Brad Wiggins time trials to victory on the Col d’Eze (AFP/Getty Images)
Brad Wiggins wins Paris-Nice
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) secured overall victory at Paris-Nice by
winning the concluding time trial on the slopes of the Col d’Eze with a
performance that married power and poise. The Englishman relegated the
plucky Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) to second place on the day and
the second step of the podium to retain the yellow jersey by eight
Race favourite from the moment he mastered the wet conditions to
finish second in the short opening time trial last Sunday, Wiggins had
looked assured throughout his spell in the overall lead, but he was put
to the pin of his collar to ensure that his confident display over the
past week didn’t go unrewarded as Westra threatened to create a huge
upset on the outskirts of Nice.
The Dutchman started hard in a bid to put Wiggins under pressure, and led the Brit by 2 seconds at the 5.5km check. But then Wiggins used his experience and power to turn up the wick in the final 4km, reversing the deficit to Westra and winning the stage to boot.
“I had a fright, he won at Mende so I knew he had the legs,” Wiggins said of his dauphin after the finish.
Westra’s disappointment at coming so close to such a big win was
palpable, but he was gracious in his praise of Wiggins. “Bradley was
stronger today,” he said. “I was never as strong myself as this week,
and for me and the team it was a great week.”
Wiggins claimed the final yellow jersey in Paris-Nice
Tirreno-Adriatico 5: Nibali wins atop Prati di Tivo; Horner keeps lead
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) took the Tirreno-Adriatico
stage victory which had escaped him the previous day, winning the queen
stage of the race on the snow-covered Prati di Tivo in a solo effort.
Roman Kreuziger of Astana was second, with Christopher Horner
(RadioShack-Nissan) on his heels in third place successfully defending
his overall lead.