What’s sweeter than a second Tour de France victory? A second Tour de France victory that starts on home soil and it’s sadly a sweetness that won’t be savoured by Wiggo. It’s been a tough time for one of Britain’s sporting heroes.Bradley’s emotionally choked interview on BBC breakfast seemed to leave little doubt who Team Sky are favouring for their best chances of winning the tour. Dave Brailsford has made in clear that he is running a professional racing team and not a marriage guidance service for rider relationships and whilst this approach has undoubtedly delivered the goods watching a the team is slightly reminiscent of storm troopers (Star Wars, not Nazis) filling out to calmly and unexcitedly conquer.
“I swear, I left the Pinarellos right here.”
Rivalry and fractures within a team are nothing new but they always deliver a race that moves away from normal tour format. Alberto Contador won the 2007 TDF and the Giro and Vuelta of 2008. 2009 saw his ambitions focus once again on the Yellow but the return of the notorious Texan demoted him to second fiddle at Astana under the management of Bruyneel. Contador had none of it and rode for himself and swiped the number one podium spot.
“Lance…you’re…you’re hurting me”
Coppi and Bartali’s rivalry even split their home nation. A modernizing Italy backed the progressive Fausto whilst the deeply religious element backed the conservative Gino. Any races involving the two riders became a hotly contested battle for the heart of the homeland and are still spoken about today. I mean the Beatles made let it be when they hated each other, solo efforts with compliant backing band? Hmmmm.
It does seem that the cool, efficient, well oiled machine of Sky is lacking on emotion and passion. Imagine Wiggo and Froome duelling it out in the mountains, the drama unfolding as two giants of British…no, World cycling battle for dominance of the hearts and minds of the team and the victory. Now that would be worth watching and would write cycling lore. In twenty years time a book would certainly be written about the race, but team Sky seem to be more interested as being remembered under the Tour de France results listing on Wikipedia than as creating a legend.
You know when you give someone in the office the finger but don’t want the boss to see…
So now that Bradley is on leave what can he get up to?
Go for a bike ride. Incognito.
Picture the scene, a full pro kit rider is out on a Sunday blip. Seeing a rider casually mooching along on the horizon in a mod bull’s eye jersey he is confident that those weekly hours on the turbo trainer have given him God gastros. He gleefully begins to wind in the unsuspecting cyclist. But something is wrong; no matter how hard he works the rider is never brought to heel. Over hill and dale the distance remains until eventually he breaks down and gives up the chase. Like a Samuel Beckett play on two wheels, his quarry remained elusive and destroyed him from a distance. Who was that masked rider?
“Wiggo? This way? On a fixie you say? No, not seen him.”
Join the TDF Commentary team
I don’t know about you but Bradley Wiggins doing TDF commentary would make me want to pay my TV license four times over. Come on ITV4, pull your finger out!
“Froome has fallen again and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be back on the bike, what should Sky’s tactic be now Bradley?”
Cue deep intake of breath. “Well Phil…”
Shop around for a new contract
Like Frankenstein and The Terminator, creations that are the product of a genius mind and ‘Marginal Gains’ often come back to bite the behind of their creator. If there’s no place for Wiggo at Sky someone else will make room, and that means a showdown. If we aren’t getting a legendary race this year it could look tasty in 2015.
“I want your Lycra, your SIDIs, and your bicycle. Oh and a contract which guarentees a TDF show down with Froome.”
Prepare for Commonwealth Glory
“Technically the sideburns are the least aero part of me so obviously I’ll slick ‘em back for the track”
Shane Sutton has hinted that Wiggins may take to the boards for the commonwealth. As a long standing track hero and “technically the most gifted track rider we have seen in years” it makes sense for Bradley to pocket some gold like the whole Tour thing was no big deal, and since Dave Brailsford chose Rupert Murdoch over Team GB there should be no changing room awkwardness.
Go hang out with Edvald
Edvald Boassan Hagen will also missing the tour due to injury which is bad news for Norwegian Cycling commentators but good news for Wiggo. Norway is one on the nicest places on earth and Edvald rumoured to be one of the nicest cyclists. What better way for Wiggo to perk up than mountain walks and ice cream with a cyclist who seems to find it impossible not to smile.
If this doesn’t make you smile then congratulations, you’re officially dead inside.
Go and watch the Rugby.
As a lifetime member of Wigan Warriors he could always turn his back on cycling for a bit and take the family to watch the Warriors smash a ball around whilst tucking into the meat pies and then hit the bar for some post match drinks.
“Yeah, I guess the stripes are a bit Paul Smith it just feels a bit loser than I’m used to”
As a man with interests beyond cycling Bradley is sure to be busy; hair needs styling, scooter chrome needs buffing and that guest guitar solo on the next Weller album won’t play itself. Whatever he gets up to it isn’t the last the Tour will hear from him.