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Richard Moore looks at the pros and cons of Bradley Wiggins being the Tour de France favourite.Back to story
In Wiggin's case there are several factors that go towards explaining his form today: 1. He lost a lot of weight (up to 10kg) after Beijing in 2008. That makes a huge difference in the mountains. He's been maturing as a grand tour rider since then - gaining valuable experience along the way. 2. His form is not just a sudden spike this year. He's been improving on the road since 2008. And in 2011 he won the Dauphine, crashed out of the TDF but came back for 3rd in the Vuelta. 3. Team Sky has been building and growing stronger around him - he joined them in 2010. As the article says, they have several world class riders, but they have also been maturing as a team and improving their support for Wiggins. From the outside, I would also suggest that Wiggins has been maturing as a team leader and gaining the respect and support of the team - something that doesn't happen overnight. 4. And he's using performance-enhancing training techniques (no doping involved)! The team at Sky are nothing if not meticulous at squeezing every last marginal gain out of their riders - and of particular note is Wiggins' 2 long stints of training at altitude this year, specifically for the TDF. 5. He's in a regime at Team Sky and British Cycling, under Dave Brailsford, built on a foundation of clean sport. In that environment is it possible that there is doping going on? You can make up your own mind, but I think that's about as likely as Mark Cavendish failing to thank his team after they've led him out to a sprint finish. So in my view this has got to be the best chance for a British rider to win the TDF - and a clean rider at that. Can't wait for July!
Posted 15:15 13th June 2012
Wiggins is undoubtedly favorite for this year's TDF. My only doubt is that he cannot respond to explosive climbers' attacks, as we have seen over the last few years in grand tours when the grade goes above 10%. Wiggins continues to climb at a constant tempo and struggles to respond to such explosive attack which is what he'll be getting in the Alps and Pyrenees. During the Dauphine, Wiggins was able to contain all the opposition because Sky set the tempo and never left his side. Sky will have to ride for Wiggins if he wants yellow and Cavendish will have to win green with the help of Bernhard Eisel and maybe one other rider. Splitting the team equally between Cav and Wiggins will leave Wiggins short of lieutenants in the mountains. The Tour is not won by one man alone, a strong team working of the GC contender is a must. This is Wiggins' best chance to win the TDF because Contador will be back next year focusing on the TDF and no one in pro peleton can touch him when he's on form,
Posted 13:41 13th June 2012