Leon Sanchez, now trailing by 24 seconds. Tejay can see Evans.

  32. 1558: 
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    "Tejay Van Garderen could well be the next great American Tour prospect. He's going to finish fifth overall which is tremendous from the 23-year-old."

  33. 1556:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Wiggins has barely moved his position since leaving the start ramp. A quick slurp from his bidon and he is back into his familiar time trialling position. Hands on the aerobars, back nice and flat, streamlined as possible. Big crowds on the road to Chartres and plenty of Union flags being waved.

  34. 1553: 

    Bradley from Reading, via text on 81111: "How about 'Eton Cycles' or 'Tour the best thing'."

    Alex Gilmore on Twitter: "That is outragous. Does brad have a rocket on his bike? Come on Wiggo."

  35. 1551:  
    Yellow JerseyTHAT'S INCREDIBLE!

    Here comes Wiggins then. Froome was through in 17'01". Wiggo is 16'49". What was all the worrying about? "So far so good," says Simon Brotherton. "Still a long way to go," cautions Graham Jones.

  36. 1549: 

    Chris Froome is heading towards the first time check. Wearing number 105, the Kenyan-born Brit, who finished second, one place ahead of Wiggins on last year's Veulta a Espana, is rolling along nicely. And he's 23 seconds quicker than Tejay! "That's what we expected and expect it to change again when Wiggins goes through," says Graham Jones on commentary.

  37. 1546:  
    Polkadot Jersey

    The noise levels rise as Thomas Voeckler comes into view of the finish. The King of the Mountains is not really pushing here though, more of a leisurely day-off style ride for the Frenchman. A time of 1:13'46" for Tommy. Nibali is six seconds down on Van Garderen at the 14km check - 17'30" for the Italian.

  38. 1544: 

    Team Sky's "A 53.5km long TT with headwind is no fun! I had a good start, but the last 15k's I stood still! You have to be a masochist to enjoy TT's!"

  39. 1541:  
    White Jersey

    Evans struggling a bit here. The Australian is 55th fastest through the first checkpoint, some 70 seconds behind Luis-Leon Sanchez's time. And Evans's team-mate Tejay Van Garderen is eating up the three minutes between himself and his team leader. The American is fastest through the 14km check and has closed more than one minute on Evans.

  40. 1538: 

    Palaver on Twitter: "We could ask Jay-Z & Kanye to do Wiggo's In Paris."

    Richard from Castleford, via text on 81111: "10 seats left on the Eurostar at 9:30am Sunday if anyone wants to join me for croissants and champagne in Paris to see the man with the best "burns" in biking cross the line!"

    Harry from London, via text on 81111: "How about cyndi lauper releasing 'time trial after time trial' in honour of brad's one (cautiously hoping for 2) wins this Tour?"

  41. 1535:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Wiggins quickly into his rhythm. He finished fourth in 2009, 24th in 2010 and broke his collarbone during last year's race. One year on and he's on the verge of something massive here.

  42. 1533:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Here comes Bradley Wiggins. He locks his feet into his pedals. Plaster across the bridge of his nose. Yellow skinsuit, yellow helmet, black overshoes, black gloves. British flags everywhere on the street and he's off. Go on Brad.

  43. 1530: 

    Here goes Chris Froome. Nibali already three minutes up the road. "We're going to see a good performance from Chris," says Graham Jones on BBC Radio 5 live. "He rode a good time trial earlier in the race in Besancon but I think this stage is a bit flatter and better suited to Bradley."

  44. 1527: 

    Pete Davies on Twitter: "I always think of Prefab Sprout's 'Cars n Girls' as 'Bars n gels' when going long on the bike."

    Jason in Dunfermline, via text on 81111: "How about The Jam releasing 'First down the Champs Elysees on Sunday' to replace Tube Station @ Midnight."

  45. 1525: 

    Jurgen van den Broeck is away so just three riders left to go then. Nibali, Froome and then Wiggins. The nerves are returning.

  46. 1524: 
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    "I'd be amazed if Wiggins doesn't win this time trial and quite surprised if there's not a significant gap between him and the rider in second, who I expect to be Chris Froome."

