With his first Tour de France title seemingly in sight, Sky Procycling's Bradley Wiggins made it a point to acknowledge the work of teammate Mark Cavendish and helped lead him to a stage victory.

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BRIVE-LA-GAILLARDE, France — For Bradley Wiggins, it is time to bestow gifts at the Tour de France.

With his first title seemingly in sight, Wiggins made it a point Friday to acknowledge the work of teammate Mark Cavendish, helping to lead him to a stage victory.

Wiggins, Cavendish and their British Sky Procycling team did more than underline their authority in the 18th stage. They also put their Olympic rivals on notice: Britain might well be a force in the road race at the London Games.

Wiggins is intent on becoming Britain’s first Tour winner, and that is Sky’s priority. Cavendish has made sacrifices, even leading Wiggins over the climbs he often dreads.

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Friday’s ride along four relatively small hills over 138.2 miles from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde was a transitional stage before the time trial Saturday.

Cavendish won in 4 hours, 54 minutes, 12 seconds. He has 22 Tour stage victories.

Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda rider Tyler Farrar of Wenatchee was sixth.

Wiggins leads the overall race by 2 minutes, 5 seconds over teammate and countryman Christopher Froome.


• A backup sample confirmed RadioShack Nissan Trek rider Frank Schleck tested positive for a banned diuretic, but Schleck — who was pulled from the race Tuesday — insisted he is not guilty of doping.

• The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss Lance Armstrong‘s federal lawsuit seeking to prevent the USADA from pursuing doping charges against the seven-time Tour winner.

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