With the Tour de France winding down, Bradley Wiggins is inching closer to winning his first-ever title. However, it was fellow Team Sky teammate Mark Cavendish who took home the win on Friday’s Stage 18, finishing the 138-mile course in four hours, 54 minutes and 12 seconds.
The win was Cavendish’s 22nd, which ties him for fourth with Lance Armstrong on the all-time Tour de France win list.
In a rather flat stage, Cavendish showed off his mind-numbing speed to beat out Tasmania’s Matt Goss and Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who finished second and third, respectively. Wiggins finished 19th.
The story still revolves around Wiggins, who is two stages away from becoming the first British champion in the 99-year existence of the Tour de France.
His pack of Team Sky riders stayed together until the very end of the race, as Wiggins displayed a lack of urgency to win the event.
Why should he? With a two-minute and five-second lead, barring some sort of catastrophe, Wiggins is in the driver’s seat to win the tour.
Despite owning just one stage victory, he has executed his game plan to perfection, regardless of the weather or elevation of the course.
The 32-year-old Olympic star is incredibly close and, barring a complete collapse, will be giving Great Britain a shot of adrenaline with the London Olympics right around the corner.
|2||Christopher Froomer||+ 2:05|
|3||Vincenzo Nibali||+ 2:41|
|4||Jurgen Van Den Broeck||+ 5:53|
|5||Tejay Van Garderen||+ 8:30|
|6||Cadel Evans||+ 9:57|
|7||Haimar Zubeldia||+ 10:11|
|8||Pierre Rolland||+ 10:17|
|9||Janez Brajkovic||+ 11:00|
|10||Thibaut Pinot||+ 11:46|
There weren’t any major wrecks of note on Friday. Stage 18 took the riders from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde in the 138-mile race, with only four hills to conquer.
It was a relatively easy ride that didn’t provide a ton of noteworthy moments—just what the Sky Team wanted.
Stage 19 on Saturday is another race without many hills to conquer.
The 53.5-kilometer (33.2-mile) trek from Bonneval to Chartres features only a 171-meter (561-foot) hill to conquer. With all of the time trial specialists out of the running for first place in the overall standings, it should be a smooth ride to the finish line for the Sky Team.
As long as everything goes as planned, Saturday’s race will be a formality before Sunday’s 1-2 finish for the Sky Team, with Wiggins landing in first and Christopher Froomer right behind him in second.