As much as Bradley Wiggins' victory of the 2012 Paris-Nice has been applauded in Nice on Sunday, it has also been widely seen as a sign for the Briton's contention in next July's Tour de France. In France, and elsewhere within the cycling world, Wiggins' victory on the Col d'Eze has been hailed as his complete return to competitiveness following his abandon in last year's Tour due to a collarbone fracture - even if, in the meantime, he achieved a podium spot at the Vuelta a Espana.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme was of course present in Nice on the week-end, as the 'race to the sun' is part of ASO's cycling events. Prudhomme was happy about the outcome and the tight match between Wiggins and Vacansoleil's Lieuwe Westra, which saw the Briton win by only eight seconds.
"The race was exciting until the very end, and with Bradley Wiggins as winner, it was a very beautiful finale," said Prudhomme to L'Equipe TV.
"This is a winner who, most of all, already projects us to the month of July. Wiggins has won the Critérium du Dauphiné last year, and he was fourth-placed in the Tour in 2009. This year, there are more time trial kilometres in the Tour than in the previous editions, and Wiggins is a master in the discipline. With this win here in Nice, he has thus placed himself as one of the favourites for the Tour," he Frenchman added.
In the post-race press conference, Wiggins himself admitted that he felt that he was "one of maybe five riders" to contend for the victory at the Tour this year, and hoped that he will be able to "continue that progression to July."
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