Bradley Wiggins is on his way to winning the Tour de France, but also becoming cycling’s boss – like it or not.

“I’m not going to stand on the front and do that,” he said today, “I’m a bit too much of a recluse for that.”

Cycling has had its share of bosses or patrons over the years, including Bernard Hinault, Francesco Moser and Lance Armstrong. Since Armstrong retired the first time, no one really kept control of the pack and acted as its voice.

David Millar, Filippo Pozzato and others have tried, but without success. Even after Armstrong returned in 2009, he was not as powerful. He worked with Danilo Di Luca to stage a protest of the stage conditions in the Giro d’Italia’s Milan stage, but failed. Organiser Angelo Zomegnan shook his head in disagreement, and the stage and the race went on.

Wiggins has won most stage races this year, scoring a new triple crown along the way: Paris-Nice, Tour of Romandy and Critérium du Dauphiné. In the Tour, he has led for the last seven days.

The French and international media respect him for his achievements. They look past the Tour results and to the progression from his track days.

The win might even mean more in Great Britain if Wiggins took it instead of Chris Froome given his name recognition. Wiggins has three Olympic gold medals and guided Mark Cavendish to a World Championships title in Copenhagen last year.

The team’s backers might even be asking for a Wiggins Tour win. Sports director, Sean Yates, said, “No, not to my knowledge.”

Wiggins does appear to be the boss on the road in this Tour, even if he is uncomfortable with the title.

“I don’t think it’s important for the peloton to have a boss. I think we should have our own voice really, I don’t think anyone should be above anybody else. At the end of the day, we’re all equal, especially as bike riders,” Wiggins said.

“In the past, when there have been bosses and that, it’s more through fear than respect, certainly it’s something I sensed. There are leaders in the peloton that everybody looks up to and respects as riders. I think they’re more important, they’re not necessarily the ones that are always winning, but they are more the voice of the peloton.”

Tour de France 2012: Latest news



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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 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 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

  • Reality

    Wiggins the boss? If you listen to Chris Froome I’m not even sure he’s the boss of his own team. Never mind the fact that half the peloton don’t like him. And of course all this on the back of a single (yet to actually happen) TDF win. Steady on there boyo. I think you’re losing your grip on my name…

  • dai bananas brother

    Dai’s missus says that her dog is a psychic – after the manner of the German football octopus – and that he has definitely picked out David Millar to win the Olympic Road Race (now that Sammy Sanchez is out of action) Wiggins all over the papers in Gent/Gand/Ghent……….the people there are claiming him to be one of their own………….

  • john tyrer

    Daft article. Daft argument.

  • john tyrer

    What a peculiar article……….can’t work it out at all. Perhaps it is a sixth form essay.

  • Stephen Nightingale

    Froomy’s a good guy and I will be supporting him in all future Tours (including Vuelta 2012).

    But Wiggo is the team lead, and has been for the past two years. And I think there is a compelling argument to be made that the “first British Tour de France winner” be someone who grew up in Britain and makes his home in Britain, and that’s WIggo. Froomy’s a good guy, but as it stands at the mo, he is an African, and his is a passport of convenience.