jeudi 6 septembre 2012

If you're going to fix it, fix it proper

Froome looks back at Wiggins on the final ascent of the 17th stage of the 2012 Tour de France. (Photo: Bernard Papon/L'Equipe)
It's a family trait to have difficulty throwing away newspapers, but the debris from this year's study of the Tour De France is littering my office, and it's got to go. But before it hits the archive, I thought I'd capture what for me was the most telling image of this year's Tour: of Froome looking over his shoulder at a spent Bradley Wiggins on the last mountain stage, and discovering that he, Froome, could have won it. Only team orders prevented this outcome in Paris.

Now, such phenomena are very much a part of the fascination of the Tour: road cycling is fundamentally a team sport. But it also leaves the whiff of corruption and backroom fixes. When Wiggins held the peloton when Cadel Evans punctured, L'Equipe was quick to praise Wiggins for his so English fair play ; but there's also another sporting saying from over the channel that is equally important, and it is: "May the best man win!" The sad thing about this year's Tour (again!) is we're not sure that he did.

Still, it didn't stop me growing a pair of sideburns in hommage to Wiggins' achievement: anyone capable of a podium place in Paris is a mighty hero, and Wiggins is the first Englishman to pull it off. Bravo!

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