What a difference a year makes. Just 12 months ago our Tour de France preview was predicting that Bradley Wiggins was poised to make history as Britain’s first ever Tour de France winner.
Now Chris Froome has rightly taken over top spot at Team Sky and is ranked as the overwhelming race favourite while Wiggins trains alone in Majorca. Last July must seem an age away for Bradley. Wiggomania is already a fading memory.
It wasn’t going to be easy for Wiggins after that Tour and Olympic double last summer. This was the greatest ever achievement by a British rider and a performance that forever changed the public perception of cycling in this country. When he said: “Now I know how the Beatles felt,” it was a just comparison.
“I don’t think anything is going to top that,” he said and he was probably right.
Cycling’s other knight – Sir Chris Hoy recently had a similar realisation. Some eight months after winning his sixth and final Olympic gold medal the Scot finally admitted he couldn’t continue until next year’s Commonwealth Games and called it a day.
Even riding on home soil in a velodrome named after him wasn’t going to be enough for Sir Chris after that kierin victory which he described as ‘one of the greatest feelings I have ever had.’
Bradley’s got the same problem. A Giro win could have ranked a close-ish second to Tour glory. But the Vuelta? Not really. And although a world time trial title is still on the to-do list, unfortunately it depends on riding the Spanish race to get the form.
You’ve got to go out on high -Sir Chris was right. But where does that leave Bradley? Team pursuit gold in Rio? Why not? He’d still only be the same age as Hoy in London last year. Now that really would some exit.
This article was first published in the June 06 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!