This Tour, as in many in recent years, took its licks from doping.
On the first rest day, Remy Di Gregorio of Cofidis was arrested and ousted from the race in a French anti-doping probe, accused of possessing doping products or equipment prohibited without medical justification.
The bigger bombshell came on the second rest day: Frank Schleck, the RadioShack Nissan Trek leader from Luxembourg who placed third last year, was ousted after he tested positive for the banned diuretic Xipamide on July 14. He has denied any wrongdoing.
The impact of doping was felt even before the first starter's gun in Liege, Belgium: Two-time Tour champion Alberto Contador was sitting out to complete a two-year doping ban linked to the 2010 Tour. The Spaniard is by far the sport's biggest star.
Wiggins too has borne the impact of doping's ravages on the sport. In 2007, one of the most scandal-ridden Tours in recent memory, his Cofidis team pulled out after rider Cristian Moreni tested positive for testosterone — incensing Wiggins so much that he swore he'd never wear its jersey again.
If this year's Tour was boring compared to others in recent years — when use of performance enhancers juiced up many riders — Wiggins said it may be because the sport is changing amid the fight against doping, and that fans perhaps should not expect as many incredible performances as in years past. He has been a vocal critic of doping in cycling.
Some fretted the lack of panache — flair — on the mountain climbs.
"Unfortunately, we didn't have either Andy Schleck or Alberto Contador here this year, but next year, they'll both be back — hopefully — and that will give it the panache," UCI chief Pat McQuaid told The Associated Press. Andy Schleck, Frank's brother and runner-up last year, was out with an injury.
With "conservative" riders like Wiggins, "you weren't going to see that panache. But he's a deserving winner, as every winner of the Tour de France deserves to win the Tour de France," he said.
While he made his name as a track star — Britain's forte in cycling — Wiggins is a student of the road race. As a kid, he lined his bedroom walls with posters of cycling greats like five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain.
"My first Tour de France memory was obviously watching LeMond win in '89, and then after that I was hooked on cycling," said Wiggins. "All through my early teens I was watching Indurain win the Tour. That was my reason to not go to school in the morning, to watch the cycling."
"I never imagined then that I, in the center of London in a — well, I can say, dangerous — neighborhood with a lot of crime, that one day I could one day maybe win the Tour," he told France-2 TV before the Tour. "It's a little bit of a dream."
Wiggins says he straddled the Armstrong era: By the time the Texan started his run of Tour victories, "I was already into cycling ... so I sort of stopped watching in those years."
But they were similar: They love their music; (Wiggins is a fan of The Jam and his trademark sideburns have drawn comparisons to those of Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher.) Both were raised by their mothers — with fathers absent. Armstrong once reportedly advised Wiggins about how to handle the media — counsel that he's appeared to keep to himself.
Wiggins had a hot-and-cold relationship with the media during this Tour, notably when asked about comparisons to Sky and the Armstrong teams, he laced into anonymous critics on Twitter with an expletive-laden tirade.
After his final press conference, Wiggins acknowledged that he had "never trained to do well in the media," and thanked reporters for "putting up with me" and "my mood swings at times."
On Sunday, though, he was back at it — swatting at photographers hoping to get a quick shot of the victor on the Champs-Elysees.
The bigger Armstrong influence appears to have been on his coach.