TOUR de France leader Bradley Wiggins was aiming to fight off attacks on his hold of the yellow jersey on today’s final mountain day ahead of Sunday’s finish in Paris.
Wiggins entered his 10th day in the maillot jaune, the 143.5-kilometre 17th stage from Bagneres-de-Luchon to Peyragudes, with a lead of two minutes five seconds over Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) 18 seconds further adrift in third place.
No other rider was within five minutes of the triple Olympic champion.
Wiggins anticipates another challenging day in the saddle and opted out of post-stage media duties to focus on his recuperation.
“We’ve got a good scenario for the final day in the mountains but the process now starts - recovering, eating, drinking lots and getting ready right away,” Wiggins said.
“I’ll have a warm down and start thinking about tomorrow (Thursday). On paper this stage doesn’t look as hard as it was today (Wednesday).
“It’s certainly a lot shorter and there will be a lot of tired bodies out there. It’s a case of people recovering and who recovers best at this stage.
“The one thing I keep saying is that no one has it easy out there.
“We’re all in the same boat and we all have to do the same course and tomorrow (Thursday) is another day.”