Wiggins nears Tour title; Cavendish wins stage

BRIVE-LA-GAILLARDE, France — Bradley Wiggins moved closer to becoming the first British champion of the Tour de France while teammate and countryman Mark Cavendish won the 18th stage in a sprint.

The ride along four small hills Friday took the pack 138 miles from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde, a transitional stage before Saturday’s time trial. The three-week race ends Sunday in Paris.

Wiggins, Cavendish and the Sky team made it look easy with an almost textbook sprint setup. With less than a mile to go, Wiggins took the head of the pack and chased down six breakaway riders, then peeled away.

The Sky train motored ahead and Cavendish, showing he’s perhaps the world’s most explosive rider, whirred around the remaining escapees in the last few hundred yards to win by a couple of bike lengths.

Luis Leon Sanchez, seeing Cavendish speed by, appeared to sigh with resignation. Cavendish beat Matt Goss of Australia, with Peter Sagan of Slovakia in third place.

“It was dangerous in the final,” said Wiggins, who hugged Cavendish at the finish. “This morning we decided to put the train in place and help Mark in the final. It’s my gift to him.”

Cavendish has been largely overshadowed on Sky by Wiggins. He won a stage for the second time on this Tour, giving him 22 stage victories for his career and tying him with seven-time champion Lance Armstrong.

“I just used the slipstreams,” Cavendish said. “I have used this technique to win 22 stages. … It’s a magic number — there’s one more to go.”

The top of the standings didn’t change. Wiggins leads Sky teammate Christopher Froome by 2 minutes, 5 seconds. Vincenzo Nibali of Italy is third, 2:41 behind. Defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia is sixth, 9:57 back.

Cavendish’s victory gives Britain five stage wins this year from four riders: Wiggins, Cavendish, Froome and David Millar. That’s the same number of wins for riders from France.

“For the British, it’s a really big day,” said French President Francois Hollande, visiting at the finish line in Brive-la-Gaillarde, a town in his political fiefdom.

The final big showdown comes on Saturday in the 33-mile time trial from Bonneval to Chartres. Riders will leave one-by-one down a ramp in the race against the clock, in reverse order of the standings.

More in Sports

M’s bolster bullpen, add Nicasio, two others

Seattle adds Juan Nicasio in free agency and trades for Shawn Armstrong and Anthony Misiewicz.

Thiel: Since his arrival, Brown has solidified Hawks’ O-line

Seattle’s O-line has gone from disaster to competent in just a few short weeks, thanks to their new LT.

Return of ThunderTips podcast plus Wednesday practice notes

The latest ThunderTips Hockey Podcast, on which I appear alongside Seattle Thunderbirds… Continue reading

Seahawks ready Wilhoite to start at MLB for Wagner

The vet is at the center of Seattle’s preparation to stop Rams RB Todd Gurley in a pivotal NFC West matchup.

Five high schools leaving the Cascade Conference

They will form a new league — the North Sound Conference — for the 2018-19 school year

Sutter accepts invite to play in CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

Silvertips goalie Carter Hart named CHL Goaltender of the Week for the third straight week.

Wednesday’s prep results

Boys Basketball Non-conference Eastside Prep 56, Darrington 48 Boys Wrestling Northwest Conference… Continue reading

Wednesday’s prep stars of the night

Shelby Lund, G, Stanwood Lund, a sophomore, scored a game-high 24 points… Continue reading

Tough year turns ‘Lucky’ for Idaho angler

By Wayne Kruse For The Herald Gary March of Worley, Idaho, was… Continue reading

Most Read