Paris Nice: Col D’Eze

i spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to avoid spoilers, but failed spectacularly because i accessed the limitless power of the internet. anyway, if you haven’t seen it yet, Wiggins won with an awe-inspiring display of uphill time trialling, if that doesn’t sound too euphemistic. the interesting thing is that it’s a hill climb of sorts. they really should have more uphill time trials on the continent; they had one on alpe d’huez a few years back. it’s a world of short TT extensions, confusion over what to ride, and a weight limit of 6.8kg on the bikes. it’s hard to even imagine what’s going through the riders’ minds in the video below. the crowd is oppressive and¬†overwhelming. armstrong has his cap on backwards like a true hillclimber. his speed is unreal.

On the Col D’Eze Wiggins was turning over the gear remorselessly. it’s a really astounding sight. He’s the first British winner since Tommy Simpson in 1967 and is staking a claim to being one of the greatest riders this island has ever produced.

When i first started getting into cycling i remember watching the tour and trying to see how Max Sciandri was doing, a half-italian, half british rider, or whether Robert Millar still had the legs (his powers were on the wane). ¬†this year we’ve got one of the world’s pre-eminent stage racers, the world champion and a stack of gifted riders across several teams. it’s hard to believe just how much british cycling has changed, but if you want a point of comparison i recommend ‘wide eyed and legless’, by Jeff Connor. It describes the problems faced by the ANC Halfords team in the 1987 tour. it’s a fantastic book.


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