Wiggins is virtual 2012 Tour de France champ

BRADLEY WIGGINS won the individual time trial to virtually clinch the 2012 Tour de France title in the penultimate stage.

The British rider negotiated the 53.5-kilometer course from Bonneval to Chartres in one hour, four minutes and 13 seconds, well clear of Kenyan-born British rider and Sky teammate Chris Froome.

Froome was 1:16 off the pace on Saturday, but that was enough for second place for the day and to keep his place at second in the general individual classification.

Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas also kept third place in the overall standings, placing 16th in the ITT by finishing 3:38 off the day’s pace.

Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez was third-best for the day, 1:50 off Wiggins.

The final stage is a 120-km race from Rambouillet to the Champs-Élysées in Paris, and Wiggins will start with an unassailable 3:21 lead over Froome and 6:19 over Nibali.