Monday, 23 July 2012
Cycling has always been popular in this country and there is a vibrant cycle racing scene. In Lincoln of course we have the ever popular Lincoln Grand Prix which draws big crowds in to the city each year.
On the continent though, although many have tried valiantly, very few British riders have prospered in the widespread professional circuit and certainly not in the Tour de France. Until now.
This magnificent spectacle, held over three weeks every summer and taking in Bastille Day, 14 July, is a true test of endurance, tactics, teamwork and guile. Whilst the sport has been sullied over the years by nefarious substances taken by some riders the winner knows he has surmounted one of the toughest sporting pinnacles there is. Given the severity of the test, whilst inexcusable, it’s perhaps understandable that some succumb to temptation in order to reach their goal.
The Sky Team and Bradley Wiggins have taken on this rarefied world and won. They have taken a scientific approach. Reading about their strategy is fascinating. Wiggins is popular on the continent, he speaks French. The way Wiggins won is a triumph of strategy rather than the cavalier approach of old. If success is repeated the locals may tire of it but, overwhelmingly one has to marvel at the sheer strength and application of the win. The trick is now to hold the team together for Wiggins is not the only rider in it capable of winning the tour. This show is set to run and run.
For the moment though we can only marvel at this great sporting feat after all the years of trying and of course, with the Olympics just days away, where British cycling is a major force we can hopefully look forward to seeing Bradley Wiggins on the podium again together with his team mate Mark Cavendish and several others. Bring it on!
Photo courtesy of Mark Cavendish via twitter.