So the answer to last week‘s question…
“Will Cav be willing to carry bottles and close gaps for Wiggo?”
…is ‘yes‘. Heartwarming and humbling to see the Manx phenomenon back in the convoy stuffing his arc-en-ciel World Champion’s jersey with bottles. Presumably he’ll get his reward in Surrey and the South Western suburbs on July 28th?
Anonymous suggestions that Wiggins and his dominant team are beginning to look like Lance Armstrong and US Postal, against whom evidence of – to use the traditional euphemism – scientific preparation has been building for years, led to a sweary outburst from the lanky lad from the Edgware Road.
“I say they’re just fucking wankers. I cannot be doing with people like that.
“It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can’t ever imagine applying themselves to do anything in their lives.
“It’s easy for them to sit under a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of shit, rather than get off their arses in their own lives and apply themselves and work hard at something and achieve something. And that’s ultimately it. Cunts.”
Reaction to Wiggins’ tirade – which provided a refreshing contrast to the customary platitudes of elite sport-stars – illustrates the particular status of the top rank of road-racers.
When a soccer player mouths off or throws a punch it’s a scandal leading to disgrace and suspension. Uncouth behaviour is not encouraged among bike racers, it may even attract nominal fines, but there’s a general climate of tolerance. These are not normal people and it’s unfair to apply normal standards to them.
Take, for example, Oscar Freire, who fell in the massive high-speed chute 25 kilometres from the end of Stage Six. He got up and rode to the finish and thus retained the right to start stage Seven. Once over the line it turned out Freire had raced fifteen miles with a punctured lung.
If you or I fell off our bikes and put a rib through a lung we’d be glad to take the ambulance and morphine option and probably not ride for a month. Oscar’s first thought was avoiding elimination.
The rash of crashes in the first week clarified the Wiggins/Cavendish situation by removing any realistic possibility of Mark contesting the Green Jersey. Wiggins succeeded in – not only battering the opposition in Monday’s time trial – but also put a little time into his strongest team-mate Froome, thus winning continued, loyal support from the whole squad.
The question “Are Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky too much like Lance Armstrong and US Postal?” is foolish. It’s certain that any team-mate who out-shone Armstrong – in the way that Froome bested Wiggins in last years Tour of Spain, would have been out. And the idea of Armstrong allowing a World Champion sprint specialist in his team is unimaginable. Wiggins is a bike-racer not an old school Patron like Hinnault or Merckx.