“When I have my hair short, I’m a cyclist. When my hair’s long, like Keith Richards, I’m Bradley Wiggins.” Today in Amsterdam at the prologue of the Giro d’Italia, we saw the short haired speed burning maniac. The soon-to-be pink Wiggo.
The British rider rode like a man possessed, beating the BMC duo of Cadel Evans and American Brent Bookwalter by two seconds and Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) by five seconds.
“I went for it. I’ve been preparing pretty well for this, so I knew what I could do. Speed in the corners is one of the biggest thing with prologues like this. You have to commit. You can’t mess about. You’ve got to give 100 per cent in the corners,” said Wiggins.
BMC’s Bookwalter nearly stunned everyone in the Giro before Wiggins beat his time. The relatively unknown rider from Athens, Georgia had never posted a top ten placing in a european time trial. It’s a big jump from thrashing the boys in the Tour of Utah to wearing the maglia rosa in the Giro. While many experts question the tour firepower of Evan’s BMC team, they’re off to a flying start.
Media mogul Rupert Murdock’s Team Sky also blasted out of the gate, around the thirteen corners and eight curves with power and precision. Sprinter Greg Henderson put in a terrific ride to earn himself fifth place. Things will be rockin’ in the team Sky disco bus. Tell driver and DJ Bubbles to crank some Stone Roses. Even former boss Jonathan Vaughters of Garmin fired off a congratulatory tweet: “Kudos to Brad. He’s a massive talent.”
Wiggins is the new King of Amsterdam. While he claimed he was still a kilo over his true kill and destroy weight, on television he looked to be at his emaciated best. Riding a Pinarello with a 15,000 price tag, Wiggins went full gas.
“It was frustrating during the day because it [the rain] was on, off, on, off. But to be honest it looked like everyone had a similar run,” he said. “I couldn’t control that so I just put it to one side and said ‘It is what it is,’ and I’d just get on with it. If I crashed, I crashed. I never touched the brakes. I said bollocks to it. This is my opportunity to get the pink jersey and I’m going to go for it and die trying. As Johnny Rotten would say, “never mind the bollocks, put on the friggin’ pink jersey.”
Besides the surprising ride by Bookwalter, the Giro had another unexpected twist. A middle aged Amsterdam woman riding a heavy-weight Batavus briefing held the best time but faded badly at the finish. Nobody could explain how she slipped her way on to the starting ramp but there was no arguing with her power output. Team Sky manager David Brailsford has already forwarded her a provisional contract.
The only Italian to crack the top ten in the Giro Prologue was Marco Pinotti of HTC-Columbia. Sadly, tifosi favorite Linguini Spaghetti of the Pasta Primavera Gelato Espresso team came in dead last. Better luck tomorrow, Linguini.
For the now the Sky is radiant Pink and all is well in the Italian Netherlands.