Is it really just too much to ask?
Can’t a former Tour de France winner with a royal title make a request? Would it be totally out of the question for Sir Bradley Wiggins to tag along in Fabian Cancellara’s company when the shitty cobbles hit the fan in Paris-Roubaix this Sunday?
Wiggins is just hoping he can tag along with last weeks’ Tour of Flanders winner Fabian Cancellara when the Swiss champion puts the hammer down and rockets out of the Arenberg forest leaving the battered bodies and shattered dreams of the rest of the peloton behind him.
Can Brad be Fabian’s riding buddy?
“It would just be nice to be in their company in the final. I think that’s going to be my biggest challenge, to be in a position to be with those guys. That alone would be quite something,” said Wiggins at the kick-off press conference for Roubaix. “”It would be a big honour just to be with those guys in that position.”
Hey, Cancellara already invited Wiggins months ago. When asked what he thought of skinny Brad making a serious run at the Hell of the North, Cancellara said “they are all welcome at Roubaix.
He didn’t say where exactly or for how long but they’re welcome. Cancellara is a generous guy and what’s one more guy to ride off your wheel — even one with Olympic medals, a World Championship and a Tour de France title.
With Paris-Roubaix just four days away, Wiggins sounds more and more realistic about his chances despite his decent showing in Flanders. That’s not to say he isn’t confident but it’s more theoretical in nature. “I think on paper you’d say yes, in terms of time trial ability and flat speed and stuff, but riding on the cobbles after 230, 240k is a completely different thing to doing a 50km time trial or a prologue,” said Wiggins.
Paper, cobblestones. Who do you think wins that game? It ain’t paper.
Wiggins still thinks he can be there in the final, fateful part of the race where most riders pack it in. “I think that’s where I’ll certainly come to the fore is in the final 50k because I’ll have the legs and the length,” Wiggins said. “Obviously there’s a lot that happens before then and it’s avoiding all of that stuff.”
Yup, just ask Zdenek Stybar and Stijn Vandenbergh of Omega Pharma Quickstep about avoiding all that stuff in Roubaix. They’d both made the final four selection with Cancellara and Sep Vanmarcke and then both crashed into spectators. A guaranteed podium spot wiped out in an instant and nothing they could do about it.
There are all sorts of unpredictable events at Paris-Roubaix and Wiggins hopes he can be one of those surprises. “It’s so difficult to put all of your eggs into one basket in Roubaix because anything can happen. We’ve seen in the last three years there’s always a surprise, always someone in the top ten who maybe you wouldn’t have predicted to be there so you just never know,” said Sir Brad.
Something tells us that Wiggins won’t be keeping Cancellara company for too long. Even if it would be really nice.