Wiggins shows Tour form at Dauphiné

Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis)

Bradley Wiggins (Cofidis) (Image credit: JF Quenet)

By Jean-François Quénet in Grenoble

Bradley Wiggins showed Sunday that he is on track and ready to try for a win at the Tour de France opener by winning the Dauphiné Libéré opening prologue. It was his first big road win in his six-year career.

"It was a very different course from the prologue in London," he said. "This one was for pure specialists like George Hincapie." It was held right in the centre of the capital of the Alps, pretty much where the first edition of the Critérium took shape 60 years ago for the real first year of cycling revival after World War II.

Wiggins was four seconds behind teammate Sylvain Chavanel at the half way point, but had a strong return on the second half of the hot-dog shaped circuit. "I am in a super good condition, maybe the best of my life," he reckoned. "I've really done an excellent race. Last year I also did the prologue flat out and I came in 20th or something. It was the same at the Tour de France, I only finished 16th."

The Englishman arrives in fine form just in time. "I'm in my 6th year as a pro and I only got my third win on the road," he commented. "When I turned pro with Française des Jeux, everyone knew I had the potential for doing things like this, as Bradley McGee was doing. Now I believe this win gives me the status of a favourite for the prologue of the Tour de France, which I wasn't before. I can make the top 5 in London. There will be David Millar, David Zabriskie, George Hincapie and Fabian Cancellara as well."

Wiggins hasn't actually been named to the Cofidis team for the Tour, but his chances are good. The team will likely be built around Sylvain Chavanel's chances for the GC.

Wiggins won by one second over defending Dauphiné champion, Levi Leipheimer (Discovery), who also appears to be on form. Monday's 219km stage 1 from Grenoble to Roanne is the first road stage.

For complete coverage of the prologue, click here.

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