Let the mind games begin

News & Results

12/19/2012| 0 comments
by Neil Browne
Christopher Froome can climb and “accidentally” dropped Bradley Wiggins on the La Toussuire in the 2012 Tour de France Fotoreporter Sirotti

Let the mind games begin

The opening salvos of the 2013 Tour de France have already begun.

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I was quoting Team Sky management regarding the grand tours in 2013. It seemed that Bradley Wiggins wasn’t going to defend his Tour de France victory. Instead he was going to focus on the Giro d’Italia – a race that suited his abilities. His teammate Chris Froome was Sky’s go-to rider for the Grande Boucle, which made sense. While Wiggins is a strong climber, his forte is the individual time trial – something the 2012 Tour had plenty of (including the prologue, 100 kilometers worth). However, in the 2013 Tour de France there is only 65 kilometers of racing against the clock. If you include stage 4’s team time trial in Nice it bumps the total to 90 kilometers.

There was also the late breaking news last week of Saxo-Tinkoff Bank awarded a place in the WorldTour meaning Alberto Contador will return to the Tour in 2013. Like Wiggins, Contador is a double threat: he can time trial and climb. Contador’s style of climbing, in comparison to Wiggins’, is explosive. The Englishman grinds along at a steady tempo with few changes. How many attacks would it take before Contador pops Wiggins on a climb?

Fortunately in the Sky stables is a rider who could match the Spanish rider, Chris Froome. As we witnessed in this year’s Tour, Froome can climb and “accidentally” dropped Wiggins on the La Toussuire.

Froome was asked after that stage if he knew he could win the Tour and he replied, “Maybe one day.”

That day seemed to be now as Sky’s team principal Dave Brailsford told Froome he would be the protected rider at the 2013 Tour de France. That made sense. With the 2013 route heavy on the climbs and light on the time trials Froome was a logical choice. Even Bradley stated that much at the Tour de France presentation saying he was probably going to focus on the Giro d’Italia.

Wiggo told Eurosport, “It is just beautiful. I’d love to win that pink jersey as well as the yellow.”

There we go – Wiggins for the Giro, which I would bet even money for the win and Froome battling Contador in July. But hold the horses ... that might have changed.

This past weekend was the BBC Sports Person of the Year Awards (SPOTY). It’s the British version of the ESPY Award, but instead of an academy that votes for the winner, the British public calls in deciding the winner – very democratic. Not even the Queen can decide the winner, but she does get a phone call.

Among the list of 12 SPOTY contenders was Bradley Wiggins. The award has the word “personality” in the beginning, so that should tell you that the winner must have that in spades in order to win. Oh, and be British too.

So going down the personality check list let’s see how Brad did.

1. Calling people who questioned his dominance during the Tour, “F-ing wankers”, “bone idle” and “c***s” during a press conference is an indication of

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