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

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 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.