Friday, 29 June 2012

TdF Preview

In lieu of any actual knowledge, facts or insider information, our overexcited heroine hands the cyclist a couple of painkillers and a Rum and Coke and asks him what's going to happen...

*Disclaimer - Other views are available, and possibly more valid than any expressed here.

Oh God I'm so excited.  Like I've regressed to being 8 and tomorrow's my birthday.  The TdF starts tomorrow! and Bradley Wiggins is going to win the winner! and a nation will rejoice! and there will be dancing in the streets! etc.

I really am very excited.  And I really do think Mr Wiggins is going to win the shit out of this.  And that is something I personally cannot wait to see.  A little vindication of my support, a tiny fragment of historic sporting victory I can share in my front room.  I've never invested any of myself in a sporting event or an athlete before, and a little part is the thrill of the anticipation of the event itself.

I guess I'm extremely lucky.  My growing interest in the sport coincides with a time where the British riders are a dominant force.  The British World Champion will contest the sprints.  The firm favourite being talked up to win the Yellow Jersey is British.  And it is highly expected that having returned victorious from the Tour, these two will, with the support of others, reign supreme at the Olympics on the road whilst their compatriots wipe the floor with all comers on the track.

I've always been a huge fan of Brad.  I love his bone dry sense of humour, his self depreciation.  It makes me laugh and reminds me of the cyclist sat next to me with his arm in a sling.  And I have nothing but respect for his abilities and achievements on a bike.  I want him to win.  I want him to win sooooo bad.  But that's not to say I don't love Cadel - I do.  And I am looking forward to these two gritty determined tough men going head to head in three weeks across France, without the distractions of Bert and Ernie Andy, neither of whom I've ever had much time for.

It's hard to deny this year's course suits Wiggins, what with the sheer quantity of TT kilometres.  And it seems to me that ASO are trying to mix the parcours up year on year.  Presumably this is another little slice of the Lance Legacy - a concerted effort to switch the courses to suit different types of riders in an effort not to let one rider garner win upon win, and run the risk that they too in time become bigger than the sport.  If this is their aim then it is one that I applaud.  There are too many risks to the brand of the 'Tour de France', too many questions automatically raised by multiple wins.

So now I've expressed my opinions, here's the interview I conducted with the cyclist after 2 prescription strength painkillers and a couple of Rum and Cokes, in full.

Can Wiggins win this?
'Wiggins will win this by at least 3 minutes.  Sky are going to boss the shit out of this, dominant to the point where people will start saying they ruined it.  He could've won last year had he not crashed.'
Can they (Sky) win both jerseys?
Will they try?
'No. They're sending Cav home early for the Olympics.  He's going for stage wins; my prediction - 3.  The Green Jersey is not his focus for the season like it was last year.  I'm sure he'd love another, but he wants the Olympic title more.'
Is Cadel a contender?
'He might podium, but he doesn't seem to have the edge he had last year, the edge that Wiggins has now.'
But has Brad peaked too soon?
'Don't be fooled.  Just because he's so dominant and taking big wins doesn't mean he's peaked, it's just the level he's at.  Another's 100% is his 95%.  Cadel is secretly shitting his pants.'
Who's going to win Green?
'Sagan.  He's clearly a fantastic rider, but he needs to learn how to conduct himself a little more professionally, he's in danger of stepping on toes.  He needs to learn which battles to fight, he's taking the mick rather than making his mark.  There's a lot of hype, and he's an awesome rider but he could quickly get too big for his boots.  He needs to mix it with the big boys and show what he's got.'
And the Mountains?
'Samuel Sanchez. He'll win with consistency rather than fireworks.'
Talk to me about the other contenders.  Frank Schleck?  Vincenzo Nibali?
'Both could top 5 and win stages, but neither can force an upset on GC.  Even if they do manage to take some time out of Wiggins on the big climbs, which is going to be a big ask given the team support Wiggins has, Brad will more than make this up on the time trials.  The time trials will be decisive.'
Do Team Sky have a plan B?
'To win it, no.  I'm sure there are various plan B's in the event of a crash like last year; I expect they'd ride for stages and possibly the Mountains Classification for Froome.'

So there you have it.  The cyclist has spoken and you all heard it.

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