Today on the road to Besançon, Bradley Wiggins gave a demonstration of the non-bone idle approach to bike racing. He got off his arse, into his yellow skin suit and rode like a man possessed.
He crushed the 41.5 kilometer time trial in 51.24 and along the way perhaps crushed Cadel Evans. The Australian had hoped to limit his losses to perhaps a minute but instead gave up 1:43 to the man from Sky.
The Tour wasn’t won today but it certainly put Wiggins in control. “I’m just really pleased with how I put the day together, mentally, too. The noise when I rolled off the ramp was incredible and not letting that phase me and not going out too hard. So I’m just really satisfied with how I put the whole day together an that’s what I’ve been focusing. So at the moment it’s just relief and pride in myself for doing that,” said Wiggins.
The bright note for BMC was Tejay Van Garderen. He ripped the white jersey back from Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) with fourth place on the rocking and rolling technical course. He almost beat Fabian Cancellara who was third on the day. Cadel Evans will pray to the Cycling Gods that Van Garderen can help him deal with the Wiggins-Froome two headed monster in the Alps and Pyrenees.
One big name missing in action was Tony Martin (Omega-Pharma Quickstep) who is having a miserable Tour de France. Already the victim of several punctures, crashes, and a broken bone in his wrist, the World Time Trial champion barely got into his rhythm when he punctured again. In the post race interview, he stared at the ground, almost speechless in disbelief. On to London, hope for better days.
Is Maxime Monfort the man at RadioShack Nissan Trek? He and Haimar Zubeldia are now 6th and 7th on GC. Twisted Spoke playfully suggested that Monfort had taken the captain role before Le Tour when Frank Schleck abdicated the role. Right now, the Belgian could their best hope for a top ten.
Just resting? The decimated Garmin-Sharp-Pain squad made no noise in today’s chrono battle. Once a fairly skilled time trailer, Christian Vande Velde came in over 36 minutes behind Wiggins. Dan Martin also did the soft pedal routine. Did Jonathan Vaughters gave them the day off before Tuesday’s rest day so they have the legs to go for a stage win in the mountains?
When Wiggins lashed out at the AP writer’s witless question yesterday, there was the sense that Wiggins might be cracking under the pressures of wearing the yellow jersey. He proved that idea false but admits the media attention does wear on him. “At the finish you get the presentation, then you’re expected to sum it all up in the most articulate way. It’s all still a bit of haze,” said Wiggins. Nobody asked any dumb questions today.
Still, it’s a long way to Paris so he’s trying not to look that far ahead or get caught up in the calculations. “I’ve won the stage, which has almost been forgotten about because it’s all about the GC battle and watching for Cadel and Vincenzo and those guys,” said Wiggins. “The stage almost becomes irrelevant so thinking about the stage win as well means I’ve got a lot to take in.”
Wiggins proved today that he’s the front runner for overall victory. As Wiggins might put it, time for Cadel Evans to get off his “arse” and get to work.