Friday, July 20, 2012

20 July 2012: Wiggo


Despite the picture above, it is Bradley Wiggins and not a donkey who owns the yellow jersey following the end of the mountains in this years Tour.

Mark Cavendish won today's stage - coming from nowhere (with Wiggins' assistance) to overtake a breakaway right on the line. A comfortable warm up for Sunday in Paris and then the Olympics next weekend. He moves up to 22 all-time wins, now level as the best-ever sprinter and moving up the list of all riders. While Wiggins gets great attention (and rightly so) for his achievement, the fact is he's won the Tour once now, while Cav is busy breaking all-time records in the race.

Still, barring accidents (and we've seen a few of those) or some weird time trial result, Wiggo wins the Tour, the first ever overall winner for Britain. And of course if he fails, Chris Froome takes over. So either way, a Sky/British winner is prety much guaranteed from here.

Detractors will say it's like 2008, a weak race with the best racers not present. Standard response is 'well, you can only win the race in front of you' by the opposite-of-detractors. (What is the opposite of a detractor? A protractor?) The record books will say that in 2012 Bradley Wiggins won the tour, just like they say the 2008 version was won by Carlos Sastre.

Would he have beaten Contador, Schleck (A), Froome on any hypothetical different team, Cadel Evans without stomach bug? Hard to say. Wiggins and the Sky train were strong but had no real acceleration - you could just see the likes of Armstrong, Contador etc racing off up the mountains into the distance had they been in the race. (Possibly due to drug taking, of course).

But then you look at Miguel Indurain, who won five in a row and didn't do accelerations - he did good time-trials and just rode tempo up the mountains, dropping off rivals one by one and just ignoring the occasional mountain attacks that came. So while it's been a rather boring Tour (well done Team Sky - seriously, that's a real achievement), Wiggo has won the Tour using a recognized, established tactic.

Anyway, presumably the knighthood follows shortly, and of course there's the Olympics in a few days, where Wiggins, Froome and Millar will work for Cavendish, who for a change won't be asked to carry bottles for everyone else. Still find it very hard to believe Cav is happy with this whole situation.

Next years Tour? Wiggins, Frooms and Cav all on different teams. Unless Wiggins sees the light and realises this, 2012, was HIS year (like 2011 was Cav's year), and he won't have another Tour like it. In which case he works for Froome, and we get another British winner next year.

Depending on Contador, Schleck (A) and the rest, of course, who should all be back...

1 comment:

andymoore said...

BBC's More or Less had an interesting discussion on The Tour and doping: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/more-or-less-behind-the-stats/id267300884?mt=2&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
Thought it might be your kind of thing...