Can Bradley Wiggins become Britain’s first Tour de France winner?

January 6, 2010

Can Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France?
It’s a simple question with a reasonably simple answer – yes, well maybe. Not necessarily this year but soon, if everything goes right and he stays fit.

Has he got the support every rider needs to win the Big One?
And some. Team Sky have put together a hand-picked 26-rider team that balances young thrusters and old hands and with the money of Sky and the inspiration and attention to detail of Dave Brailsford and his similarly hand-picked assistants, nothing will be left to chance.

Is he a stronger all-round rider than Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck or Lance Armstrong?
No. Well he was not last year when he finished fourth, but he said he surprised himself with how he has developed since, concentrating all his efforts on the road and he goes into the new season with a totally new mindset.

Will Contador, Schleck and Armstrong again be the men to beat?
Yes, this year at least. Contador still looks to be individually a class apart but his Astana team looks weaker this year. Armstrong could be stronger than in his comeback year but he is fighting a one-way battle against his 38-year-old body while Schleck could prove Wiggins’ biggest threat.

Does anyone in Britain care?
Well Mark Cavendish finished fourth in the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards last year and Chris Hoy won it in 2008 so cycling awareness is definitely on the up. The Tour de France remains the only race to gain any substantial media coverage in the UK and even that is a fraction of what it gets on the Continent.

So if Wiggins becomes the first Briton to win the race he’s guaranteed the BBC title in 2010?
Unfortunately not – that will be going to England’s World Cup-winning captain John Terry following his emotional conversion of the 11th spot kick in the marathon final penalty shoot over victory over Brazil in Johannesburg…

PHOTO: Britain’s Bradley Wiggins cycles during the men’s time trial race at the world cycling championships in Mendrisio September 24, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


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***Can Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France ?
– Yes and no. He has a big engine and showed last year he could follow almost everyone in the mountains but at the expense of his time trial abilities. He might, though, have to wait for Contador to have a (very) bad year since he can’t count on the Spaniard to retire before he does.
*** Has he got the support every rider needs to win the Big One ?
– Again, yes and no. On the flat stages, he will have everything he needs with Boasson Hagen, Lovkvist, etc. But in the mountains, it’s gonna be another story. Simon Gerrans might be the only one to really pull him. Sky have a team to win many races this season – they may end the year as the world number one but it might still be a bit weak for the mountain stages on the Tour.
Contador’s Astana are not that strong but the Spaniard will be with Vinokourov and Pereiro, who have already proven they could be strong in the mountains.
A. Schleck will have his brother Frank while Armstrong will have the strongest support in Kloeden, Leipheimer.
*** Is he a stronger all-round rider than Alberto
Contador, Andy Schleck or Lance Armstrong?
No. But he might finish in front of Armstrong as the American will be more exposed now that he is not in Contador’s team anymore…
*** Will Contador, Schleck and Armstrong again be the men to beat?
Contador will be the man to beat. His team is weaker but he is still, by far, the best rider in the world. I think Wiggo can hope for a podium finish.
***Does anyone in Britain care?
I live in Paris

Posted by julien.pretot | Report as abusive

And if he does, will we be able to watch it on TV? If he’s riding for a Sky team, can a bid to take the Tour off our screens be far behind?

It must be sweet to an Aussie, making us Brits pay to watch any sports we start getting any good at….

Posted by IanKemmish | Report as abusive

I don’t think anyone in Britain is that interested – and it has to be said, watching paint dry is generally far more exciting than the Tour de France. Apparently it becomes more gripping if you are a real TdF “nerd” and know all the team tactics, but I have never got to that stage, and although the race practically goes past my front door here every year (rural southern France) I have always managed to miss it. Doing the rubbish triage and catching the bin men always seems more appealing that day.

Posted by CO2-Exhaler | Report as abusive

Bradley Wiggins will never win the Tour de France. While he is a fantastic rider, and he has no parallel on the track, his performance in last years TdF is no better than Christian VandeVelde from the year prior. In every tour, there is always the overachiever that manages to hang on to the favorites. The only difference is the propensity of the British media to completely over blow the accomplishments and the prospects of any and every British sportsman…see David Beckham, Wayne Rooney etc.

Posted by pswaze | Report as abusive