‘People say: ‘You have to go back and defend the Tour de France title — it’s tradition!’ who says it’s tradition?’
words from Brad Wiggins (who is soon the be knighted, it seems), from about a week or so ago when he said he would ride the Giro and most probably skip the Tour. my, how short 7 days can be. jump to yesterday, just a few vodka tonic sozzled hours after his win at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards:
‘I’ve always wanted to win a second Tour. I’m the defending champion. I want to try and win the Giro d’Italia and win the Tour de France behind it. People say it can’t be done, winning two Tours. So let’s have a go at it.’
‘The team are saying they are going to back me with the Tour this year. That’s directly from Dave [Brailsford]. He said: ‘You’re our man for the Tour. Focus on it.’’
Froome deserves his shot at the Tour next year in my opinion, and he is correct to expect at the very least silent support from the man he helped win the Tour this season, if not a ringing endorsement. yes Froome was wrong to put in those attacks in July in the mountains, and sure, his girlfriend might have done better had she kept her tweets to herself, but there’s no doubt that Froome dragged Wiggins up more than just one hill to help secure that victory. Wiggins wasn’t finished there, going on to say that:
“We’re very fortunate that we have two people that can win the Tour de France. Having two people equally as strong, trying to beat the likes of [Alberto] Contador and Andy Schleck, is going to work in our favour.
“It could be any one of us, it could be Chris Froome on the day, it could be me, but once we get on that line we all have a professional obligation. We saw this year what Chris did for me, it could be that I’ll be doing that for him next year for the team to win.
“You go out there with a plan. That plan may change during the race depending on crashes, illnesses or form, but you certainly start out with a game plan and follow that game plan as much as possible. If that’s Chris Froome then the whole eight riders will commit to Chris.
“But we saw a couple of years ago, once I crashed out the team was left without anything to do, really, because all our eggs were put into the basket of me. This year, had I crashed out in that first week, we always had a back-up plan with Chris Froome. It always helps to have strength in numbers, it’s a nice problem to have.
“So much is made of the negative aspects of having two leaders who could potentially win, but very little has been said about the positive side. We finished one and two this year, so it’s always a nice problem to have.”
that may all be well and true, but after seeing a very strong Froome lose out to Cobo in the 2011 Vuelta a Espana after the Sky management spent too long having the team support Wiggins, and then seeing him lose out again in Spain after his efforts in France in July this year, i do feel that Wiggins would do better to stay schtum and do what he can to steady the nerves of his teammate, who is obviously one heck of a rider but who seems prone to anxiety – as seen in the recent documentary i featured on Wiggo’s win. i don’t believe Wiggo can win next year, what with there being less TT kilometers and one added Spaniard, and i doubt Froome would beat Contador either, but i do think Froome has a better chance than Wiggins. ultimately however, for the sake of just being nice, i’d rather see the ModRacer smiling beatifically and breastfeeding his ulterior motives in the shadows than gabbing on in public.
it’s been so far, so good Wiggo, and if you truly do shun celebrity, better to offer support to Froome and take our chance if and when it comes.