Bradley Wiggins becomes the first Briton to win Tour de France

Updated: Jul 23, 2012, 09:52 AM IST

Paris: Twenty-three years ago, Bradley Wiggins marveled as Greg LeMond blazed a trail as America`s first Tour de France winner. Now, he has blazed his own.

The 32-year-old from gritty northwest London became Britain`s first winner of cycling`s greatest race on Sunday, ending a 75-year drought for his country with an imperial conquest of the roads in cross-Channel neighbour France.

Wiggins had locked up the yellow jersey a day earlier by winning the final time-trial and Sunday`s ride onto the Champs-Elysees was largely ceremonial for him.

But putting the coveted shirt to work one last time, he added a touch of class by providing a leadout to Sky teammate and fellow Briton Mark Cavendish to get his third Tour stage victory — the 23rd of his career — in a sprint. The Isle of Man native is a main contender to win road race gold at the Olympics in London, which has been a hovering presence over the peloton in this Tour.

Wiggins congratulated his teammates after crossing the line, hugged his wife, and clutched the hands of their two children. A soprano sang "God Save The Queen", and Wiggins thanked the crowd with a touch of British humour.

"Cheers, have a safe journey home, don`t get too drunk," he quipped after hoisting the winner`s bouquet, with the Arc de Triomphe behind him.

"It`s been a magical couple of weeks for the team and for British cycling," Wiggins said.

"Some dreams come true. My mother over there, she`s now — her son has won the Tour de France," he said.