Those of you who don't like 'plucky British loser' stories might want to avert your eyes for the next few minutes before coming back to the website.
I have been reading through the lines, scrutinising the press copy and cocking a close ear to the interviews and I have come to the conclusion that the 2010 ride by Bradley Wiggins has been the equal and (for the sake of starting debate with this blog) better of his 2009 vintage.
In 2009 Bradley rode with the leaders most of the way through the mountains and was competitive in the time trials. This year he has been off the pace since the start in Rotterdam having had a poor time trial (weather induced perhaps) and been nowhere when the rode has gone up hill.
Having said that, the grace with which he has accepted his fate and his desire not to give up and ride hom with the 'Autobus' daily has given me a higher level of respect for him.
Pretenders seem to come along for the Tour de France every year, and Wiggins has had a huge amount of pressure placed on his shoulders through his truncated move to Team Sky and subsequent assertions that he was aiming to get on the podium in Paris this year.
Most of those riders who achieve one year but flatter the next never make it through the three weeks, chosing to cite an injury or fatigue as a reason to go home early.
Wiggins (barring accident) will make Paris now and has shown that he is a true champion by refusing to give up and accept mediocrity without a fight. The interview where he told ITV4 that he had promised his daughter he would finish the Tour was inspirational.
For their to be a credible winner, there has to be losers and whilst nearly all British cycling fans would have wanted Brad in yellow, the fact he will not give up until the end shows a newer human side to the Sky project.
Have Bradley's result been better this year than in 2009 ? Absolutely not, but the Tour has a different parcours every July so that isn't really relevant.
Has Bradley conducted and handled himself in the manner of a champion? 100% yes.
I posted a blog at the turn of the year doubting he could ever win the Tour de France, you can read it by clicking here. I dont see any reason to change that prediction unless we go back to the flatter Tours with more KM's of time trials, but as a person Bradley has surpassed my expectations and I want to take this opportunity to say 'well done'.
(Ok, haters of 'plucky British losers' can open their eyes again now).