Analysis : Kelly says Wiggins is looking good, but the race is not over yet
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Analysis : Kelly says Wiggins is looking good, but the race is not over yet

by Shane Stokes at 9:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Tour de France
Irishman says heat and accumulated fatigue could cause unexpected weaknesses

Sean KellyFormer world number one Sean Kelly has been commentating on the Tour de France for Eurosport and consequently been watching things up close for the past two and a half weeks. He believes that Bradley Wiggins is in a strong position to become Britain’s first ever winner of the race, but cautions that there’s still time and reason why he could falter.

Kelly spoke to VeloNation yesterday evening and explained had a characteristic answer to a question about whether Wiggins would win the Tour. “If I could tell you that, I could win some money very easy,” he laughed.

He explained that while he believes the Briton is very strong, he sees two reasons why things could yet unravel at this point in time.

“Looking at the past, it looks like he is in a real solid position. It is looking good, but again the three weeks…the third week of the Tour when you hit the two big Pyrenees stages, it is always a bit risky for everybody. You just never know how the body reacts.”

Wiggins was holding the race lead in last year’s Vuelta a España but slipped back on stage fifteen, dropping to third overall when Juan Jose Cobo won on l’Angliru.

Kelly, who finished fourth and fifth in the Tour in the past, knows that it’s difficult to hold peak form throughout three weeks. He states that Wiggins needs to have timed things right. This is even more the case when he was in such strong form in winning the Critérium du Dauphiné in June.

“It all depends on how the guys are recovering, how they are feeling,” he said. “We didn’t really have an opportunity after the Alps as the stages didn’t really present an opportunity and the race wasn’t really aggressive. They riders didn’t really attack each other at all. But I think if you are suffering in the few stages to come, you could find yourself in a bit of difficulty.

“Froome is in a real good position if Wiggins does get into difficulty. But will he continue riding as strong? He has been up there as well for three weeks and the pressure might get to him. You just don't know. Will there be somebody like Nibali who will go on the attack with some of these opportunities on the descents? It’s just really all to play for.”

There’s an additional factor which Kelly states could be a big consideration over today and tomorrow. “One of the things we were talking about in Luchon is that it is very, very hot. Wiggins doesn’t like the real warm weather. What we have been having is nice, good weather for bike racing, never too warm in the Alps. But that’s likely to change and will make things more difficult.”

All that considered, though, Kelly believes that the Sky Procycling riders have something else which could cover them, even if fatigue and heat disadvantage them in any way.

“Sky is looking very impressive, with Rogers, Richie Porte, Boasson Hagen…they are extremely strong and very impressive,” he said. “That’ll be a big help to them.

“The race is certainly not over yet. That said, though, it is looking more and more like Wiggins should win this Tour.”



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