There’s a constant undercurrent of poignancy and longing in Bradley Wiggin’s public statements.
He’s not only finally come to terms with his Tour de France win two years ago but he’s also had abundant opportunity to reflect on his life as a professional cyclist.
His big realization? Time is rapidly running out — and being a time trial champ, he has the clock firmly in his head.
You sense a whole range of emotions running through Wiggins. He wants to go out a hero of sorts — being recognized as a clean champion, helping former rival Chris Froome win another Tour de France, filling in as a beacon of hope.
He wants to come to the Tour of California to win the overall and provide American cycling fans with a hero in the depression and betrayal following the Armstrong doping revelations.
His desire is to “fill the void” left by the disgraced Texan. It’s a big ask for Sir Brad to drop into California and gain a new role as a cycling savior for North America. (That would seem to be a Tejay van Garderen or Andrew Talansky assignment.)
You can also hear the longing in the choice of Paris-Roubaix as one of his big season objectives. Wiggins has a deep appreciation for cycling history and wishes to wind his career down with one last push at the Queen of the classics, the Hell of the North.
It doesn’t matter that four-time Paris Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara finds it an odd idea. Sir Brad is taking an emotional ride down the backside of his career. One last Paris-Roubaix, a final go at the Tour de France, a new chapter in California and finishing with a full-circle return to the track and, he hopes, a final gold medal in team pursuit at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
The man is clearly in a wistful and sentimental mood this year. Such was the case today as Wiggins mused that this Tour de France may well be his last. He is already thinking of it as a Farewell to France.
“It could be that this is my last Tour. If it is, I’d better make it a good one,” he told Cyclingnews. Wiggins may be getting mushier by the moment and who knows, perhaps he’ll even breakdown in tears at the though of his final Tour grilling by the press.
2014 is starting to feel like the Goodbye Wiggo show. It’s only a matter of time before he starts blubbering like a baby. Farewell cobbles, adieu Tour, I’ll miss you bloody wankers.