Will Bradley Wiggins ride the 2013 Tour de France
Maybe. But sounds like he won’t be racing to win. He’s got other aims:
“I’m probably going to concentrate on the Giro d’Italia next year. For me, along with Paris-Roubaix, it’s the only race on the calendar that’s up there with the Tour de France for its history. It’s just beautiful and I’d love to win that pink jersey along with the yellow jersey.”
Wiggins did say that he’d be there at the start of the Tour, however. If he is, it seems likely he’ll be riding in support of Chris Froome.
It seems a bit weird for a Tour winner to be in the race but not looking to win. Here’s why it might happen:
1. He’s won the Tour
Wiggins is a man who seems to revel in new goals. He could have pushed on with track cycling and gone all King Midas in his lust for Olympic medals, but instead he switched to the road (and still won gold). He’s won the Tour and winning the Tour again isn’t such an appealing goal – particularly as he didn’t much enjoy the pressure and the daily interviews in 2012.
2. He wants to win the Giro d’Italia
This appears to be his new goal. It’s a less intense race in terms of pressure and media scrutiny and the 2013 route suits him pretty well. As Chris Froome showed at the Vuelta, it’s hard to compete in two Grand Tours in the same year, so Wiggins could aim for the Giro and then donate whatever’s left of him to Froome for the Tour.
3. The 2013 Tour route doesn’t really suit him
The difference between climbers and time-trialists is sometimes overstated – it’s not a black or white distinction. However, while Wiggins can climb, he’s 6ft 3ins tall and so even when he’s so fat-free he’d get a green food label, he’s still heavier than the specialist climbers. The 2013 Tour route features two time trials, but one’s pretty damn hilly and there are also four summit finishes. While he didn’t actually lose time on rivals in the mountains in 2012, there are few opportunities for him to gain time on them in 2013.
Where does that leave us?
In an ideal world, Wiggins would win in Italy and arrive at the Tour as reigning champion of the Giro and the Tour as someone else’s support rider. I would, quite frankly, love this to happen. It would be an education for anyone new to cycling and an eloquent statement about what really matters.
Wiggins himself knows that cycling’s a team sport and emphasised that he wouldn’t have won in 2012 without the other riders’ support. If he returned the favour, it would make him far more of a hero to me than were he to win the race again.
Cycling is not about winning again and again and again, no matter what the cost. The sacrifices made by team-mates mean that the most admirable rider is rarely the guy atop the podium. The sport is complex and deserves some rounded heroes.