Wiggins’ Winning Ways

Bradley Wiggins is remaking the Tour de France in his own image. He has illustrated that there’s no such thing as an incumbent at the Tour de France, and all who hope to pull on the Golden Fleece must make their well-timed move with confidence, and after considerable preparation.

There can be little doubt about Wiggins’ preparation. In early March he won Paris-Nice, wearing the leader’s jersey for all but the prologue and opening stage, and taking out the final time trial—a mere 9.6km, but battled uphill. Next, at the end of April, he scored a win in the opening road stage of the Tour of Romandie, which allowed him to take the leader’s jersey once again. Luis Leon Sanchez did take the jersey off the Brit’s shoulders for a day, but in the final time trial Wiggins trounced Sanchez, taking back the yellow jersey and becoming only the second rider in 20 years to win Paris-Nice and Romandie in the same season.

Wiggins then confirmed that he was no spring champion with his performance at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Wiggins won the Dauphiné last year before crashing out of the Tour. Wiggins finished a single second down on Luke Durbridge in the brief prologue. Again, Wiggins took the leader’s yellow jersey following the opening road stage and held his one-second lead over Cadel Evans until the time trial. Of course, Wiggins killed it in the time trial; so great was his speed that he warped the space-time continuum to the point that he finished before Evans even started. Okay, not quite.

That time trial performance deserves a bit more scrutiny; we’ll get to it in a minute. Naturally, Wiggins went on to win the Critérium du Dauphiné and in so doing became the first rider in history to win Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné in the same season. Statistically, that makes him a pretty serious outlier, a less-than-1-percenter. As it is, only two riders have won both the Tour of Romandie and the Tour de France in the same season: Stephen Roche did (in 1987, natch) and Cadel Evans did it last year.

Here’s where a discussion of peak form comes into play. For Paris-Nice, Wiggins’ stiffest competition came from Lieuwe Westra, the Dutchman riding for Vacansoleil. The closest competition Wiggins had from a certified Tour de France GC contender was Andreas Klöden in 18th place, more than six minutes down.

At Romandie the Brit faced guys like Sanchez, Andrew Talansky and Rui Costa. Real Tour GC guys like Michael Rogers and Roman Kreuziger were showing up in the top 10, but were nearly a minute down.

At the Dauphiné Wiggins faced serious competition from guys like Michael Rogers and Cadel Evans, guys tuning up for the Tour de France. Despite giving up a few seconds to Rogers and 10 seconds to Evans on the final stage, Wiggins took the Dauphiné by 1:17, his largest margin to that point in the season. It’s possible that Wiggins wasn’t on peak form in March at Paris-Nice, but there is no doubt he was on better form than other riders with Tour aspirations. It’s hard to say he wasn’t on something approaching peak form at Romandie: he was definitely revved higher than his peers. But the Dauphiné? Few guys ever get the opportunity to show the kind of form at the Dauphiné that Wiggins displayed. How could that not be peak?

Here’s what leaves me scratching my head: The Dauphiné TT was 53km. Wiggins put 1:43 into Evans. In yesterday’s stage 9 TT, Wiggins put 1:43 into Evans, but the length of the event was only 41.5km. It shows that he is on even better form now than he was at the Dauphiné.

I’ve been thinking that Wiggins has been riding a wave of peak form dating to Romandie, the last week of April. That puts him in his 10th week of peak form. I’ve been telling people Wiggins will flame out, pointing out how no one in history has ever won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France all in the same season.

That bears repeating: No one, not even the insatiable Cannibal himself, ever won Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France all in the same season.

Clearly, he’s not days from flaming out based on his ride in stage 9. But his form is too amazing to ignore, and by that I mean his form has been so good for so long that people are taking notice of more than just him winning. His form has crossed that threshold into being conspicuous. People are wondering if he might be doping.

It’s a shame, really. Everything we know about Sky is that the program has been, like Garmin-Sharp, at the very vanguard of clean cycling. Much of the brouhaha surrounds accusations by l’Equipe, the French sports daily known for having sourced information on positive EPO tests by Lance Armstrong. The Texan’s methods notwithstanding, l’Equipe has been just partisan enough in their reporting that it’s fair to wonder if they wouldn’t chase after any cyclist whose first language is English.