  47. 1523:  
    White Jersey

    Tejay Van Garderen of BMC is next out. He is wearing the white jersey as the best young rider in the race. He tried to pace team-mate Evans through the mountains but kept leaving his team leader.

  48. 1521: 

    Cadel Evans is off and away. He has lost three seconds short of 10 minutes to Bradley Wiggins over the last three weeks. The Australian has just not had the legs in the mountains this year. At the other end of the course, his compatriot, Team Sky's Richie Porte puts in a big effort at the finish and he is moving into second. 1:06'38" for the Tasmanian.

  49. 1517: 

    BBC 5 live sports extra's internet-only coverage is live on the BBC Sport website. David Millar is calling this week "momentous" in an interview with Peter Slater.

  50. 1516: 

    Defending champion Cadel Evans is having a few words with his young BMC Racing protege Tejay Van Garderen. There were accusations that Tejay failed to wait for Cadel when the Australian punctured at the top of the Mur de Peguere on stage 14. The pair seem on friendly terms today though. Evans is next out.

  51. 1513: 

    From Stephen Rush, in Kaliva Pub, Tsivilis, Zakinthos, Greece, via text on 81111: "Finally found somewhere showing the TT amongst all the football, cricket, GP and golf. Getting odd looks from sunburned gentlemen with "West Ham - Pride Of England" tattoos and pints of Mythos. Say it quietly - Go Brad."

    Luke from London, via text on 81111: "How do you convince your girlfriend that spending £600+ to go to Paris tomorrow, is not only a sensible use of money but is in fact an essential of life? Luke from London.

    Fergus from Cumbria, via text on 81111: "Making burgers while I watch the time trial. If Wiggo wins I'm blaming the tears on the onions I'm chopping."

    Fergus, it's the 21st Century, men are allowed to cry. I know I'm going to struggle to see my screen in 90 minutes or so.

  52. 1509: 

    Bradley Wiggins on Twitter: "Present from Mr Cavendish, gonna warm up in today."

  53. 1507:  
    Green Jersey

    Here comes Peter Sagan in a very respectable 1:09'47". Look out for the green jersey on the Champs Elysees on Sunday. He will be wanting to break Cavendish's unbeaten run in Paris.

  54. 1502:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Here's Brad. Headphones on, head down. Little yellow flashes on his bike. Wonder what he's listening to. He dared to dream and you know what? Dreams can come true...I know, shocking. You can better that.

  55. 1500: 

    Rick on Twitter: "Little did I think when I watched my first Tour De France that 20 years later that we would actually have a British winner."

    Andy Price on Twitter: "Hope for a public celebration next week for Brad. Austin held 'paint the town yellow' for Lance Armstrong. Monday or Tues in London?"

  56. 1459: 

    RadioShack's Chris Horner the latest down the ramp and we have just 12 riders left to start. Vincenzo Nibali is on the rollers getting his legs going. The Italian goes out at 1527, three minutes before Froome, who is also furiously pedalling away. No sign of Wiggo yet.

  57. 1457: 

    Steve Walker on Twitter: "Can someone get Paul Weller to re-write a town called Paris?"

    While we wait for Wiggo to get going at 1533, hit me with more tunes to help further brighten our day... Tweet #bbccyling or text 81111.

  58. 1453: 

    The etiquette of the race is that nobody attacks the yellow jersey on the final stage into Paris. I would imagine if someone was within a couple of seconds of Wiggins then it may happen, but the reality is Wiggo could have a lead of several minutes, especially if he wins today's time trial. And even if somebody wanted to try and attack tomorrow, the stage is relatively short at only 120km and Team Sky would not allow a potential winner, like Nibali to ride away from the peloton. The only thing that can stop Wiggo winning is if he falls off his bike and is unable to complete the race. Hope that explains it!

  59. 1451: 

    Greg Ashmore in sunny Ireland, via text on 81111: "Was excited when my girlfriend told me we were flying an hour away for the W/e as a surprise.... Me thinking I'd be cheering on wiggo tomorrow... No. I'm in Dublin drinking Guinness instead! Still Could be worse!"

