Bradley Wiggins will win the Tour de France today when he finishes off a nice Sunday afternoon cycle with a number of his chums. For Bradley to have achieved this is amazing, and it has required a significant amount of planning, time and skill by a large team from UK cycling and of course his team mates in the Sky team.
The team includes Mark Cavendish and Chris Froome, with Bradley and Chris currently in first and second place, which almost guarantees a winner from the UK, no matter what. It’s just a fairly laid back run in today into Paris with the yellow jersey paid the respect of no one trying to beat him on the last day.
There will be the usual sprint finish of course, which should provide Mark with a further stage win. The acceleration he showed on Friday was amazing. The other riders were left blown away and the two cyclists who were leading the stage almost at the end, could only spectate as their lead evaporated.
We shouldn’t forget David Miller from the UK either. He also managed a stage win with his sprinting. David was caught using performance enhancing drugs a few years ago and was only allowed back this year. He is very open about his drug misuse, which is refreshingly different from other ex-dopers. Doping has been rife in the tour over the years although it seems much reduced this year.
The riders on the tour are the greatest athletes in the world. There is no other sport, which requires such dedication, phenomenal endurance and resilience. Cycling hundreds of kilometres every day, cycling up ridiculously steep climbs and riding tactically, not to mention avoiding the crashes and the loonies at the side if the road.
The bikes are incredible, weigh less than a postage stamp and are extremely aerodynamic. This helps but of course it’s down to the rider and the team to get the most out of them.
In the UK pedal bikes are looked down upon, even now when more people are using them for cycling to work, sport and recreation. I used to cycle over 70 miles a week for pleasure and to keep fit. It was very enjoyable although the standards of car driving were pretty appalling and dangerous. Having said that, driving around the city presents lots of examples of cyclists who put themselves in danger and don’t seem to accept they have a responsibility to be safe and stick to the same rules as everyone else.
In London, which is pretty flat, warm and dry mostly, the number of cyclists has risen dramatically and the dangers have increased also. Boris’s bikes have added to the number and they seem to be fairly well used. Russell Square had been altered to separate cyclist from cars etc. and was also done on some of the surrounding streets. They removed the measures though because Russell Square is the TV company’s base for the Olympics.
In Vauxhall, they have painted lanes on the pavements for cyclists to use. The trouble is that it is only one bicycle wide so overtaking needs the use of more of the pavement.
I’m sure that Bradley’s win will make cycling ever more popular in the UK. No bad thing although perhaps cyclists should have a bit of statutory training before they hit the road as it were. Yes it rains, it’s windy and it’s frosty at times. It’s very hilly in Edinburgh and I learnt very quickly that there are very, very few roads, which are flat and days that don’t have some sort of wind.
Bradley should win the BBC sports personality of the year this year. He might even win a gold medal in the Olympics as well. Not much rest time between then and now though.