The 2018 season hasn’t kicked off yet. We can dream, we can hope, we can make our silly wish list.
1) Chris Froome’s salbutamol case is resolved before the start of the Giro d’Italia. That’s over four months and seems like a reasonable amount of time to reach a decision. After all, Froome and Sky have had their legal team at work since they knew about the adverse finding back in September. Let’s not have a dark cloud hanging over the Giro and Tour. Otherwise, Tour boss Christian Prudhoome will get extremely repetitive.
2) Greg van Avermaet wins Paris-Roubaix. I just feel that the Belgian has paid his dues and deserves the one race he’d love to win. GVA seems to be a classy guy who works hard at his craft and a reward like Roubaix feels right
3) Peter Sagan wins five stages at the Tour de France. How about a little high-profile payback after race officials tossed him out of the Tour? Sagan is a superstar who doesn’t even really need the Tour. The real payback would be riding the Giro and Vuelta and saying screw you, A.S.O.
4) New UCI president David Lappartient is more action, less talk. Poor old Brian Cookson seemed like a nice and honorable man but he really didn’t accomplish much. So far Lappartient has said lots of positive things but I’ve yet to actually see some actions. They say he’s a “political machine” — well, let’s see the machine function.
5) Nairo Quintana rediscovers his explosive climbing during the Tour de France. The sport desperately needs the pint size Colombian to regain his status as the king of the high gradients. Should Froome survive his legal debacle, we’ll all need Quintana to provide the fireworks show.
6) Tony Martin wins a big-time trial. The big German seemed kinda lost last season, and maybe the season before. What happened to those dominant performances? Then there’s his flirtation with Paris-Roubaix and other strange nonsense. Here’s hoping he attacks the clock with a vengeance.
7) Team Sky’s operating budget cut back. With 21st Century Fox taking over the financial backing of the squad and with all the monetary uncertainty that brings, it would be wonderful for the competitive balance in cycling, if suddenly Sky’s budget was slashed.
8) Richie Porte puts it all together for three solid weeks in the Tour de France. If there was ever a lost opportunity for someone to beat Froome in Le Grand Shindig, it was last year. Which made it even more horrible that an on-form and on-fire Porte crashed out in spectacular and cruel fashion. Let’s do this, you crazy Tasmanian.
9) Tejay van Garderen rediscovers some magic, any magic. Two top fives in the Tour followed by years of seriously underwhelming, near career-destroying performances. I have a soft spot for Van Garderen and I’m hoping that moving his young family to Girona will up his happiness quotient and lead to something awesome, perhaps a podium in a major one-week stage race.
10) A good year for the boys from Texas. Lawson Craddock admitted last year sucked, Chad Haga is penciled in to ride his first Tour de France. I’m hoping for a big rebound for Lawson and a solid three week performance from Haga in France. Let’s get those chapeaux ready!
11) A crazy bold stage victory that upends a grand tour. I’m talking about somebody taking a flyer on the first mountain stage in Italy, France or Spain and gaining eight minutes on everyone. An insane level-may-care move that freaks everyone out and shatters the GC strategies of everyone in the race. We need excitement folks – attack, attack, attack!!!!!
12) A rainy Roubaix. When was the last time we had one? Seems like ages. I’d like to see a wet and sloppy Roubaix that brings out the filth and spectacle of the race. Do I have to go over there with a garden hose and wet down the cobbles myself?
13) Jiffy bag mystery revealed! I can’t help myself – I want to goddam know what was in the jiffy for Wiggins. Seriously, that guy Dr. Freeman is too sick to testify? That is beyond lame. Come on, man, somebody gotta squeal.
14) Chris Froome fails to win a grand tour this season. I don’t know what to think about his twice-the-limit puffs of salbutamol. I do know I’m chronically bored with him winning everything in sight. However, in some strange way, this might be like Lance Armstrong un-retiring. It was a huge mistake. In the same way, Froome’s greed and hubris over the Giro-Tour double may finally have awoken the Cycling Gods and they may slap him down. He should have taken his short ban and won the 2018 Tour de France, joining the legend’s club of five time winners. Instead, he got greedy and his next shot at five might not be until the 2019 edition. Another year older and will he even be riding for Sky if suspended and the team honors its much bragged about zero tolerance policy? A fascinating story — one what needs to wrap up before the Giro (see Wish #1)