    Sam from Wolverhampton, via text on 81111: "Am I missing something or is everybody conveniently overlooking the fact that we still have a stage left tomorrow when they're declaring that in two hours we could have a British winner?"

    Answer in a moment Sam.

  60. 1449: 

    Here comes Edvald. Boasson Hagen can time trial better than this as he comes in at 1:12'10" but the Norwegian is conserving energy - he will be heavily involved in Sunday's bunch sprint on the Champs Elysees, trying to deliver Mark Cavendish to the line for a fourth successive victory in Paris.

  61. 1445: 

    Tom from Torquay, via text on 81111: "One thing that seems to have been overlooked so far is that this year, Wiggins could win le Tour and an Olympic gold within the space of a few weeks, as well as helping Cav to win the road race, has to be one of our greatest ever sportsmen."

  62. 1442: 

    Here comes Voigt, mouth agape, gulping in as much air as his lungs can take as he powers over the line in 1:08'02". Top 12 for the veteran German, who is famed for shouting at his legs and telling them to shut up. He will drop down a bit because there are around 20 riders still to get out on the road.

  63. 1438:  
    Yellow Jersey

    In two hours, we will know whether Bradley Wiggins is going to be the first Briton to win the Tour de France. He heads off down the ramp in 55 minutes. Of course he has Sunday's procession into Paris to negotiate but that is a mere formality. The big question now is by how much will he win by? Or am I getting carried away?!

  64. 1434: 

    Phil from Wirral, via text on 81111: "re Stuart - really? The guy's dominated all year and earned the right to be team leader, add that to his achievements through the year on the track, the whole Wiggo v Froome debate is getting tiresome!"

    William, fed up with the Wiggo doubters, via text on 81111: "Think its ridiculous that people are questioning whether Froome could beat Wiggo. At no point would Froome have been able to put a big enough time gap on diesel-powered Wiggo in the mountains. On the TTs Wiggo has proved he is superior. Will put another 40 seconds into Froome and the field today!"

    Richard from London, via text on 81111: "Ok, if Wiggo nails it, I, for the first time, will take the trackies off and expose the lycra shorts and scrawny white legs to my fellow bike commuters. They should be very afraid, but very very happy."

  65. 1430:  
    Polkadot JerseyCHAMPAGNE MOMENT

    The noise levels go up a few decibels as Tommy Voeckler, looking terrific in the red and white polka dot jersey, gets ready for the off. People are clapping, chanting his name and he gives them all a little wave before he gets going.

  66. 1427: 

    Jon "At the cricket - wondering where the nearest TV is. The Sky Team here are taking on fluids! Go Wiggo."

  67. 1424: 

    Out on the road, we have Ireland's Dan Martin, Team Sky's Richie Porte of Australia and Astana's Fredrik Kessiakoff, the man who held the King of the Mountains jersey for several days until French favourite Tommy Voeckler too it off him.

  68. 1419: 

    Here comes Sanchez up to the line and he stops the clock at 1:06'03". Super ride from the man who won last Sunday's 14th stage into Foix which was sabotaged by carpet tacks on the final climb. Remember the name too. You will be seeing more of him in the Olympic time trial on Wednesday, 1 August.

  69. 1416: 

    Cerys Reece "Sat in the hairdressers keeping up with the live text. Nervous for Wiggins already! What a week this could be for him and Cav."

    Howard Bates, via text on 81111: "'ere Wiggo, 'ere Wiggo, 'ere Wiggo ..., 'ere Wiggo, 'ere Wiggo, 'ere Wiggo-oh. Anorak is already on. (I paid to send this - doh!)"

    Stuart in Bromborough, via text on 81111: "As thrilled as I am that Brad is going to win this thing, especially given the impact it will hopefully have on the sport in general, it is hard to argue that Wiggo is out greatest ever sportsman when he's almost certainly not even the best cyclist in his own team. That doesn't stop me having the utmost respect for him though."

