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Wiggins geared up to be Tour de Force
First Mark Cavendish, now Bradley Wiggins.
Imagine the French furore three weeks from now if not one but two Brits are on the Paris podium.
Cavendish may struggle to keep the Tour de France green jersey this year with one eye – and a different body shape – on the Olympics where he starts favourite.
But it is the prospect of Bradley Wiggins becoming the first rider from over the Channel to win the coveted maillot jaune that will tantalise every cycling fan.
Suddenly Wiggins, backed by the all-conquering Sky team, is being talked about with the genuine contenders. Everything seems to be in his favour.
Wiggins enters Liege for tomorrow’s prologue in the form of his life. Sky – the Manchester City of cycling – have stocked up with specialists to support his bid and big hitters such as Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador are missing from the Grand Depart through injury and drug suspension respectively.
Inevitably, doping continues to cast a dark shadow over a sport bombarded with scandals in recent times.
But the clean-up rate is improving and there are signs, finally, that the peloton is getting the message.
With deliberate timing, one reformed drug cheat is back in print with the paperback version of his autobiography.
David Millar, who branded Wiggins’ fourth place in 2009 as “a fluke”, has known the highs and lows of this most punishing of occupations. The title “Racing through the Dark” says it all and he is candid with the details of his slump from Tour de France stage winner to another desperado reaching for a syringe full of the blood-boosting drug EPO.
Millar was fortunate to come out the other side. He took his ban and, like a reformed smoker, now speaks out strongly against the illegal vices that still persist – risking the wrath of those riders who still turn a blind eye.
It’s a strong, open read and a great accompaniment to the toughest race on the planet. Well worth its place on top of the cycling podium.
* Racing through the Dark is published by Orion.