But the trajectory Wiggins is on is just the sort of physical miracle that draws attention. To use a literary term, his form has bumped up against our suspension of disbelief. And here’s a corollary to l’Equipe‘s susicion: at Romandie, Sky teammate Chris Froome finished the TT 39th, 1:45 down on Wiggins. At the Dauphiné Froome was sixth, 1:33 behind, and only 10 seconds faster than Evans. However, in stage 9 of the Tour, Froome was a stunning second, 35 seconds behind his team leader and 1:08 faster than the Tour’s defending champion.

Wiggins needs to understand that rides of that caliber don’t just suggest questions, they beg them. For my part, I sincerely hope he’s clean, because as long as he keeps winning the questions will keep coming and the quotes will be unpublishable in most locations. Hilarious, but unpublishable. His could be an unhappy tenure at the top.


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Wsquared

    Padraig, when I read the news of the Di Gregorio bust today, I have to admit that one of the first thoughts that popped into my head was, “I wonder if they will offer him immunity in return for testimony that he witnessed Wiggo doping when they were teammates on Cofidis back in 2007.”

    I would be very dissapointed if he is a doper, and I have no reason other than his performance to wonder about that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that way. He wouldn’t be the first guy to vociferously and self-righteously proclaim his innocence before a bust to have feet of clay. David Millar comes to mind.

    My initial reaction also begs the question about the potential unintended consequences of offering immunity in return for testimony. I don’t want to start that mind numbing USADA/Armstrong debate all over again, but such are the times in which we live.

  2. chris

    Regarding if what we are seeing is extraterrestrial…. The Science of Sport has a good write up and also links to a new piece by Joe Lindsey.

  3. scaredskinnydog

    I think Wiggins deserves the benefit of the doubt because of his cycling pedigree. The dude has a closet full of Olympic medals and has been showing serious GC potential for years now. I think that if a journalist is going to be disrespectful enough to accuse him of doping during a post race press conference then they should at least back the question with some science. i.e. “Brad how does a rider who weighs x kilo’s produce x amount of watts for x amount of time?”. At least then they’ll be asking an educated disrespectful question instead of a stupid disrespectful question.

  4. Steven

    Wiggins has not and will not “peak” this season: http://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/brad-wiggins-lauds-new-training-philosophy-34204/

    He’s using an approach to training that keeps him 95-97% throughout most of the season. This is how he was able to perform so consistently this season. I’m not his biggest fan but I highly doubt he dopes based on his methodological approach to training, preparing (previewing courses), and racing (using teammates and wattage numbers to pace climbs to near perfection).

    However, I think it is good the people remain skeptical as to his, and other riders’ performances as it encourages riders to be an open book about how they prepare for their races. And for Wiggins to lash out at people questioning him is a bit of an overreaction given the history of “champions” of the sport, like you said.

    The article Chris mentions is here: http://www.sportsscientists.com/2012/07/tour-in-mountains-analysis-discussion.html

    Basically what they say is: The power numbers produced by Wiggins et. al. are within the physiological limitations of the human body but do not disprove the presence of doping.

    1. Author

      The idea that anyone can maintain peak form (and 95% is as peak as most of us ever achieve) is as laughable as wondering why anyone didn’t just pedal harder to win a race. It doesn’t matter if the numbers he’s generating are within the mortal range. That fact that he can produce them for months on end is enough to justify, nay, demand suspicion. Anyone who has ever tried to maintain peak form for more than about eight weeks can tell a pretty good story about how they came crashing back to earth courtesy that little equalizer known as fatigue.

  5. Jon

    Padraig, completely right that the performance begs the question of doping but, and perhaps I am off the mark, but I no longer find that I care. I certainly hope he is clean but at the end of it all I want to see a great race and not wonder and think about the element of doping. My concern is for the image of the sport and the ridiculous (but repeated) pattern of seeing the Tour champion determined in court months or years after the case. Again, maybe I am off the mark, but as the years pass I am less concerned with the ethics / fairness etc of doping than with the impact to the image of the sport and the unsatisfying conclusion to this great race in which I find myself waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the “winner” to be disgraced and replaced.

