Over 20 TV cameras and maybe 150 journalists crowded into the grounds of the Hôtel Parc Beaumont for Team Sky’s second rest day press conference in Pau this afternoon.

Bradley Wiggins demonstrated just how comfortable he now is in the role of race leader by looking somewhat unfamiliar without a yellow jersey on his shoulders.

In a white Team Sky T-shirt, he sat midway along a line of his team mates, and breezed through all the questions thrown at him. This time round it was us journalists who’d got the grilling after spending too long waiting in the sun. 

On the more serious topics, it was by and large the stuff we’ve heard all week: Wiggins was taking things one day at a time, his team mates were all stars and he was being very unsentimental about the job at hand.

Those legendary climbs they’d be going over tomorrow, stooped in history: “They’re just roads that go up,” he said.

Repeatedly Wiggins talked about ticking the boxes, as we in the audience ticked off a list of phrases frequently wheeled out in press conferences.

But we shouldn’t take the Mickey too much. It is thanks to Sky’s box ticking and meticulous approach to preparing for the Tour de France that a British rider happens to be in such a position.

Wiggins always takes us on an interesting diversion somewhere along the line though. This morning, he told us, he’d received a neckerchief accompanied by a video message from five-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain. What did his former hero say to him say, someone questioned.

Dunno, replied Wiggins. “It was in Spanish.”



Team Principal David Brailsford also spoke to the press at length, but only after dropping a disclaimer at the beginning about how absolutely shattered he was after getting lost during a morning spin over a couple of Pyrenean cols.

That considered, Brailsford dropped a cracker of a joke just a couple of minutes later ,warning “the closer we get [to the finish], the more risk we have of the c-word… complacency”.

Much of Brailsford’s spiel was along these lines, batting away questions that assumed Wiggins the win already, the team’s leadership and – just hypothetically speaking, Dave – what sort of team they’d come back with next year should the race be more mountainous.

As far as the riders are concerned, tomorrow’s stage will be quite mountainous enough as it is with the Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin and Peyresoude all on the agenda.

But for the rest of today they had a brief respite from the race and we left them to it. For just a few hours it was time to catch up with their families and friends and take their mind off the Tour altogether.

Tour de France 2012: Latest news



Rest day review (July 17)



Defending Tour champ Evans has work to do in Pyrenees



Sprinters’ teams unwilling to work on stage 15



Evans suffers multiple punctures after Tour tack attack



Froome not winning this year’s Tour is ‘very great sacrifice’



Frank Schleck criticises ‘boring’ Tour de France



Wiggins: Cycling’s new boss?



Wiggins still Sky’s main man as Tour heads towards Pyrenees



Millar’s Tour win comes after ‘second chance’



Froome explains his attack on La Toussuire



Nibali fails to crack Sky but pleased with Tour mountains performance



Roche ready to achieve career-long Tour top ten ambition



Wiggins: ‘I’m not some s**t rider that’s come from nowhere



Nibali hits out at Wiggins after Tour frustration



Cavendish enjoying new Tour role



Wiggins taking nothing for granted in ‘dream scenario’



Sky keeping Tour focus on Wiggins



Di Gregorio arrested by police at Tour de France


Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 provisional start list



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports



Stage 15: Fedrigo wins, day off for peloton



Stage 14: Sanchez solos to Foix victory to save Rabobank’s Tour



Stage 13: Greipel survives climb and crosswinds to win third Tour stage



Stage 12: Millar wins Tour stage nine years from his last



Stage 11: Wiggins strengthens Tour lead as Evans slips back



Stage 10: Voeckler wins and saves his Tour



Stage nine: Wiggins destroys opposition in Besancon TT



Stage eight: Pinot solos to Tour win as Wiggins fights off attacks



Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage



Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage



Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades



Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes



Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne



Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory



Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt



Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: What we learned at La Planche des Belles Filles



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage 15 by Graham Watson



Stage 14 by Graham Watson



Stage 13 by Graham Watson



Stage 12 by Graham Watson



Stage 11 by Graham Watson



Stage 10 by Graham Watson



Stage nine by Graham Watson



Stage eight by Graham Watson



Stage seven by Graham Watson



Stage six by Graham Watson



Stage five by Graham Watson



Stage four by Graham Watson



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage 10 live coverage



Stage nine live coverage



Stage six live coverage



Stage five live coverage



Stage four live coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

  • jimmy the fish

    It needs to absolutely bucket it down for at least one of the two mountain stages so that the word ‘epic’ can be fairly applied to tp Sky’s Tour – whether they win or not, Or perhaps they could have organised a drinks party in the style of Jacques Anquetil; waking up to find the leader seriously dropped on the first gentle ascent (feeling a bit rough) and faced with a three-hour chase to catch up………..epic indeed Van den Broeck 80/1 anyone?

  • Woody

    I know he’s important but does Dave Brailsford really need that many phones?