  70. 1412: 

    Rabobank's Luis-Leon Sanchez could well be setting the fastest time on the road. The Spanish time trial champion is quickest through the 30.5km checkpoint, 16 seconds faster than current leader Patrick Gretsch.

  71. 1407: 

    Team Sky's Mark Cavendish on Twitter: "3 muscles make up the buttocks: Gluteus minimus, gluteus medius & gluteus maximus. After today's TT, I have none. Ripped them to shreds."

  72. 1406: 

    Alex in Yellow, via text on 81111: "What time can we expect Brad to complete the course in today? Will I see him win the TdF before my driving lesson at 1630?!"

    Think you may either have to miss the last couple of minutes of Brad, or keep your instructor waiting. Know what I'd be doing.

  73. 1401:  
    Green Jersey

    Peter Sagan, the man who has won the green points jersey is on the course. The Slovakian has been one of the leading lights of this year's race with three stage wins. He is closely followed by Belgium's Philippe Gilbert.

  74. 1352: 

    Ollie, at Heathrow, via text on 81111: "Wish I could understand the chess moves of it all - seems to come down to 1 early race. But been riveting, and looking forward to French coverage of Wiggo and Cav on Champs Elysee tomorrow when I get to France."

    Andrew Blain from St Albans, via text on 81111: "Off to Paris on my own on the first Eurostar tomorrow morning. I suspect i won't be the only one. Can't wait! Allez Bradley! Chapeau that man!"

  75. 1350: 

    Blimey, that was just as terrific as first time round. Great to see Wiggo doing his bit in leading out Cav and the pace he generated was phenomenal. He left Matt Goss and Peter Sagan for dead.

  76. 1347: 

    Here goes Jens Voigt. The German may be the oldest man in the race at the age of 40 but he has belied those years with a sterling performance. He has been involved in plenty of breakaways and what are the odds on him returning for another crack next year?

  77. 1344: 

    While I wait for live television pictures of today's racing, it would be wrong of me not to take a sneaky peak at the highlights from yesterday. That was some finish by Cavendish. The chances of a hat-trick of stage wins to round off this wonderful Tour are firmly in sight.

  78. 1342: 

    Scott Carson on Twitter: "Just back from morning cycle around Mont Ventoux area and getting ready to cheer on Wiggo!"

    Tom Lakeman on Twitter: "Sitting in Gatwick, will be flying as Wiggo flys around the course. This would be up there with '66 for sporting achievements."

    Mark Melody on Twitter: "Where am I? Having a beer in Chartres by the final bend! Pleased with my caravan haul to boot!"

    Hari Lehal on Twitter: "I'm in Paris, not sure whether or not to get up at dawn to get a place on the Champs Elysees though!"

  79. 1339: 

    Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen is the latest man down the ramp. The Norwegian road race champion has been a mighty force this last three weeks, putting in huge turns on the front of the peloton as Team Sky fought to boss the race. He's a decent time triallist too.

  80. 1335: 

    Ryan at Cineworld, via text on 81111: "Currently waiting in Stevenage to go and see the 2pm showing of batman. Its a 165-minute show and I won't be out till quarter to 5 and I am hoping I won't be seeing Wiggo still cycling when I do!"

    Wiggers, in Harefield Hospital, via text on 81111: "Wrt Neil in Brockworth; Wiggo has made history and Le Tour is an undeniably brutal, sustained physical ordeal but surely, Sir Steve pips the lot with 5 golds over 5 Olympiads?"

  81. 1332: 

    Three of the five Brits safely home then. A touch under two hours until Froome heads down the ramp, closely followed by Wiggins. There will also be live radio commentary on the BBC Sport website from 1515. Simon Brotherton and Graham Jones will take you through the closing stages. I'll give you a nudge when we get a little closer.

  82. 1330: 
    Graham Jones, Radio 5 live sports extra co-commentator

    On Twitter: "Let's not forget the other Brit!! Not easy to finish this thing. He fell heavily on Thursday well done Steve Cummings!!"

    The BMC Racing rider finishes in a time of 1:12'04", a little over five minutes behind Patrick Gretsch who continues to lead the way.