  6. skeptics anonymous

    great article. wiggo is having an incredible year. too incredible. people that cite his track accomplishments need to realize what a different world grand tours are. and further, i can’t buy such consistently good/great form over this length of time. people defending sky act like it would so incredible that a pro cycling team would be guilty of such shenanigans…

  7. Wsquared

    Doper or not, Armstrong also argueably had a revolutionary approach to year round training, nutrition, equipment etc compared to his predecessors and most of his contemporaries like Fat Jan. When he started winning all those Tours, that meant zilch to a lot of his doubters, especially in the French press. I believe thats one of the points Padraig is making in his piece. Winning a lot, especially by large amounts, will release the hounds, deservedly or not.

  8. Steven

    Perhaps I was being obtuse. When I quoted 95-97% that wasn’t to mean that he is at 95-97% of his physiological potential, rather the percentage is of his abilities at his current fitness level. Evans, Nibali, et. al. will be looking to peak in the last week or two of the Tour, and peaking will allow them to perform beyond 100% of their current fitness level, perhaps 102% or more. Sorry for the mistake. (reference: The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel)

    I agree that his results seem crazy. With three stage wins this year, he’s doing something that was before unheard of in the sport. And definitely this should generate some skepticism. And I hope in the coming weeks/months he can alleviate our concerns with more of a discussion about his unique way of approaching his season.

  9. eatmorelard

    What happens to good old instinct and panache? Is racing becoming too scientific with power meters et al? What are we going to see next, Cadel going up the road and Wiggo not responding because his power meter says 420W and that’s what he has to ride at? Sometimes you just have to put everything on the line… bugga the data!

  10. DaBoo

    I believe what he is doing is possible without doping. You mentioned that Merckx didn’t win all of those races in one year but besides those victories, what can Wiggo claim? Unlike Merckx who destroyed people all year, Bradley goes back into hibernation/training between each of those events. Not a luxury most pros can afford but it seems to be working for him.

  11. slow4aturtle

    eatmorelard, I know it will never happen and but the cycling romantic in me would love to see a grand tour raced with no radios, no power meters, no computers at all and…no minimal race vehicles–say a few neutral service vehicles and a bunch of tv motorbikes. Just guys on their bikes exceedingly well televised! That would be awesome.

  12. slow4aturtle

    In the article on bike radar about his new program Wiggins is quoted: “It’s just trying to be 95, 97% all year and constantly working…The only downside is that it’s mentally difficult…”
    I guess a Giro-Tour double should be pretty simple on that program!
    And at least Lance has the manners to not swear when he bullies people, at least when he bullies publicly.

  13. Diablo de Acero

    He has 10 or 11 more stages to defend the yellow jersey. If he can’t be shaken of it , this tour will be the most BORING tour ever. It is be like being dragged to see Coldplay in concert by your girlfriend. The calculation and minute details are just killing it. There should be more attacks and breakaways. If you are a team with barely a hope to get the G.C. then it is your job to make it hell for the powderpuff teams. The G.C. should always be threatened. A friend of mine always says about racing ” If you can’t take it all…die laughing”.

  14. Randomactsofcycling

    Let me preface this by making it obvious that I am an Aussie and an avid Cadel supporter.

    There’s still two more weeks of the Tour to go. Lots of mountains, another long TT. Perhaps Wiggins won’t wilt, but can his entire team maintain this? Dodger doesn’t have a pedigree in Grand Tours (other than crashing out) and Froome and Porte each have one good GC result in a GT. They are currently flogging themselves to death and very soon will find ALL the other teams riding against them.

    As for Bradley,…. I’m sorry but…. Oh let’s not go there.
    I think he will find that his and Sky’s analytical approach might work against them. There are too many unpredictable variables that can change the landscape in two more weeks. Evan’s didn’t win the Tour until he had the self confidence to take charge of the race. Wiggins still seems to want to win by defending.

