FINALLY, after 109 years of Le Tour de France we have a British winner of this years's 99th Tour, and a great bloke into the bargain. Bradley Wiggins, born in Ghent, Belgium to an Australian cyclist dad Gary Wiggins and an English mom, has realized his, and our nation's dreams, as the 32 year old cruised to victory with a yellow jersey, yellow helmet, yellow bike and yellow saddle.
With so many British fans booking last minute flights and train tickets, his wife Cath and son could not find space, so her husband chartered a private plane to Paris from their home in Lancashire.
The French sports daily L'Equipe ran the headline "A L'Heure Anglaise" -On English Time. The French public took him to their hearts because he speaks to them in fluent French .
Second came Chris Frome, a loyal Team Skye mate who might be a future winner and the race down the Champs Elysees was won by the Best Sprinter in the World and holder of the rainbow jersey Mark Cavendish from the Isle of Man. Not much time for celebration and champagne. They flew the same evening back home to join their Great Britain team mates in Newport in preparation for their quest for gold.
'Wiggo' holds 6 Olympic medals, including 3 gold, and this Saturday they take on the world in the 250 km road race on The Mall, before the time trials 4 days later. His winning time of 87 hours 34 minutes and 47 seconds put him 3 min 21 second ahead of Froome over the 2,173 miles(3,497 km). The 25 mountain ascents and descents in the Alps and Pyrenees with over 21,000 metres of climbing, was like scaling Mount Everest three times.
19 years ago on 25th July 1993 his family took him to Paris and he stood on the Champs Elysees watching his hero Miguel Indurain win his third tour in a row. After yesterday's victory he rode alongside his 7 year old son Ben, also on a yellow, but smaller bike. His parents split when he was two years old and his mom took him to Kilburn, London and she remarried. today he lives in Eccleston, Lancashire, not too far from the Manchester Velodrome, headquarters of British Cycling and Team Sky.
The very first sports magazine that I purchased, in a little newsagents shop in Buxton, Derbyshire in the 1950's, was the first issue of 'World Sports' and on the cover was my hero at the time, Reginald 'Reg' Harris, who had won medals at the Olympics and became World Champion on the track and a nation's idol.
Our most tragic world class cyclist was Tommy Simpson, of which much has been written. He died of exhaustion on Mont Ventoux in 1967 pumped full of amphetamines. Fans built a memorial to him on the mountain which is visited and kept neat by race fans to this day.
In recent years we have seen British stars reap Olympic rewards at Olympic Games such as Sir Chris Hoy, and Victoria Pendleton and under the inspiration and leadership of guru Dave Brailsford, the sport has been a model for science, money well spent, and success.