Wiggins wins Tour of California
Sir Bradley Wiggins wrapped up the 2014 Tour of California title in fine style after producing another assured display on the final stage.
Wiggins was ably supported over the three ascents of the infamous Rock Store climb, and never looked troubled on the Thousand Oaks circuit which saw Mark Cavendish sprint to a second stage victory.
Wiggins rolled home in the front group to take his first race win of the season with a 30-second margin over Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp), and after the stage he was quick to praise his team-mates who had helped make it happen.
He said: "I say it every day but without those guys I wouldn't be in this position. You can't do it on your own and as strong as my performance was individually in the time trial, my team have taken the strain all week.
"Those young Americans in my team, Joe, Ian and Danny have done a fantastic job - even today they didn't give up the chase and came back after they'd been distanced on the climbs. This is a fantastic way to finish."
The early start meant the temperatures weren't quite as high as they had been on previous days, and after a frantic opening period, seven riders managed to sneak clear of the bunch.
Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Jack Bobridge (Belkin) were the strongest duo from that group and dropped their companions on the second ascent of the day. With Cannondale and Team Sky setting a fiendish pace on the front of the bunch though, they were also hauled back on the next ascent and Wiggins was sitting pretty on the front of the peloton as he crested the summit.
Despite a flurry of further attacks on the descent which followed, Joe Dombrowski and Josh Edmondson rode hard to keep everything in check, and the race came back together with five kilometres remaining as the sprint teams began to work their way to the fore.
Wiggins was able to sit back as Giant-Shimano and BMC battled for supremacy in the fast finale, but it was Omega Pharma - Quick-Step who joined the celebrations when Cavendish outpaced John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) at the line.
Immediately after the podium presentation Wiggins revealed the victory would stand proud on his long list of successes, and he was delighted to have added another high-profile title to his glittering palmares.
He added: "This win is right up there in terms of satisfaction - to come here and have the reception we've had from the American public - it's been unreal.
"It's always an honour to wear a yellow jersey and I set my stall out to come and win the Tour of California, and I wanted to add my name to the guys who came before me.
"I've done that now and at 34 years old, it's still nice to be winning on this stage."