Bradley Wiggins finally allowed thoughts of winning the Tour de France to enter his head yesterday.
Until now, any ideas of being the first Brit to triumph in the world’s greatest cycle race have been pushed to the back of his mind.
But as team-mate Chris Froome helped haul him over the hills on the 17th stage from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes, Wiggins admitted he finally thought about a date with destiny in Paris on Sunday.
He said: “For the first time since I’ve led this race, I thought ‘maybe I’ve just won the Tour’.
“It came the moment I went over the Col du Peyresourde with Chris. It was incredible.”
Spain’s Alejandro Valverde won the stage as Wiggins tightened his grip on the lead. Froome kept second place while Italian Vincenzo Nibali lost 18 seconds but remains third.
Wiggins said: “Chris has been absolutely solid the whole Tour.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out you’d rather have him in your camp than someone else’s. He’s an incredible climber.”