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Tour win 'best Games preparation'
An historic Tour de France victory for Bradley Wiggins would be "some of the best preparation you could possibly get" for glory at London 2012, former Olympic cycling champion Chris Boardman has said.
Barring a freak accident, triple Olympic gold medallist Wiggins is poised to become the first British winner of the coveted yellow jersey in the 99th edition of the gruelling race.
The 32-year-old is almost certain to enjoy a victory procession on the Champs-Elysees in Paris today after stretching his lead on Saturday with an imperious performance in winning the 53.5km (33-mile) time-trial stage from Bonneval to Chartres.
Boardman told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show that the final few laps of the race in Paris was "the most coveted stage to win".
He said: "Bradley Wiggins, if he had a puncture he'd be able to get back on, if he has a mishap in the last 3km, then he's awarded the same time... so realistically he can't lose it, theoretically he could, but it is quite literally all over bar the shouting."
Boardman labelled Wiggins's impending win in the race "phenomenal" and one characterised by "domination" from the whole British team ahead of the Olympics.
He said: "Six days between the two events is amazing, but ironically the body super-compensates really once it realises that you're not going to stop doing this, it starts to actually repair much quicker and six days off is absolutely fine for them.
He added: "It's a non-impact sport, it's not like running where a lot of physical muscle damage is done, it's energy reserves that are used up and they are replenished quite quickly, so this is actually some of the best preparation you could possibly get for an Olympic road race or indeed time trial, so I would expect to see Bradley Wiggins challenging again for a gold medal in the individual time trial, and Mark Cavendish of course in the road race on Saturday."
Asked about Britain's increasing cycling prowess, Boardman, who won gold at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, joked: "Well whenever that question's posed I take complete and full responsibility for all the success that we've had to date."
He predicted the British cycling team would be "extremely successful" at London 2012, adding that he believed "success breeds success".