  83. 1327: 

    It would appear as though the bet between David Millar and David Zabriskie has been made public. The Brit tweets: "I am an inferior time triallist to @dzabriskie. Much inferior."

  84. 1325: 

    So, where are you this afternoon and how are you preparing to celebrate? Anybody stuck in a queue at Dover trying to get a ferry across the English Channel? Who's piling over to Paris on the Eurostar? Or are you just enjoying the first rays of sunshine to hit our little island in what feels like months? Harvey the Rabbit is gearing up on Twitter. Text me on 81111 or Tweet #bbccycling

  85. 1320: 

    Gaz, the former 39 stone cyclist from Manchester, via text on 81111: "Come on Wiggo, keep inspiring me and the nation & nail it."

    Stuart from Swindon, via text on 81111: "I am an absolute nervous wreck at the moment, under 4 hours to what i can only describe as this generation's 66 sporting moment."

  86. 1317: 

    A total of 90 riders have gone down the start ramp so far, just the 63 to go. Wiggins out in two hours, 16 minutes at 1533. Froome starts three minutes earlier. Wiggo can't catch his fellow Brit can he?

  87. 1316: 

    Neil in Brockworth, via text on 81111: "I'm arguing at work that Wiggo is our greatest ever sportsman. 4k pursuit is fundamentally a test of anaerobic capacity and the TDF is the greatest test of endurance there is. It's like being the best at the 400m and the marathon in the same career."

  88. 1314: 

    Garmin's David Zabriskie is second fastest round the 53.5km course in 1:07'25". The American had a wee bet with his British team-mate David Millar over who would be the quickest. Millar stopped the clock at 1:10'35". Bragging rights across the pond then.

  89. 1306: 

    Matt Dixon from Cheshire, via text on 81111: "Cav started at 1111 and finished in a time of 1hr 11mins 11seconds! He likes 1's and will be looking for another 1 next to his name on the Champs Elysees!"

  90. 1304:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Anybody else doubting Wiggo's ability to wrap this up? Here's a stat provided by the official Tour de France website that could assuage your fears. The top five in this year's race all rode in the Criterium du Dauphine earlier in the year, which Wiggins won. Here's how they fared in the race's time trial, which was over the same distance as today:

    1. Bradley Wiggins - 1st

    2. Christopher Froome - 7th at 1'44"

    3. Vincenzo Nibali - 24th at 3'39"

    4. Jurgen van den Broeck - 11th at 2'12"

    5. Tejay van Garderen - 18th at 3'03"

  91. 1300: 

    Out on the road, Germay's Patrick Gretsch has posted the time to beat. The Argos Shimano rider, a time trial specialist who finished seventh in the Tour-opening prologue and jumped fro 107th to 46th overall after the stage nine TT, is home in 1hr 6'41", 55 seconds quicker than the next best man.

  92. 1256: 

    There are a group of men at the England v South Africa Test match today dressed in cycling gear. One in yellow, the rest his domestiques. Hope he's getting the same level of service that the Team Sky boys have delivered to Wiggins this year.

  93. 1252: 

    Keith on Twitter: "Wiggins won't be able to light the Olympic flame, he's in the road race the next day so it'll be past his bedtime ;)"

    Ian McCormack on Twitter: "I honestly feel like a child counting down the sleeps until Santa comes. 3 hours until Wiggo sets off, 4 hours until TdF winner?"

    Robert Smith on Twitter: "Wiggo and Team Sky have single-handedly converted me into a massive #TdF fan. Sport at its very best."

  94. 1249: 

    Wiggins won the previous individual time trial in the 2012 race, stage nine's 41.5km ride to Besancon. It was his first stage victory in the race and cemented his place in the yellow jersey. Wiggo completed that course in 51 minutes, 24 seconds, beating runner-up Froome by 35 seconds. He also crushed Switzerland's former world and reigning Olympic time trial champion Fabian Cancellara by almost one minute. Current world time trial champion, Germany's Tony Martin abandoned the Tour with an injury, so, in theory, Wiggins has a better chance of winning again today.

