Wiggins powers to TT victory
Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins destroyed his main rivals to win stage four at the Criterium du Dauphine to extend his overall lead.
Sporting the leader's yellow skinsuit, the Briton was the last man off in the 53.5 kilometres test against the clock from Villie-Morgon to Bourg-en-Bresse, a dress rehearsal for the penultimate stage of this year's Tour de France.
And he paced his effort perfectly - third fastest at the first intermediate check after 18km before powering over the second mark 36 seconds to the good and maintaining the momentum to cross the line in one hour, three minutes and 12 seconds for an average speed of over 50km/h.
That was 34 seconds in front of world time trial champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), with Michael Rogers taking third, 1:11 back, on another memorable day for Team Sky as they had five men in the top 20.
Reigning Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) was eighth, 1:43 adrift, and it's all seen a dramatic shake-up on the general classification.
Wiggins leads the overall standings by 38 seconds from Martin, with Rogers at 1:20, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) fourth on 1:38 and Evans fifth at 1:44.
The performance is sure to underline Wiggins' Tour de France claims, with road cycling's biggest race starting on June 30. Before then there are three tough stages of the Dauphine to negotiate.
Afterwards he was understandably happy with both the performance and the result, telling www.teamsky.com: "It was a solid time trial for everyone today, there was no way of bluffing it or fluking it. It was a real test in the conditions.
"It's just nice to be out there in that discipline after all the training we've spent on the time trial bike over the winter and in the last few weeks.
"To beat the world champion is a big thing as I've not finished ahead of Tony many times in the past. I beat him at Algarve at the start of the season but that was by milliseconds so to do it by a clear margin this time is a huge satisfaction."
Wiggins was also keen to credit Martin for helping push him to new heights, adding: "We've been chasing Tony for a long time - he raised the bar at the World Championship last year so that was a starting point for us; to work towards trying to get close to him.
"It's by no means going to be the same every time trial we do from now on but it's something nice to show the kids when they are older!"
However Wiggins was quick to play down the significance of the result in terms of the Tour de France, with the penultimate stage in road cycling's biggest event featuring a time trial over exactly the same distance this year.
He said: "I don't think you can look into it too much. It's six weeks now until the final TT at the Tour and that's a long time - a lot can change in time trials.
"It's not a formguide for the Tour, it's just how you happened to go on one particular day but it's definitely a nice position to be in."