Tour De France 2012: Projecting Winner of Grueling Classic

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Tour De France 2012: Projecting Winner of Grueling Classic
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Wiggins, who currently leads the Tour De France, could become the first Brit to ever win the 99 year old race.

With three stages remaining in the 2012 Tour De France, Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins is clad in yellow. Spain’s Alejandro Valverde claimed victory in the 17th stage on Thursday in the mountains of Bagnères-De-Luchon.

But, Wiggins kept the lead with a third place finish in the 143.5 kilometer stage. The tacks that flatted the tires for 30 cyclists last Sunday in stage 14 may have been the only chance competitors had at catching Wiggins.

Wiggins looks certain to claim the Tour De France victory. According to an article in The Guardian, Wiggins said that the victory "looks certain." After the 17th stage, Wiggins told the Guardian, "It was the first time I thought, 'maybe I've won the Tour today."

If Wiggins were to win, he would be the first man from Great Britain to do so in the Tour De France's 99 year history, dating back to 1903. He held just a 10 second lead at stage seven, but since has increased his advantage to two minutes and five seconds over team Sky teammate Chris Froome. Italy's Vincenzo Nibali is now two minutes and 41 seconds behind Wiggins.

Wiggins maintained that the race was "pretty much over” with three stages remaining, according to the Associated Press.

2011 Tour De France champion Cadel Evans stands at sixth overall after gaining a minute over Spain's Haimer Zubeldia. The Australian trailed by 9:57 heading into the stage.

Friday's stage 18 will be a 222.5 km sprint on flat ground in Brive-la-Gaillarde. Saturday's Stage 19 will be a 53.5 km time trial before Sunday's 120 km sprint to the finish line in Paris.

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