Let the mind games begin

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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.

a knee injury and Hinault took his historic fifth Tour win. His American lieutenant Greg LeMond was there to help – which he did. In fact LeMond did such a good job that Hinault promised he’d help Greg win the ’86 Tour. We all know how well that turned out.

Alliances were made within the team, splitting the squad. Hinault, instead of assisting, attacked LeMond. In the end LeMond scored his first of three Tour wins and Hinault claimed that his aggressive riding was just his way of wearing down the competition. If you believe that, Bernard can also sell you the Eiffel Tower at a deal...

Fast forward to more recent Tours and we have the famous Contador versus Lance Armstrong battle in 2009 when both were teammates on Astana. Early on Armstrong took every advantage to make the Tour more difficult for Contador. In the fifth stage the now disgraced Armstrong attacked on a crosswind that split the field, not waiting for Contador. Armstrong also took to Twitter to snipe at Contador – all during the Tour! Not really examples of team building. In the end Contador was victorious and Armstrong finished third (now stripped from him) – taking his loyal foot soldiers with him to a new formation, Team RadioShack.

Fast forwarding again to 2012 and we’re set for another inter-team battle: Froome versus Wiggins. On the surface Wiggins is playing it cool by saying the team will see how the race plays out to determine leadership. Froome is also playing the game by stating that Sky could go with a two-pronged attack. The way to determine who is telling the truth could be revealed in their Christmas card list.

If we could get a list of riders Froome sent a holiday card to it would be telling. Did he send any to some teammates that would protect him in the hills? How about a card to the rouleurs on the team who will keep him in the running during the team time trial? And importantly, did Brad get a card?

The same can be asked of Brad – who made his Christmas card list? You can be certain that Michelle and Catherine Wiggins aren’t exchanging “Secret Santa” gifts at the Team Sky Christmas party. Those two WAGS took to twitter to sling mud at each other’s partner during this year’s Tour. I so wish there was television cameras at that Sky Christmas party. That’s one reality show I’d watch – The Ladies of Sky.

While we’re months away from the 2013 Tour de France it looks like the battle for leadership has already begun: Wiggins versus Froome. I for one can’t wait for the opening salvos of Paris-Nice. This is where we will see who is gunning for the Giro or the Tour. Let the mind games begin!

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