• Paris-Nice, Stage Eight

Wiggins grabs overall victory at Paris-Nice

ESPN staff
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Bradley Wiggins won the final stage © PA Photos
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Bradley Wiggins won the final stage to claim victory in the Paris-Nice on Sunday.

The Team Sky rider blitzed the 9.6km uphill time trial to become the first British winner of the race since Tom Simpson in 1967. He beat rival Lieuwe Westra by two seconds to extend his lead to eight in the overall classification, finishing one minute and 10 seconds ahead of third-placed Alejandro Valverde.

Victory represents arguably the biggest road race success of Wiggins' career, and it displayed his immense resolve as Westra came on strong. In a tight finale, Westra was two seconds faster than his rival at the 5.6km time check, finishing over 30 seconds quicker than anybody else in the field.

However, Wiggins was still to have his say, and he simply ate up the final two kilometres to edge the Vacansoleil-DCM rider by two seconds in a time of 19:12, winning the stage and the overall classification.

The Brit's success is just the latest step towards his goal of Tour de France glory later this year, which comes directly before the London 2012 Olympic Games, where Wiggins will want to add to his three gold medals.

His next appearance comes at the Volta a Catalunya, which begins on March 19.

"It was seriously hard but it was always going to be hard today, whether I was trying to get time back or protecting a lead," Wiggins commented. "I always said it was about me doing my ride, emptying it to the top which was always going to be horrible. It was a 19-minute effort and pacing wise we got it absolutely perfect.

"Then it just depended on what everyone else did and there was one guy in Westra who got very close but it's job done.

"It's massive to win this race. To follow in Tom Simpson's footsteps and become the second British rider to win Paris-Nice is something special. I'd probably say it's one of my biggest wins - as was the [Critérium du] Dauphiné - and to have both those on my palmares is a huge honour."

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