Bradley Wiggins wins again
CHATEL, France -- Britain's Bradley Wiggins cemented his status as a Tour de France favorite Sunday, winning the Criterium du Dauphine race in the French Alps for the second straight year.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist successfully defended his title in the mountainous weeklong race, finishing 1 minute, 17 seconds ahead of Sky teammate Michael Rogers of Australia. Tour de France champion Cadel Evans was third, 1:26 behind Wiggins.
Wiggins said he was "not the favorite, but one of the favorites" for the Tour de France, which begins June 30 in Liege, Belgium.
"It's a big win," he said. "Everyone talks a lot about the Tour de France, but winning Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine in the same year, that's huge. So whatever happens on the Tour, I can already be satisfied."
Spain's Daniel Moreno won the 77-mile seventh stage from Morzine to Chatel after making a late attack on the final climb. Luis Leon Sanchez of Spain and Evans were next.
Wiggins captured the race leader's yellow jersey in the first stage on June 4 and never relinquished it. He also won one stage along the way -- the 33-mile time trial in the fourth stage.
Wiggins crashed out of the 2011 Tour de France. He has won three of this year's hardest stage races -- Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and the Dauphine.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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