Bradley Wiggins today sealed his first professional stage race overall victory by winning the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. In doing so, he became only the third British rider to win the race, held in the Australian state of Victoria, after Malcolm Elliott in 1985 and Paul Mann in 1993.
Team politics played a part in Wiggo’s win, however. The Garmin-Slipstream rider put in a stunning time trial in Geelong on Friday which put him in the yellow jersey, five seconds ahead of Australian team-mate Chris Sutton, who has family ties to the race – his father Gary won it in 1984, the year after Chris’s uncle Shane had done so.
Apparently, the decision of whether to let Wiggo or Sutton, who had won Stages 2, 3 and 4 of the race, go for glory today was an agonising one for the team ahead of the 15-lap street circuit in Melbourne that closed the race – the stage was won by Fly V Australia’s Jonathan Cantwell – and according to the Sun Tour’s website, the indecision continued well into the race.
Wiggins was reported on the website as saying “We had a few beers last night trying to decide what to do” – let’s put those beers down to end-of-term exuberance – “but CJ [Chris Sutton] really made his mind up deciding to give it to me and that was it really. But even then we were still umming and ahring with two laps to go whether Chris was going to do the final sprint”.
With rumours still flying around that Wiggins will be riding in Team Sky colours next year, it remains to be seen whether he’ll be in a position to return that favour in 2010.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.