  15. Vince

    No matter what his methods, that Wiggins kid is an outlier amongst outliers. Personally, I prefer to just enjoy the spectacle and avoid the rags that publish needless, damaging, uncredible speculation. If Wiggins is caught for doping in the future, I will curse the gods, ponder the complexities of life, erase Wiggins from my memory, and seek out some other outlier to entertain me. No reason to spoil the fun we are having now, right?

    Anyhow, as freakish as Wiggins appears, he’s got nothing on Baron Edouard Louis Joseph Merckx of 1974: Eddy looks to have peaked from the Spring classics all the way to World’s and Lombardia, while winning the Tour, the Giro, and Suisse in between. Definitely can’t call that a peak. Wow!

    Here’s to the beautiful weirdos and statistical anomalies that keep us entertained!

  16. Chromatic Dramatic

    An interesting article. My only contribution to this is to say we shouldn’t necessarily make comparisons between the likes of Wiggins and Merckx. The eras were just so different. While I’m relatively new to the sport, from what I understand the Merckx era was so much different than it is today, in that they didn’t aim to peak at one event (even though Wiggins has been winning early, I still think you can say the aim is to peak at TdF), where as in Merckx ear the aim was to win everything.

    But the extension of that, means the ability of Wiggins to win for so long in an era of “peaking”, is that the questions / scepticism he may have doped are greater.

    Being relatively new to the sport, my first reaction is not “he must have doped”, but wow, he is unbelievable and is by far and away the favourite and only he can lose the tour at this point. Maybe I’m being naive, but I when Landis bounced back, I immediately thought “doper”.

  17. Lachlan

    I’m surprised you jump so clearly and unequivocally to accusation of clear doping. Indurain used to trounce TT’s by much more, Lance and postal used to dominate since-proven doped riders far more comprehensively stage after stage, and few people have riden so few races in a year… his “peak” has not been constant, but interspaced with far more rest than most racers even today have. Sure its an impressive performance so far. But perhaps you’re going a little too far in the comparisons to try and paint the picture of a clear doper.

    Particularly seems odd given how much love you have personally given Lance and Bruyneel over the years.

  18. Lachlan

    PS. the 1% outlier comment is way off the mark… picking certain event wins as any kind of statistical comparison doesn’t cut it given the difference in those events their differing lengths and undulating importance to both riders and eras of cycling… like others say above, look at the power and physiological data if you want a non-analytic positive of the sort you are attempting to build a case for here, not 3 races picked over the course of a season! If Eddie, Lance, Contador or whoever made those targets, and only those targets, you’re saying they could not possibly humanly have won them?… So does that apply to anyone winning more than 3 races a year? Guess it’s every champion ever in the sport, huh? more than 3 races, more than 8 weeks apart = doper? Really?

  19. noel

    next week’s article – ‘Why Sagan is a doper’
    I guess because of cycling’s past we just have to accept that the negative, conspiracy theorist, glass half empty types will come out of the woodwork at every opportunity. What a drag.

    1. Author

      Everyone: thanks for your comments. That said, let’s be clear: I’m not accusing Wiggins of doping; I’m pointing out why the question is being asked and trying to place it in a larger context.

    2. Author

      Lachlan: You’ve missed the point of the outlier comment. The world is a bell curve. Wiggins has done something no one else has ever done before in winning those three races in the same season, an achievement that puts him at the extreme end of that curve. That makes him, his achievement, an outlier. I’m not accusing him of doping. I’m saying that when people want to scrutinize him, there are objective reasons to consider to back up those questions. Let’s put it another way: Why has no one else in the history of bike racing (or at least going back to the start of Romandie in 1947) ever won those three races in the same season? Is it just because no one cares about them and they are focusing on bigger goals? I don’t think so.

      Wiggins has brought the scrutiny on himself by riding so well. For him to insult those who who ask the question, “Why is Wiggins so phenomenally fit?” is to cheapen his own achievement.

      I sincerely hope he’s clean.

