Wiggins out to win Tour of California and save US cycling.

Wiggins California Dreaming

Wiggins California Dreaming

To hear Sir Bradley talk, he’s coming to California to save American cycling. Bloody Hell, that’s generous. Will he bring some tepid tea and crumpets, too?

Yes, Wiggins was in Los Angeles and from that rather selective snapshot vibe he decided that American cycling fans are in need of a clean hero after the whole Armstrong myth destruction. He’s going to cheer us up with some dazzling performances and witty press conference banter.

Well, he will certainly make more of an athletic impression than his new best friend Chris Froome did back in August at the US Pro Cycling Challenge. Sky’s Tour winner was there for the sight-seeing and altitude training for the Worlds and did exactly jack squat. He didn’t even bother to arrive with enough time to acclimate before stage one kicked off.

However, Bradley will be in California to win. The knighted one has an eclectic set of goals this year — Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of California and Le Grand Shindig — where he is being so magnanimous as to run PR flack for Froome. Lovely man, just lovely.

But back to California where Wiggins will plan to bring his own charm and high speed pedaling. “Cycling is huge there and there is a huge void there. People in the US are keen on cycling but have been robbed a little bit with what’s gone on. Then we will see where the future goes,” said Wiggins. “As a Tour winner with credibility, with no skeletons in your closet, people look up to you and want to get on their bikes because of what you achieved one summer.”

Brad Wiggins, void filler, Armstrong eraser, skeleton chaser.

The organizers of the Tour of California must be jumping for joy with the news of Wiggins’ intentions. Take that Colorado! The Colorado stage race burst out the gate three years ago and California has been back pedaling ever since. We say that and we grew up in Colorado but have lived happily in California for almost 20 years.

The fact is, California suffers from an embarrassment of riches that makes race planning a challenge. On pure scenery, Cali kills the Rockies Only, landlocked state of Colorado. I mean, we’ve got astonishing beaches, fabulous mountains, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hollywood — you can’t cram it all into one race and still drag the peloton across the entire state. Colorado just keeps it simple and the transfers short and dials up the mountain resort towns: Vail, Aspen, Beaver Creek. Except for charming Western towns like Durango and Gunnison, Cali stomps the US Pro on touristic bravado and local charm.

Bradley is gonna put California back on the map. People are gonna get jacked up for the gangly Brit with the Monty Python wit. He is ready  to put the hammer down for a big GC win. Now we don’t know if Peter Sagan’s schedule includes California, not the Giro d’Italia, but the dude has won something like 10 stages in California. Should we get the Brad & Pete Show, the spotlight swings back to Cali, baby.

The road may be open up for Wiggins in Cali. Defending champion Tejay van Garderen will concentrate on his Tour de France build in Europe and will skip California. 2011 winner Chris Horner will ride the Giro d’Italia with his new Lampre-Merida squad. Andy Schleck has never taken a shot at California and likely never will. That leaves the Garmin scatter gun approach — will it be Danielson or Talansky or even something spicy like last year’s third place Janier Acevedo?

Remember that Talansky first came to prominence when he finished second to Bradley Wiggins in the time trial of the Tour of Romandie a few years back. Pitbull versus Sir Brad has a nice ring to it.

 

 

 

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