If he wins stage one, Mark Cavendish will become the sixth British rider to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour de France. The other five are Tommy Simpson (1962), Chris Boardman (1994, 1997, 1998), Sean Yates (1994), David Millar (2000) and Bradley Wiggins (2012).
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) became only the second British rider to win Paris-Nice, 45 years after Tommy Simpson. His victory was forged in the pouring rain on day one’s time trial, cemented on stage two’s wind-wrecked course, held together by impressive tactics and strong team support and, finally, crowned today atop Col d’Eze with a measured display of power and precision.
Arguably this win is as important to Bradley’s palmares as his win in last year’s Criterium du Dauphine and, given the parcours and contenders in this year’s Tour de France, one has to say this could be the year Brad gets onto the podium, maybe even onto the top step. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s recall what happened over the last three stages where I was ‘Behind the Barricades’, in the cars and on the road.
I am often amazed at my French club-mates’ apparent insouciance to watching live bike racing. Generally, if the race goes past their door – as it does in this Saturday’s Paris-Nice – they’ll watch. But, if not, like as not, after having ridden in the morning, they’re more than happy to watch the live action unfold on their HD screens. They would never think of driving an hour or two to watch live racing. It’s fair to say that my cycling capers provide them with much amusement.A lot of my club-mates are still very good riders who in their younger days liked nothing better than racing against the professionals who would decamp to the South of France to both train and race. Continue reading