  20. Tom

    And is Alberto was racing this year, and he had kept pace with Wiggo, no doubt we’d be ignoring Wiggo and wondering quite loudly if El Pistolero is on the juice again…

  21. Vallen

    One thing that has not been answered anywhere is now Wiggins gas dropped 12kg muscle mass and simultaneously gained more power? The expectation of course would be improved climbing at the expense of his TT. Yet we’ve seen a significant improvement in both. Riding for Cofidis/HR/Garmin, his body fat % would already have been less than 3% so where did the weight loss come from if not from muscle? Flags ass sorts of alarm bells for mine.

    Don’t even get me started with Froome.

  22. Big Mikey

    Thanks Padraig, for saying what needs to be said in an evenhanded overview. The English speaking boards are overrun by those blindly supporting Wiggins, a la the pro-Armstrong camp in years past.

    It would be absolutely shocking to see that an entire team, especially one affiliated with British cycling, was undertaking a doping program, but a lot of things this team is doing are astounding, which raises the eyebrows.

    The concept of a swimming coach providing some breakthrough in training science that all the cycling coaches in history haven’t discovered is simply laughable. It’s more of the “our guy is our guy, so therefore he’s not cheating” syndrome.

    Froome, in particular, bears scrutiny. He’s just beaten the best in the world in a time trial, and he’s a climber. When you’re the best climber and the best ITT rider, it bear questioning.

  23. Alex TC

    SKY and Wiggins… I´m pretty positive they don´t care what is being said about how boring they´re making the race. They just want to win, ´cos in the end and at the bottom, that´s what really matters. Sponsor hunting and putting your name on the books forever. Money and glory, to live now and forever. Period.

    Everything else floats bellow and goes away. It´s just fan talk that disappears like smoke in the wind after the Tour is over and everyone is looking ahead for the next season. No one will be talking about boring racing, radio tactics and minute calculation in 10, 20 or 30 years. But in a 100 years, Wiggin´s name will be talked just like we talk Coppi or Merckx (well, maybe not like them but you get my meaning…).

    I´ve got shelves and shelves of cycling books telling stories of the past about how boring it was every time a team/rider dominated the Tour. Fans booing, spitting, threatening and even punching Merckx, Anquetil and Hinault. But all that´s left is their heroic palmares and feats in cycling. Who cares.

    That said… their sport is riding, ours is talking and speculating so… allez guys! (LOL).

  24. Lachlan

    No I think you missed the point of using a statistical term as a colorful metaphor for a non statistical comparison of cherry picked events. (fair journalism to a point, but only to a point)

    And the strength of tone in your piece is pretty clear in what you think he’s doing 😉
    I agree in that I hope he’s clean though 😉 … and the evidence of the sport scientists links above seems considerably more reassuring that he at least could easily be clean, than is the evidence suggesting the opposite of saying three races won over a season suggests he’s guilty (bearing in mind, two of those races are pretty short… its not like he’s acing 3 grand tours here!).

    Of course that’s no proof of innocence, but the ‘indicators’ of guilt here are basically pretty weak so far, unless you already didn’t like Wiggin’s (which of course you didn’t for many other reasons like how he left Garmin etc).

    1. Author

      Lachlan: How much racing have you done? Trying to peak once a month for a week is a variety of training science that I’ve yet to encounter in any literature. If it was so easily achievable, why hasn’t anyone else managed it? Compare that with all the riders who did the Paris-Nice and Tour de France double in the same year. Those guys weren’t riding at the same level as Wiggins in May and June.

      To call it cherry picking is an extreme oversimplification. And I believe you have read more into my tone than is there. Wiggins insulted everyone who is willing to ask how he achieved such form. Cycling brought this scrutiny on itself. He needs to be willing to deal with that. We’re going to ask questions. I’m simply pointing out why people are asking questions.

  25. gmknobl

    You raise a legit point Padraig. If they have a revolutionary training philosophy, great. But so did Armstrong. For that matter, so did Lemond. But questions were raised on Armstrong and the weight of evidence is against him now even if nothing is proven. There is evidence that Wiggins is capable of great things and his past team mates have said how incredibly fast he is when he really wants to be. But that’s not unusual either.

