Skeptical about Wiggins' Tour performance?
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Skeptical about Wiggins' Tour performance?

by Steve Jones at 12:50 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France

It seems that British rider Bradley Wiggins, who rides for the Garmin-Slipstream team, surprised more than just cycling fans and fellow competitors with his fourth place finish in this year's Tour de France. The track specialist turned Grand Tour hopefuls biggest shock appears to have come from within.

There is no doubt about the pedigree of the man affectionately known as "Wiggo", one just needs to look at his stellar career on the track to confirm that. But the fact that a rider - who's view of the final general classification podium ceremony has generally been from the hotel room - has produced a seemingly impossible result will certainly raise eyebrows in today's climate.

Wiggins probably understands the suspicions about his performance more than anyone. In fact, based on his comments during the Tour it's probably safe to say that he was his own biggest skeptic, looking more and more like a contemplating Spock with each passing day.

The Garmin rider attributes his newly found success to a 20 pound loss in weight as compared to last year. To put it into perspective, it means that Wiggins was riding with the equivalent weight of nearly a bike and a half extra just twelve months ago.

Perhaps a better visual would be a super-domestique with 17 21 ounce water bottles stuffed in their jersey - no doubt a record! Gamin's exercise physiologist Allen Lim estimates that his weight loss alone would produce a 10-12 percent increase in performance.

In a sport that has been riddled with doping controversy, the Brit has decided to proactively work toward appeasing his doubters by making all of his testing results available to the general public. Not only from this season, but since his federation began testing the cyclist at the age of 19.

"I suddenly come out of nowhere in the Tour," said the 29-year-old Brit, "And everyone knows the stories about blood doping.  I don't want there to be any suspicion or doubt that what I did was natural. I have nothing to hide and I want this transparency."

Will this help quiet the skeptics? Well, here's the rub - only if he fails miserably in the 2010 race. With the pressure of being Britain's great Tour hope, and admitted new motivation and focus, the thing that nobody can argue is that staying grounded mentally will be his biggest challenge.


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