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Wiggins on the brink of Tour de France title after winning 19th stage

updated 11:08 AM EDT, Sun July 22, 2012
Bradley Wiggins punches the air as he crosses the finish line first on Saturday in the penultimate stage of the Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins punches the air as he crosses the finish line first on Saturday in the penultimate stage of the Tour de France
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bradley Wiggins on the brink of claiming Britain's first win in Tour de France
  • Sky team rider wins penultimate stage of race to extend lead over nearest rivals
  • Barring disaster, 32-year-old will be crowned champion in Paris on Sunday

(CNN) -- Bradley Wiggins all but secured his maiden Tour de France victory on Saturday with a storming ride in the 19th and penultimate stage of the race from Bonneval to Chartres.

The 32-year-old Sky team rider crossed the finish line in first place, completing the 53.5-kilometer time trial in one hour, four minutes and 13 seconds.

The win extends Wiggins' overall lead to nearly three-and-a-half minutes over his teammate Chris Froome, and more than six minutes over Liquigas rider Vincenzo Nibali who is third.

Bradley Wiggins, left, celebrates on the finish line with teammate Michael Rogers of Australia after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France on Sunday, July 22, in Paris. Bradley Wiggins, left, celebrates on the finish line with teammate Michael Rogers of Australia after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France on Sunday, July 22, in Paris.
Tour de France 2012: The best photos
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"I don't know what to say. Only one more day to go, and I've won the yellow jersey," Wiggins said.

CNN Explains: Tour de France

"I've a lot of emotions and a lot of relief it's finished. It's a dream come true, but I've been working to win this for the past five years. The job is done, almost," he added.

Sunday's final stage to Paris does not traditionally involve a contest for the coveted yellow jersey meaning Wiggins has virtually guaranteed his place in history as the first British rider to win the Tour.

Dave Brailsford, manager of the Sky team said: "We made it our objective to win this race within five years with a clean, British rider, and that's what we've done. It might be a surprise to everyone else, but it's not a surprise to us."

Defending champion Cadel Evans had another disappointing day. The Australian finished the stage in seventh place overall, nearly 16 minutes behind Wiggins.

Following his stage win, Wiggins' wife, Cath tweeted: "Right everyone I am calling it. Operation drink as much champagne as you can. GO."

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