Cyclist Bradley Wiggins relieved after winning Tour of Britain
Briton can't rest as he switches gear to world championship time trials in Italy
Bradley Wiggins secured victory in the Tour of Britain with huge crowds cheering him and fellow Briton Mark Cavendish through central London.
The 2012 Tour de France winner began the eighth and final stage with a 28-second lead and comfortably protected his advantage during 10 laps alongside the River Thames.
Omega Pharma Quickstep's Cavendish claimed his third stage win, sprinting away from An Post Chain Reaction's Sam Bennett of Italy and Italian rider Elia Viviani of Cannondale in a flat-out dash near the finish at Whitehall.
Switzerland's Martin Elmiger was second overall, the IAM Cycling rider 26 seconds adrift of Team Sky's Wiggins, with Simon Yates of the Great Britain under-23 team third.
"At the moment it's just relief that the job's done," the 33-year-old Wiggins told the Team Sky website.
"From the minute you've won the time trial you believe you can win the general classification, but it's not over until you've crossed that line. "[The lead] was only 26 seconds, so if you crash before three kilometres to go, and all those other little things to think about. It was a pretty hectic finish as everyone wants to win the last stage.
"I said I wanted to win it. It is pressure for the whole week."
Wiggins won't have much time to savour the win, with his thoughts now turning to tomorrow's Road World Championships time trial in Italy
"It's a bit like the Tour with the Olympics. Win the Tour one day, the next day you're thinking about the Olympics," Wiggins said.
Meanwhile Cavendish, who won the concluding stage of the Tour of Britain for a third successive year, said: "It's been incredible, to be able to win the stage again in London."
The Isle of Man rider thanked Alessandro Petacchi, a former rival turned teammate, for his support. "His road sense is like something I've never seen before," Cavendish said. "He's super smooth, super intelligent, super calm. He keeps me calm.
"I haven't had this since I worked with [Mark] Renshaw and it's exactly the same with Alessandro.
"I don't really have to do anything, I just follow a wheel that's smooth as silk and go with 200 metres to go."
Reuters, Agence France-Presse