• Tour de France, Stage 19

Masterful Wiggins set to be crowned champion

ESPN staff
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Bradley Wiggins destroyed the field in the individual time trial on Saturday © Getty Images
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Bradley Wiggins, barring a disaster, will head to Paris as the first Briton to win the Tour de France after a devastating performance saw him power to glory in the individual time-trial on the penultimate stage of this year's race.

The Team Sky Rider, who consolidated his grip on the yellow jersey with a strong showing in the final mountain trip on Thursday, won his second stage with a dominating ride in the 53.5km individual time-trial from Bonneval to Chartres.

Holding a comfortable lead of two minutes and five seconds over Sky team-mate Chris Froome at the start of Stage 19, Wiggins - whose best finish in the Tour to date is fourth - crossed the line in one hour, four minutes and 13 seconds, a massive 1:16 better off than second-placed Froome.

Wiggins' margin of victory means his advantage over fellow Brit Froome in the General Classification now stands at 3:21, with Italian Vincenzo Nibali sitting in third place, 6:19 behind leader Wiggins.

With the final stage effectively a procession to the finish on the Champs-Elysees, Wiggins will win the 99th edition of the race if he manages to avoid a crash in Sunday's 120-kilometre final stage.

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford lauded Wiggins' achievement, saying: "It is a very proud moment. Bar anything silly we can start thinking about winning this race now. This is a fantastic team and I am very proud right now.

"I would never have said we could do it if I didn't believe that. We had done our homework, we knew what Bradley was capable of and what the British team is capable of. Today is all about Bradley and what a fantastic champion."

Elsewhere, Cadel Evans' struggles continued, the defending champion finishing outside the top 50 to fall to seventh position in the overall standings.

Stage 19 result
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - 1:04:13
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling - 0:01:16
3 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team - 0:01:50
4 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-QuickStep - 0:02:02
5 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling - 0:02:25
6 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Argos - Shimano - 0:02:28
7 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team - 0:02:34
8 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team - 0:02:46
9 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne - 0:02:50
10 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat - 0:03:05

General Classification
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - 84:26:31
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling - 0:03:21
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:06:19
4 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team - 0:10:15
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team - 0:11:04
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan - 0:15:43
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team - 0:15:51
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar - 0:16:31
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team - 0:16:38
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat - 0:17:17

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