  95. 1239: 

    Today's 53.5km course is about as flat as any possibly could be. No hills of note, so it's a case of head down and pedal for all you're worth. The individual time trial is not called the "Race of Truth" for nothing. There are a couple of intermediate time checkpoints so we can get a decent idea of how the riders are going along. The first is 14km in at Mezieres-au-Perche, the second at 30.5k in Bailleau-le-Pin.

  96. 1234: 

    Adam Stubbings on Twitter: "As big as '66? Wiggo winning this Tour would be the single biggest achievement in sport for Britain if you ask me."

    You're in good company with that thought Adam. Sir Chris Hoy is in complete agreement.

  97. 1233: 

    Former Premier League footballer Mark Bright on Twitter: "Solution! Bradley Wiggins should light the Olympic flame if he wins the Tour de France, because he will have achieved something exclusive!"

  98. 1232: 

    The early starters are beginning to cross the line. Jimmy Engoulvent home in one hour, 12minutes, 49 seconds. Team Sky's Bernie Eisel, the man who shepherded Cav through the mountains, clocked 1hr10'32" while Cavendish's work for the day is also done - 1hr, 11'11" for the Manxman.

  99. 1229: 

    Dave Clasby, via text on 81111: "Nervous as hell on a train to Manchester. Won't relax till Wiggo and Froome cross the line. This will cement cycling into public thinking and maybe now be taken more seriously. What I hope now is that it will see a huge increase in all cycling especially everyday utility cycling. Allez Wiggo, vroom Froome, Cav can can."

    Ken from London, via text on 81111: "We're told the French have taken to Brad Wiggins for his respect for the classics of the sport and his gentlemanly ways. So you would expect respect from today's crowd. But Cav 142 of 153 in the GC?!? That's a lot left in his legs for Box Hill!"

  100. 1224: 

    Here are the exact start times of the five British riders. Three are already off and pedalling. Team Sky's Cavendish went out at 1111, Garmin's David Millar at 1154 and BMC Racing's Steve Cummings at 1212. Bit of a gap to the last two and that's because they are second and first in the overall standings. Froome sets off 15.30 and Wiggins last man off at 15.33. The first 44 riders set off at one-minute intervals, then it's two-minute gaps until the leading 14 and they go out three minutes apart.

  101. 1217: 

    Kanable Booth on Twitter: "If Wiggins pulls this off, for me this is as big as England's World Cup win in 1966."

  102. 1216: 

    The time trial is already under way - it started at 1100 BST, but fear ye not, they go in reverse order so the Lanterne Rouge - France's Jimmy Engoulvent of Saur Sojasun - is first out. He starts the final stage three hours, 49 minutes and nine seconds behind Wiggins. The riders depart at one minute intervals so Team Sky sprint King Mark Cavendish, who is 142nd out of the 153 riders remaining in the race is also on the road

  103. 1208: 

    I can't help but confess that I've got a few butterflies kicking me in the guts right now. All logic says this should be a weekend to savour but it only takes one bad corner, or a carpet tack or two on the road and it's game over. How you all feeling? Reassure me #bbccycling or by texting on 81111. Please put Cycling at the front of your message and your name on it. There's a wee bit of other sport going on this weekend and I'd hate your message to get lost

  104. 1205:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Wiggins holds a comfortable lead of two minutes and five seconds over Team Sky team-mate and fellow Brit Chris Froome. Italian Vincenzo Nibali is third, a further 36 seconds adrift. Neither of them are as good against the clock as Wiggo, so today should be a formality, right?

  105. 1203:  

    Hello and welcome to the penultimate stage of the 2012 Tour de France. Today we are in central France for a 53.5km individual time trial from Bonneval to Chartres with Bradley Wiggins looking set to seal his place in sporting history as the first Briton to win the overall race.

  106. 1200:  
    Yellow Jersey

    Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins: "It's been humbling really. I'm just a fan of the sport. It's nice that something like this can inspire so many people. I was inspired watching Chris Boardman at the Olympics [in 1992]. Our exploits over the last month maybe will inspire some people. It's a nice feeling to have some part in that."