What a tour. What a win. A British win, and two thirds of the podium were British, with seven British stage wins too. Amazing…
What was that? Boring you say? Dear reader, you seem to be forgetting how exciting the first two weeks were!
And that’s the problem with this 2012 Tour – it will be remembered for the manner in which Team Sky shepherded the whole Tour in the final mountain stages. In reality it was only really three days on stages 15, 16 & 17, but for many those three days completely wiped out the thrill of weeks one and two. In fact with the reactions on Twitter you’d think those first two weeks had never happened at all.
The manner in which Wiggins won has been labelled boring, and many have claimed Froome was the stronger rider – but was it Team Sky dulling things down, or was it a lack of threat and attack from others that really did the damage? It’s not that nobody was allowed to put time into Wiggins – nobody else was strong enough to put any time into Wiggins because nobody else had the firepower to attack hard, fast or powerfully enough.
As for Froome, there were only really three moments that have made people believe he was the better rider – one of those resulted in a stage win, the second was the very obvious moment where he was called back, and the third was where everyone thought he could chase down Valverde and Wiggins even told him to go, but Froome himself decided not to. Add to that the fact that if he had of dug deep to go big on a mountain stage he would probably have lost even more time in the time trials – long TTs that perfectly suited Wiggins.
As for Team Sky, with the calibre and palmares of the team members it’s little wonder they had the strength to string out the peloton the way they did, stage after stage. When you spend £5million pulling together a strong team that is capable of winning the Tour, this is what happens. It was a well-drilled, hard-fought team effort, planned and executed impeccably. If it were a football team it would have been applauded for being such a dominating, all-encompassing performance.
And as for Wiggins? He had the strength to stay with Froome on each and every climb, and measured his efforts perfectly. He could have dug deeper, but in doing so would have risked making himself more tired for later stages and risked being able to ride the final TT in such a dominating fashion. When was the last time anyone defended the yellow jersey from so early on in the Tour until the end – stage 7 to stage 20?
Was he a boring winner? Hell no! How many yellow jerseys have you seen leading out for sprint finishes in recent tours – even just once, let alone twice or even THREE times and on the Champs Elysee to lead out the (British) World Champ?!! And that final TT effort for stage 19 proved that given the terrain of this year’s route Wiggins was the right Team Leader and the deserved victor. Finally, in complete contrast to Chain Gate, Wiggins showed exemplary sportsmanship in neutralising the chase so that BMC could bring Cuddles back into the main peloton in Tack Gate.
Are us Brits just being overly patriotic and jingoistic? Possibly. But Jesus, we’ve just had our first Tour de France winner! Give us our moment and stop complaining eh?!
There’s so many other things that can and will be said about this Tour: Team Sky, Chris Froome, Brad Wiggins, the time gaps, carpet tacks, doping, how different it would have been if Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador were riding it, and god knows how many other “yeah but” retorts. I doubt I’ll read any of them to be honest – I haven’t so far. I don’t care. Wiggins won and in fine style, and for that I am an immensely happy, proud Brit.
Tags:bradley wiggins,chris froome,mark cavendish,TdF,tdf12,Team Sky,Tour de France
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