FGR #10 Wrap

No bad guy? No bad guy? Are you guys kidding me? With no bad guy, there’s no good guy. If everyone’s a good guy, then no one is. They’re just guys. Who wants to watch a bunch of guys riding bikes? BO-RING!

I liked what Big Mikey said:

This isn’t about legal law, as both parties worked out a compromise due to the fact that GS was going to lose BW to Sky due to the (lack of) enforceability of the contract per European contract law (imagine that), this is about perception and behavior. And while Vaughters was mostly restrained, Wiggins let slip some less than exemplary behavior/comments. A very nice touch given that Garmin worked hard to support his fourth place in the TdF. They gave him the shot to focus on the tour, and he repays it by acting like an entitled brat.

If we combine what Padraig and SingleSpeedJarv had to offer, about Wiggins being unhappy at Garmin even before Sky came into the picture, then we can, to some extent, let Brailsford off the hook, though I can promise you Andrei Tchmil will NOT be letting Brailsford off the hook (for poaching Ben Swift, a Katusha rider until Brailsford turned his head). Not Tchmil’s style to forgive and forget. You can just go ahead and assume that Katusha won’t be taking any turns on the front of the peloton if Sky will benefit in anyway.

So Wiggins wanted out of the contract that suited him pretty well less than a year previously? OK. He doesn’t like the Garmin way. Sometimes things don’t work out. Sky came along at the right time with a boatload of cash to emancipate him from the servitude that all but put him on the Tour de France podium. Fortuitous, not just for Wor Bradley, but also for Jonathan Vaughters who ended up having a tantrum-throwing prima donna taken off his hands and replaced with a fat check.

All is possibly well that ends well, except that, in order to extricate himself from what was, to him, an untenable situation, young Mr. Wiggins felt it necessary to disparage Garmin in the press. There were several allusions to the team not preparing its riders properly for racing success. There was the infamous ‘I need to be at Manchester United, and currently I’m at Wigan,” line, which, for those not steeped in British football culture, basically means “Garmin is bush league, and Sky are pros,” an odd assertion to make about a team that had, at that point, not yet raced a bike in anger.

So this scribe’s personal take (in case it wasn’t obvious) is that, though all parties seem to have made out alright in the end (even though I’d bet the above-pictured Vaughters would have preferred to show up in France this summer with TWO GC threats rather than just one), Brad Wiggins acted like a first class ass hat throughout the affair.

Rather than effecting his transfer with discretion, class and bonhomie, he alienated his team manager, teammates and probably some fans, by turning a private business deal into a public spectacle. If he wins the Tour for Sky this summer, then we’ll probably all just salute his hard-headed competitiveness and forget that he acted like a jerk. If he fails to podium, then we’ll all shake our heads at yet another ego-case crashing and burning on the fumes of his own ambition. If he fails to podium and Christian Vande Velde does make it onto the hallowed steps, well, I can’t wait to see what the French press writes about that.

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12 comments

  1. Rod Diaz

    Agreed! The Man U – Wigan comparison was totally uncalled for. Part of me wants Wiggo and Sky to endure some growing pains in the big races, and to show that even though big $ are sorely needed in the sport, there is a way to go around things with a bit of class.

  2. Fat Chance

    Wiggins jumped ship for cash- pure and simple. Athletes have short careers and this move would at least insure he would have more appeal in the UK for after his sporting career. In poor taste on the part of Brailsgord/sky to make such a hard push for wiggins? Yes. Poor form on the part of Wiggins? yes. Did this piss some people off? Yes. But ultimately it all adds to the drama for the fans- and that is all I care about. Long live the move to Sky on the part of Wiggins! Lots of folks will be gunning for you especially now ….which should make for some vindictive racing.

    And I agree with Roddiaz- I hope Sky gets the business from other teams.

  3. Pope

    I agree with Wiggins… GS is a bush league squad that’s all about JV’s ego. All JV does is point fingers at others when he should be concentrating on building a winning team.

  4. SinglespeedJarv

    There is another factor that has not been widely considered in this debate and that is Wiggins’ loyalty to the British Cycling (BC) set-up. Although JV had the insight, the idea to put Wiggins up as a TdF contender, a lot of the work that went into doing it was likely to have been crafted by BC staff, the diet, the training plans, something that is likely to have gone back over years.

    Although there seems to be less sympathy about Swift leaving Katusha, you could reckon that Swift probably spent as much time being looked after by BC than by his team. I know Sky/Swift used it as a scapegoat, but don’t forget that Katusha didn’t have the best of press last year regarding riders contracts.

  5. Robot

    @SinglespeedJarv This is a factor I considered. Wiggins (and Swift) have had a lot of success with British Cycling, though let’s be honest, those guys, Brailsford, et. al. haven’t done much on the road really.

    Still, I can completely understand why both riders would want to ride for Sky. More money. More comfort. Better personal relationships.

    Still, there are contracts and ways to get out of them, none of which includes slagging off your employer in the press.

  6. Alex

    I don´t like Wiggins. He doesn´t sound genuinely confident, more like trying to emulate confidence. And he´s a loud mouth.

    And it´s not even march and I´m already sick of watching Contador´s “pistol” celebrations everywhere. It´s ridiculous and annoying. I know this is completelly off-topic here but I just had to vent. He rides like the wind but I don´t like him either.

  7. EuskalNeale

    Wiggo will get torn up at the 2010 tour. If and this is a big if he does happen to get the yellow who is going to help him against the proven grand tour GC riders/teams: Radio Shack, Saxo Bank, Astana. My bold prediction he gets dropped on one of the early big mountain stages and heads home tail between his legs in the broom wagon.

  8. Alex Torres

    @Padraig: glad to help hehehe… But psyched about what exactly? If you mean riding, racing, reading or watching bike stuff, it would be easier for me to tell you one thing I´m NOT psyched about! :-p

    But OK, here it goes anyway: CLIMBING. And no, I´m not a grimpeur or anything like it. But it does get me pumped.

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