Let the Tour de France mind games begin
British Bradley Wiggins reacts after wearing the yellow jersey. AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau
Bradley Wiggins’ comments at the press conference at the Dauphine after stage 1 the other day struck me as a guy who is feeling the pressure.
The post race ceremonies and press conferences seemed to wear on him. He started to get frustrated as he answered questions.
Wiggins: “I can never win, whatever I do. If I didn’t take the jersey or didn’t perform here, then I’d be the biggest piece of s–t in the world. If I win here then I peak too soon,” he continued.
“What ever I do in cycling, I’ll never win. So, just please yourself, sod the rest.”
Towards the end of the press conference he paused and added, “This is why I didn’t want the jersey. I got to deal with this shit every day.”
Contrast this with Cadel Evans’ comments and you start to get an insight into the mind games that have already started: “I’m here in the Dauphiné to work with the team, to get the feeling before the Tour. To get the race rhythm,” he said.
“Most of all, I’m happy to get a good result because I see the team is working very well and very hard already. Manuel Quinziato, Michael Schär and George Hincapie, as always, are working well.”
I agree that BMC rode extremely well as a team, you could see them all in a bunch working together.
Cadel himself looked strong. He jumped at the right time and he was the guy on the front with 300m to go. The rider in this position is usually the one that gets rolled as he is doing ~30% more work. He held off Jerome Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) and Andrey Kashechkin (Astana).
Regardless of whether you deem these two guys as sprinters or not – the reality is Cadel was the lead out man and doing the work and held on. He fought hard for the win.
I think Cadel, mentally, is a lot tougher these days. His humble comments mask that of a man that I believe has exceptional discipline, resolve and determination. His win was a real shot across the bow of his rivals.
He didn’t use words, instead he let his results do the talking.
Cadel knows that Wiggins will be under huge scrutiny if and when he gets his hands on the yellow. Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruynell are master strategists and they used to look to put other riders in yellow that they knew could not go on to take it out.
This took all the post race requirements off of Lance and allowed him to focus on recovery. Surely Cadel and BMC’s thinking is along the same lines.
With that said – you wouldn’t want to give a guy like Wiggins too much time. It also remains to be seen how Sky will manage the tour with Cav a certainty to go after the Green Jersey and Stage wins.
I won’t even bother commenting about the Schleks except to say I really don’t think the course, with so much TT in it, suits them.
The Dauphine thus far has been a most enjoyable race and we really are being treated to some epic cycling this year.
Until next time – clip in!