Bradley Wiggins: What 2012 Tour De France Victory Means to the Sport

Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2012

PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 22:  Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling (C) hugs teammates after winning the general classification during the twentieth and final stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysees on July 22, 2012 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It's official.

With his 2012 Tour de France victory this morning, Bradley Higgins becomes the first British rider to win the event, according to NBC Sports.

Bradley's team, Team Sky, showed its support via Twitter after he and teammate Christopher Froome finished first and second:

Amazing scenes in Paris as @TeamSky take a 1-2 finish with Wiggins and Froome. Six stage wins, and our 40th victory this season!

— Team Sky (@TeamSky) July 22, 2012

Wiggins was the favorite heading into the competition. However, he faced some adversity before the race even started, including questions of Team Sky's unity and whether or not he could handle the mountains, according to the Boston Globe.

Clearly, Wiggins possessed the heart and the skill to win the historical race. But what's even better is that he apparently did it without using any performance-enhancing drugs, per the Associated Press (via ESPN):

If people want to see those incredible 220-kilometer lone breaks in the mountains, maybe it's not realistic anymore.

As wonderful and as magical as they were to watch, I remember watching as a kid in the 90s, Virenque and stuff, you know, but maybe the sport's changed now.

I think the Tour is a lot more human now with everything the UCI is doing.

His resume doesn't quite match that of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, but Higgins could be the savior that the sport of cycling needs after Armstrong's performances have been linked to doping.

According to ABC News, three men connected to Armstrong have received lifetime bans from the sport due to violating anti-doping rules.

So, what are we to believe?

Armstrong overcame testicular cancer and stole America's heart by dominating the sport of cycling for seven consecutive years. But he now has a dark shadow cast over him and could have his titles stripped from his grasp.

America's hero could very well turn out to be a liar, a fraud and a cheater.

Bradley Higgins may not be American, but at least he's honest and very well may have regained the respect of racing enthusiasts around the world.

 

You can find me on Twitter @Pete_Schauer