Tour De France 2012: Bradley Wiggins Will Cruise to First Title in Marquee Event

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2012

BRIVE-LA-GAILLARDE, FRANCE - JULY 20:  Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain riding for Sky Procycling rides in the peloton as he defends the race leader's yellow jersey during stage eighteen of the 2012 Tour de France from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde on July 20, 2012 in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It's tough to say what has been tougher for Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins: building a lead or maintaining it with the best cyclists in the world making one final push to catch him. Either way, he's in prime position to win the sport's biggest race.

Wiggins currently holds a lead of just over two minutes over fellow Great Britain rider Chris Froome with just two stages left. The final stage shouldn't play a major role in the outcome as long as Wiggins avoids disaster.

That means the last true test of the Tour will likely come on Saturday in the time trial. Another strong performance should allow him to play it safe on the final day before arriving in Paris to secure the title he has been chasing since June 30.

Although Wiggins hasn't dominated the competition, his consistent results and lack of mistakes have allowed him to pull away from the field. He has just one stage victory, which came on July 9, but otherwise has just made sure to play it smart.

And that's exactly what it takes to win. It didn't matter if it was a flat stage or one through the mountains, he has time and again done enough to make sure he stayed in the yellow jersey. It's something that had to leave his closest competitors frustrated.

Wiggins would be the first British rider to win the event, which began all the way back in 1903. It seems like that drought will finally come to an end.

It will not be the first time Wiggins has won on a big stage, though. The 32-year-old Team Sky member was previously an Olympic star, so it's somewhat fitting that his Tour triumph would come in the year when the Games are being held in London.

Wiggins has a total of six medals from competing in the last three Olympics dating back to 2000. He's tallied three golds, two silvers and a bronze. So he should know all about having to finish the deal, and that experience will help him on Saturday.

All told, it would be an enormous surprise if somebody other than him walks away as the Tour de France champion. Nearly all of the hard work has been finished, now he just has to putting the finishing touches on his first title in the yearly event.

He has what it takes to finish the job.