    I suggest the numbers be looked at on his performance as was mentioned in a previous post. From memory, people were saying how incredible Armstrong’s performances were. How do Wiggins numbers compare to him. Better? Better sustained? What about what Lemond has been saying on looking at other numeric info?

    I won’t draw any conclusions but people should ask questions and deserve clear, open answers that include real data; that includes blood profiles too. I’d like to see the answers. I’d also like to see Wiggins win clean. But at this point, though it never can be proven, I’d like to see strong evidence supporting a clean win, and that evidence should be given willingly and rapidly.

  26. punkture

    For those describing Froome as a climber thats not really true is it. That would be like describing Sagan as a sprinter. Froome was 2nd to Wiggins in the 2010 UK TT champs and has always done well as a Tester. Hes really begun to shine and fulfil all that early potential after that horrible illness.

    As for Wiggins it is worth bearing in mind that he has always been one of the best in the world against the clock and his 4th place in the 2009 Tour was only after Van de Velde crashed out as team leader. How well would he have done if he was team leader and protected from the start?! He has 3 guys defending him who could be GC threats in their own right: Porte, Froome and Rogers and EBH, Cavendish, Eisel etc aren’t exactly slouches. Plus Wiggins’ opposition at Romandie and Paris-Nice was hardly taxing. Lieuwe Westra? The fact that Westra was so close to Wiggins shows that he wasn’t at his peak there though he was well protected and rode well when he had to.

    It is disapointing that he and Sky arent more open about doping. I always had time for Wiggins because of his apparent disdain for dopers. The way he is brushing stuff off sounds a bit like the Armstrong way of doing things and no one wants that back in the sport. I do hope hes clean

  27. LD

    Riders need to stop complaining about the questions asked about their sport. Clean or not…. They’ve brought on themselves. I concur…. Lost weight? Scientific training innovations by a swimming coach so you can peak all year long?! I want some of THAT kool aid Sky is serving up!!!

  28. Jonathan

    Wiggins called those who question his cleanliness f*cking wankers and c*nts. Why not just say “nah bruv, I’m clean as a whistle”?
    Had a whole diatribe written but just can’t bothered arguing anymore.
    Hoping for a slightly more interesting 2nd and 3rd week of the tour.

  29. Lachlan

    Padraig: I’ve won a few 😉 (still hold some course records as it happens!)- many years ago I’ll admit. But come on it’s beneath you to have a go at my racing pedigree because I call you out on bad use of (or misunderstanding of what a bell curve is or applies to) and on that basis disagree that 3 races (including one grand tour) spread over the year is an exceptionally suspicious performance. Perhaps I’m wrong but to back up your argument can you show me that one grand tour + two other stage races in the year is a “never-before” performance? That would at least be an accurate sample to base your ‘outlier’ claim on.

    As for questions on doping, plenty of analysis and commentary on doping has been made by sky many times. Though don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting they (or any team frankly) is perfect on it. But They’re not a silent black box on it and I don’t think deserve the level of accusation you level in the article above based on the actual facts as we can see them today. (perhaps as we go on more damming evidence will turn up, but neither I personally, nor the power data available to date sees it.

    Likewise rather than float a dumb question using a twitter comment as the basis, I would rather journalists actually did some investigation of the sort even a google search will provide regarding the physiology of Wiggin’s and the rest of the current Tours performances. What truth or insight do you really expect to get from asking the same dope question to every yellow jersey? That’s the lowest form of journalism and certainly not going to reassure anyone, prevent future dopers, shed light on past dopers… nope none of that, maybe just get a banal headline…. or one to throw faux moral outrage at if the rider questioned happens to be a Londoner who is as happy using the C word to tell some one they’re bad at their job as Wiggins is! I’d say it’s the journalist who insulted Brad AND insulted the public by being so lazy looking for a cheap shot rather than real answers on doping.

  30. Lachlan

    In short on your last point – if the questions you think are worth asking about doping are ones at a press conference to the yellow jersey at the end of a stage, we definitely will get nowhere against doping, and would never even have got as far as we have. Did all the monotony of lazy questions to Lance over the years reveal anything? Or people actually going out and trying to find stuff out or measure things? On that, love or hate their style, the french press at least managed to ask and possibly answer some real doping questions over the years.

