PM trumpets Wiggins' triumph
Prime Minister David Cameron has described Bradley Wiggins' Tour de France triumph as one of finest moments in Britain's sporting history.
Wiggins on Sunday became the first rider from the UK to win cycling's greatest event with team-mate Chris Froome finishing in second place.
And Mark Cavendish clinched the final stage of the race into Paris, sealing victory on the Champs-Elysees for a fourth consecutive year.
"Like everyone in the country, I'm absolutely delighted," Cameron told the BBC. "Bradley Wiggins has scaled one of the great heights of British sporting achievement.
"It's an immense feat of physical and mental ability and aptitude.
"I think the whole country wants to say 'well done, brilliant', the perfect backdrop and start to the Olympics.
"It will put the country in the right mood. It's going to be an incredible festival of sport we're going to see.
"Bradley and the whole team's great success in the Tour de France - I watched Mark Cavendish's great sprint finish as well - that whole team performance will lift the spirits of the country."
Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson agreed with Cameron as the nation basked in the glory of a historical day.
"Bradley Wiggins' triumph goes down as one of the great achievements in British sporting history," Robertson said.
"It is a superb feat of endurance, skill and sporting excellence and he has been backed by an outstanding team.
"I congratulate him, his fellow riders, Dave Brailsford and everyone at Team Sky who have worked so hard to bring about this first ever British win."
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, hopes participation numbers in cycling will explode as a result of Wiggins' success.
"Huge congratulations must go to Bradley Wiggins," Johnson said.
"His incredible determination, focus and will to win blew away the rest of the field and propelled this legendary Londoner to the summit of his sport.
"His inspirational performances, ably supported by his fellow Team Sky riders including Brits Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish, will encourage thousands more people to take to two wheels."
Team Sky chairman Robert Tansey believes Team Sky's success - delivered ahead of schedule - will inspire Team GB at London 2012.
"We have a very strong set up and squad," Tansey said.
"Our team loves riding for each other and they'll want to come back and do this again next year.
"We view this as the start rather than the end of something and the hunger is definitely there to repeat it.
"When we launched three years ago our ambition was to win the Tour de France with a British rider in five years.
"A lot of people were sceptical of that so to do it in three years is a tremendous achievement
"This is a great British story and less than a week away from the Olympics this will inevitably give the Team GB cycling squad a lift."
British Cycling president Brian Cookson described the outcome to the 99th edition of the Tour de France as a "monumental day" for British cycling.
"To see a British rider and a fellow member of British Cycling win is a dream come true for me and all at British Cycling," Cookson said.
"This is a monumental day for sport in the UK - Great Britain has produced in Bradley Wiggins a rider who has won one of the world's biggest sporting challenges and everyone involved in cycling in this country must be immensely proud of that.
"Team Sky's success today highlights how cycling is now a mainstream sport, and Great Britain is the world leading nation."
A group of Wiggins lookalikes complete with fake sideburns were given a standing ovation during England's Test match against South Africa at the Oval today.
It was also announced today that London will bid to host the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 2016.
British Cycling has selected the capital - home to Wiggins - as its preferred choice ahead of Manchester and Glasgow with a decision expected in the winter.