Bradley Wiggins joins “a very special list” with 2nd Dauphine title

Sky captain remains focused on Tour, but savors 2nd Dauphine victory

CHÂTEL, France (VN) — Bradley Wiggins secured his second consecutive overall win in the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday. His Sky team delivered through the week and took three other top-10 spots as a result.

“I think we are getting better at it. This race has been a lot smoother than the others this season,” Wiggins said of defending the lead since the second day. “We have a full lineup, as well, that we didn’t have for the other races because everyone’s getting ready for the Tour now.”

Wiggins placed ahead of teammate Mick Rogers and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team). Chris Froome took fourth place and Richie Porte placed ninth. They helped him win his third overall this year, following Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie. He carried the race leader’s jersey for 18 days in all three races. The practice will pay off for the Tour de France, which starts June 30 in Liège, Belgium.

“We had all of our strong guys here,” said Wiggins. “Eddy’s [Edvald Boasson Hagen] back and made a huge difference this week. It’s getting easier each time, not in terms of the efforts, but staying cool at the right moments and knowing what to do and when to do it.”

Wiggins won Olympic gold medals on the track, but only really started to focus on racing for the classification after his fourth place in the 2009 Tour de France with Garmin. He switched to Sky, but struggled in 2010. Last year’s Dauphiné confirmed he was on the right track and, at the time, he called it the biggest win of his road career.

“I think it’s always harder to do it the second time. I think last year, I didn’t come into the race as the favorite. To do that this year, from day one as one of the favorites… That’s better, a harder way to win,” the 32-year-old Brit continued.

“This is all a road to winning the Tour, and that’s the goal. But at the same time, I have to stop and think, ‘You just won Paris-Nice, you just won Romandie or you just won the Dauphiné again.’ You have to take that in, otherwise they’re meaningless.

“I have enjoyed what I’ve done this year and it means a lot to me, regardless of what happens in the Tour. … Tonight and the next few days, just try to soak it in. I just won the Dauphiné for the second time. Not many riders who’ve done it. Just looking down the list of winners: Lance Armstrong, Miguel Indurain and three times, Bernard Hinault. You’re adding your name to a very special list. It’ll be there for your life. It’s great.”