Thursday July 19th, 2012

Stage 17Bagnères-de-Luchon / Peyragudes

Start 13h00 GMT 2+

Wiggins: I allowed myself to think that I've won the Tour

interview19.07.2012Stage 17- Bagnères-de-Luchon / Peyragudes

The race leader had to manage the enthusiasm of a team-mate who believed it might have been possible to win the stage. But Brad Wiggins admitted after the 17th stage that he allowed his mind to wander and that he lost some concentration. He finished third in the stage, one place behind a phenomenal domestique, Chris Froome, who the rider in the yellow believes will one day win the Tour de France.

“We were talking about Nibali [in the last few kilometres] because we knew he was on his limit. Chris said he wanted to go for the stage and I said, ‘Yeah... ah... pff'. You know. I wasn't too sure on the time gap at that point but from the moment I crossed the Peyresourde [1.5km from the finish] I allowed myself to drift; at that point it was the first time I allowed myself to think that I've won the Tour. All the way up the last bit my concentration had gone. Everything about performance had gone and Chris was egging me on to take time and, ah, I was just in another world really.
“Today it was more a case of everyone faltering around us and us just continuing what we were doing. That's very much how it was today as opposed to yesterday when we were taking on the attacks of Nibali and all that...
“Once we saw that Nibali had cracked at the top of the Peyresourde, we knew we didn't have the danger of him attacking in the final so it was at that point that I knew it was pretty much over.
“We rode away from the rest of the field and I lost concentration. I was thinking of lots of different things at that time. Chris wanted more but the fight had gone from me at that point.
“The nature of the Tour is that people fall by the wayside as the race goes on. That's the affect of the length of the race and how hard it is; it's the nature of the Tour de France. I said at the start in Liège that it's about being good for 21 days and never really having any super days or any bad days. I think we saw that today: Nibali was super strong yesterday and perhaps didn't back it up today. It's about consistency really.
“It was an ideal situation. As soon as we went of the Peyresourde, I knew that that was the climbing done, really. It was an incredible feeling because that's where everyone said that I was at my weakest – in the mountains – so it was good to go over the last summit. All the way up the last climb I almost had tears in my eyes. It's a really nice feeling.
“Chris was super strong again today. He's super excited. He's been a fantastic team-mate during this Tour de France. For sure, one day, he'll win the Tour and I'll be there beside him to do it.”

Stage 17 Bagnères-de-Luchon / Bagnères-de-Luchon

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the prologue

Classifications after the prologue

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