  31. Alex TC

    Kimmage has manifested already. I´d really like to hear LeMond´s opinion about all this. And I´m serious about it.

  32. GZA

    Sad, Sad, Sad, no evidence just accusations of doping. I absolutely understand why peeps are digging – Wiggins is not to everyones taste, but that does not make him a doper.

  33. Kermit

    There are obviously many questions about Wiggins, ok,
    But what I don’t like is that two or three people from his team are better on the mountains than a lot of other competitors that have proven their strengh in the past in such case. This is the model used by Indurain and Lance Armstrong in the past. Some middle bikers became great for a period until they were caught, ie liv leipeimer, anonymous cycler today… The trial is falsed by that global approach, not because only one player is loaded…. I guess Wiggins is the best this years but I prefer Cadel’s tears last year in Paris and his weakness this year. Would the weak of emotion be finally the best doping indicator ? Anquetil, Merckx, Fignon, Indurain, Armstrong… Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds …

  34. Jon Savage

    The notion of being able to perform @95%ish year round really bothers me. I *hope* Wiggins is not doping but do feel the question is being justly asked. I’d really like to not have the dour winner decided months later by the CAS.

  35. Wsquared

    It wouldn’t surprise me if both Cavendish and Froome start looking for new teams as soon as they can wiggle out of their contracts with Sky. Why play second fiddle to Bradley for years to come in cycling’s biggest race? Both of them can find teams that will build squads around them and totally dedicate their efforts to winning their respective classifications in the Tour.

  36. Lachlan

    Cav blinded by some sort of patriotism maybe? Gilbert… can’t even imagine. (not that he’s quite managed to get the form yet)

  37. Duck


    A bloke I used to work with used to say the following: “Any question about the entertainment industry that begins with the word ‘Why’ can be answered with the word ‘Money.’ ”

    I have not, in the 20 years since, come across anything which would contradict that statement, so I’m going to assume that Cavendish and Gilbert signed with their respective new teams because those offers far exceeded anything else that was on the table.

    1. Author

      Duck: So true, so true. But there’s a feedback loop at work here: If they don’t win, they aren’t worth much and the money goes away … and that begs the question all over again.

  38. Steve

    You are spot on. Wiggins, should be take the yellow jersey all the way to Paris and, God forbid, win additional gold in London, will be FOREVER hounded by the “shadow conspiracy” mongers and “always-ready-for-a-scandal-even-if-we-have-to-invent-it” journalists. Maybe Wiggins might even end up being a pen pal with Lance Armstrong in order to learn from Lance’s experience in being vilified for success. Sorry, jolly ol’ England. True heroes in the era of yellow journalism and the more often than not unsubstantiated information posted on an unfettered Internet are no longer possible.

  39. Tom Knox

    I respect the varied opinions here, but have found it pretty easy to tell who is doping over the years, and have watched Wiggo’s rise to top form. I really think he is the real deal. Time will tell.

  40. Wsquared

    ^ Great Tom. We can dispense with WADA, USDA and drug testing and just let you make the call. Lots of brain damage avoided and money saved!

  41. Full Monte

    And, in Froome’s case, it seems for the past year or so he’s been battling a rare water-borne parasite he’s picked up in Africa. The “spider” had been unable to train for much of the spring, battling fatigue, drowsiness, gastrointestinal disorders and severe medicinal side-effects. Yet, here he is a few months later in the TdF riding with world class form and power, second overall and killing the TTs and climbs. Doesn’t make sense, and doesn’t fit the training explanation Wiggins is offering for his personal (and his team’s) astounding performance.

  42. Diablo de Acero

    What bothers me about the tour at this second is the fact that we will not know if the best man will win the tour. Froome is a rock in a hard place. If he doesn’t attack Wiggins in the mountains and take time. Wiggins will not race for his life in the final tt. I hope the other teams make a deal will Nibali and work to shake or rattle position 1&2. Otherwise we should just stop watching now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *