Opinions on Wiggins

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What is your opinion on Bradely Wiggins?

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Aug 12, 2009
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Winterfold said:
Not at all, my point was when has Menchov put real time into a proper climber who was contending the GC on a big climb in a GT?

He hasn't, he hung in there with some good riders, and nicked seconds off the likes off Sastre and Di Luca on the less mental stages, but, like pretty mcuh everyone else, he has no chance of sticking with Contador and A Schleck when they go at it. Yet he has still won two GTs.
I didn't miss your point. I was alluding to the idea of what constitutes a "proper climber." We can argue semantics all day long. Fact is all the top GC guys are "proper climbers." In terms of authentic climbing style and form, without a doubt AC and AS are the best exponents in the pro scene. Sastre has a rep as another strong climber, so to Rasmussen. But like most things that can be categorised, there are many types of climbers. Contador is famous for his accelerations. Andy Schleck also has a strong acceleration, but we can differentiate the strength both have in that aspect of climbing.

But like Evans, Valverde and Samu, Menchov is more than just a guy who can go up hills. He is a proper climber. As for matching the Schlecks and Contador. When was the last chance Dennis had? This year after winning the Giro is it. He worked for the Chicken in 2007, quit after that shambles and won the Vuelta two months later. Dennis after that only competed against AS in 2008 and was ahead of him. We don't know by comparison how he will handle a Tour shot against AS and AC. One can only speculate and use experience for a guess, hence I agree with you. He will have trouble if those two really fire, but no more than the riders I mentioned above.

(I admit wheelsucking was a bit unfair - he knew he didnt really have to take the initiative cos he would take Di Luca in the TTs, and he chose to mark Di Luca rather than follow Sastre when he really went on the attack, I guess he calculated Sastre would not make enough of a gap and he was correct.)
Smart play. Plus the Giro was more exciting as a whole, than the Tour. Dennis did well. He surprised me with his win. I thought Levi would win. Won't make that error again.

Why can't Wiggins get on the podium with more focus and belief (and other things, depending on your ivew on that)? He is a similar kind of rider, he is at least as powerful, and he falls off quite a bit less.
Good question. I am theorising for a large population base here who hold the view you're questioning and believe it comes down to experience. Evans, Menchov, Sastre, Valverde and Armstrong have experience. They've backed up. Wiggins has one solid performance. Also to his detriment was the weaknesses of the course in 2009 and the failures and lack of absence of those riders I listed. At this moment in time, I believe they are better riders. Time will tell how Wiggins and Sky go.

Numbers person myself and history nut. They are against Brad. Also relating to my above points on "proper climber." The guys listed are all proven climbers, or men who can hold on and give a great ITT. Bro Deal said Wiggins will loose 20 minutes. I don't think he will be that bad, but given it is a climbers tour, Wiggins style (he rides his own tempo and doesn't really accelerate) and the depth of Sky (lack of) he will suffer more in 2010, without CVV and Garmin there to help him when the accelerations come. It is not about his ability, it is about increasing his benchmark level in climbing. To make the podium he needs to and I just don't see him doing it, just as I do not see Armstrong doing likewise. I think Wiggins, Basso and Armstrong will be close to each other, but not near the guys listed above with an addition made to that list for Samu.
 
Sep 16, 2009
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I, like many, found myself rooting for Wiggins during his gutsy Tour performance. My opinion soured following the whole Garmin = Wigan commentary. Garmin is a well established, successful ProTour team. Sky, despite its generous backing is still a start-up. I can appreciate his desire to be a part of this "historical" undertaking but I do not appreciate the way he handled the media attention and how he would always justify his ridiculous statements as just having a laugh or that's my sense of humour. He at times wanted to appear above the fray as though he had nothing to do with the whole affair while continuing to feed his exaggerated belief in his talents. On a tour filled with very good GC men, Wiggins should consider himself lucky to be a top 20 guy. I wish team Sky well but I think Wiggins is in for a very rude awakening.

PS:That picture of him in the ascot with Brailsford tells us all we need to know about Wiggins, doesn't it?
 
Galic Ho said:
Numbers person myself and history nut. They are against Brad. Also relating to my above points on "proper climber." The guys listed are all proven climbers, or men who can hold on and give a great ITT. Bro Deal said Wiggins will loose 20 minutes. I don't think he will be that bad, but given it is a climbers tour, Wiggins style (he rides his own tempo and doesn't really accelerate) and the depth of Sky (lack of) he will suffer more in 2010, without CVV and Garmin there to help him when the accelerations come. It is not about his ability, it is about increasing his benchmark level in climbing. To make the podium he needs to and I just don't see him doing it, just as I do not see Armstrong doing likewise. I think Wiggins, Basso and Armstrong will be close to each other, but not near the guys listed above with an addition made to that list for Samu.
Wiggins has never faced a real mountain stage, a stage with a lot of hard climbing before a difficult final ascent, as a contender. The closest stage to a true mountain stage last Tour was the stage to La Grand-Bornand, which ended with a descent. He lost three minutes to Contador and the Schlecks there. The Verbier and Andorre stages featured modest amounts of climbing and a final climb of modest length and modest gradient. The Vontoux stage was ridden at tempo with no contender willing to do anything; it was worthless.

A stage that contains several hard climbs and is raced aggressively will likely be too much for Wiggins. If he comes unhooked on one of the climbs on the way to Pau this year, the other contenders will ride away him, and he will lose huge amounts of time. If that stage to Pau does not get him, the one that ends on the Tourmalet will.

Contador has already indicated that he was held back on climbs. This year he will blow the race apart. Andy Schleck will be looking to do the same. I don't see the usual, conservative Bruyneel tactics being used this year, so we won't see a small group riding together until the final few kilometers. I think we will see some attacks that start quite a distance from the line. When it is every man for himself, WIggins will find out that he not the man he pretends to be.

The time trial at the worlds showed that when things are not going well Wiggins will get emotional and crack under the pressure.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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BroDeal said:
Wiggins has never faced a real mountain stage, a stage with a lot of hard climbing before a difficult final ascent, as a contender. The closest stage to a true mountain stage last Tour was the stage to La Grand-Bornand, which ended with a descent. He lost three minutes to Contador and the Schlecks there. The Verbier and Andorre stages featured modest amounts of climbing and a final climb of modest length and modest gradient. The Vontoux stage was ridden at tempo with no contender willing to do anything; it was worthless.

A stage that contains several hard climbs and is raced aggressively will likely be too much for Wiggins. If he comes unhooked on one of the climbs on the way to Pau this year, the other contenders will ride away him, and he will lose huge amounts of time. If that stage to Pau does not get him, the one that ends on the Tourmalet will.

Contador has already indicated that he was held back on climbs. This year he will blow the race apart. Andy Schleck will be looking to do the same. I don't see the usual, conservative Bruyneel tactics being used this year, so we won't see a small group riding together until the final few kilometers. I think we will see some attacks that start quite a distance from the line. When it is every man for himself, WIggins will find out that he not the man he pretends to be.
I don't see the stage to Pau amounting to anything. No contender will attack because after the last mountain there is 60 km of descent and flat and when the contenders don't attack the pace won't be high enough to drop Wigging or anyone else who matters. Barring a really bad day of cause, that can always happen.
 
Aug 12, 2009
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BroDeal said:
The time trial at the worlds showed that when things are not going well Wiggins will get emotional and crack under the pressure.
Liked all the points. Seems like that is the way the race will be run. Bruyneel tactics not working as they use to. The telling part is Wiggins mental game. After the ITT at the Worlds, there were some excusing Brad's bike throwing tantrum. The man has Dura Ace gear on his bike. When does that slip up?I mountain bike a lot. I haven't thrown a chain in years, but Wiggins loses one, with state of the art gear and loses the plot at the same time.

You can tell a lot about somebodies mental state and thought process by how they deal with on road dramas. Take Michael Rogers for instance. The prologue in Monaco. A strong support group from Australia believed he would do well. Rogers was lukewarm. His statements to the media were that he threw 2 chains? I didn't believe a word of it. Knew then and there he was deploying the seasoned excuse book. Didn't shock me that he was worse as the Tour progressed, culminating in him taking out compatriot Haussler on the stage into Barcelona. Your head has to be in the game. Wiggins likes to open his mouth. Won't be hard to know in July whether his is.

Emotional stresses and pressure intensity will increase this year. Wiggins will need to toughen up, otherwise he will crack. Maybe a "When will Wiggo Wash Out" thread should be started.
 
Jul 30, 2009
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Galic Ho said:
Emotional stresses and pressure intensity will increase this year. Wiggins will need to toughen up, otherwise he will crack. Maybe a "When will Wiggo Wash Out" thread should be started.
He's lost the plot several times already and come back. Pretty spectacularly after Athens 2004. And there's all the **** with his Dad. If he can channel all that it might do some good, or he could lose it bigtime...

I agree it will be difficult for him to podium in a GT, but it's not impossible. I don't see who is going to help him in the mountains, Sky could really do with someone like Nibali in the team, who can help him out, or take on the lead role if he cracks and become a serious GT contender in short-medium term while we see what Thomas and then Kennaugh have really got.

And I completely accept that my judgement on may be clouded by hopeless optimism - but its ~25 years since we had a Brit we could get excited about in terms of overall and I wasnt even born last time it was an Englishman.

(yeah OK, pure climber/proper climber I agree its relative term, even a '****' climber like Cav still gets up Ventoux 30 minutes quicker than I do)
 
Jul 30, 2009
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Cerberus said:
I don't see the stage to Pau amounting to anything. No contender will attack because after the last mountain there is 60 km of descent and flat and when the contenders don't attack the pace won't be high enough to drop Wigging or anyone else who matters. Barring a really bad day of cause, that can always happen.
I think the course is being a bit overhyped as tough. Yeah its harder than last year but several valley floor finishes again.

Contador could just mark A Schleck knowing he will cream him in the TT. I dont think he will be able to resist taking the stage that finishes on top of the Tourmalet, but he can win the Tour just by marking Schleck then attacking on that stage and putting in a good TT. He might choose not to play it that way of course.

If the race is hard (eg too hard for Wiggo to hang in) then it will be because the Schlecks have to attack everywhere because the course dictates they need to have a big gap prior to the TT. But there are still plenty of opportunities for Wiggins, Evans etc to get back on because the finishes are at the end of a descent.

I guess if Contador loses a minute for every km of cobbles he could blow it, but otherwise the more you think about it, the more it's his to lose.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Galic Ho said:
Liked all the points. Seems like that is the way the race will be run. Bruyneel tactics not working as they use to. The telling part is Wiggins mental game. After the ITT at the Worlds, there were some excusing Brad's bike throwing tantrum. The man has Dura Ace gear on his bike. When does that slip up?I mountain bike a lot. I haven't thrown a chain in years, but Wiggins loses one, with state of the art gear and loses the plot at the same time.

You can tell a lot about somebodies mental state and thought process by how they deal with on road dramas. Take Michael Rogers for instance. The prologue in Monaco. A strong support group from Australia believed he would do well. Rogers was lukewarm. His statements to the media were that he threw 2 chains? I didn't believe a word of it. Knew then and there he was deploying the seasoned excuse book. Didn't shock me that he was worse as the Tour progressed, culminating in him taking out compatriot Haussler on the stage into Barcelona. Your head has to be in the game. Wiggins likes to open his mouth. Won't be hard to know in July whether his is.

Emotional stresses and pressure intensity will increase this year. Wiggins will need to toughen up, otherwise he will crack. Maybe a "When will Wiggo Wash Out" thread should be started.
of course, wiggo cracked spectacularly in athens when under immense pressure, only winning 2 golds.
 
Mar 30, 2009
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I personally am interested to see what Bradley Wiggins can do this year in the Tour. I wonder what difference it will make for him to have worked exclusively towards the Tour, checking out the stages/major climbs and working towards peaking in the middle to last week etc.

I dont think he will top 5 this year but I also dont think he will be made to look stupid. There are going to be an awful lot of riders who will struggle to deal with the accelerations of Contador and Schleck but its who deals with them the best that will take the third place in my opinion.

Another point though is whether or not the support crew in Team Sky are strong enough as a whole for a top GC team? Augustyn, Froome, Pauwels, Lovkvist and Barry are all good climbers but are they experienced enough and strong enough to ensure Wiggins is in the right positions on each climb?
 
Jun 28, 2009
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If the race is hard (eg too hard for Wiggo to hang in) then it will be because the Schlecks have to attack everywhere because the course dictates they need to have a big gap prior to the TT. But there are still plenty of opportunities for Wiggins, Evans etc to get back on because the finishes are at the end of a descent.
They are not going to only come from the Schlecks. Radioshack and Liquigas have some some cards to play in the game as well. It is going to be a constant Tour of attacks. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cadel skip the Tour and focus on the Giro and Vuelta where the fields are going to be weaker.
 
Cerberus said:
I don't see the stage to Pau amounting to anything. No contender will attack because after the last mountain there is 60 km of descent and flat and when the contenders don't attack the pace won't be high enough to drop Wigging or anyone else who matters. Barring a really bad day of cause, that can always happen.
If the stage is raced as a procession or riders wait until the last climb to attack then, yeah, the stage will be a waste because of the long run in to the finish. Racing like that will not beat Contador. AC is the best time trialist among the contenders. He also can accelerate the best in the mountains. If the Tour is raced like it was in the Armstrong years then Contador is sure to win.

Bruyneel's strategy was to reduce risk. He knew that a super doped Armstrong could grab time in the time trials and in the last couple of klicks of a mountain top finish. The goal was to reduce the Tour to only those types of opportunities.

To have a chance of beating Contador, the other riders need to introduce chaos into the race. He can make mistakes. He can bonk. He is willing to engage in real racing instead of the robotic boredom that Buryneel/Armstrong aimed for. Contador still probably wins in any situation, but at least there is a chance if the mountain stages come down to more than the last few kilometers.

On a stage like the one to Pau, teams like Saxo and Liquigas should rip the peloton apart early in the stage so that a small group of about fifteen or twenty contenders ride together the rest of the way. It might require collusion between teams. Make the stage really hard and a few contenders will falter. Maybe they get lucky and Contador is one of them. If they go over the top of the last climb with a dozen riders then that is enough to do the run in to Pau.
 
Mar 13, 2009
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BroDeal said:
If the stage is raced as a procession or riders wait until the last climb to attack then, yeah, the stage will be a waste because of the long run in to the finish. Racing like that will not beat Contador. AC is the best time trialist among the contenders. He also can accelerate the best in the mountains. If the Tour is raced like it was in the Armstrong years then Contador is sure to win.

Bruyneel's strategy was to reduce risk. He knew that a super doped Armstrong could grab time in the time trials and in the last couple of klicks of a mountain top finish. The goal was to reduce the Tour to only those types of opportunities.

To have a chance of beating Contador, the other riders need to introduce chaos into the race. He can make mistakes. He can bonk. He is willing to engage in real racing instead of the robotic boredom that Buryneel/Armstrong aimed for. Contador still probably wins in any situation, but at least there is a chance if the mountain stages come down to more than the last few kilometers.

On a stage like the one to Pau, teams like Saxo and Liquigas should rip the peloton apart early in the stage so that a small group of about fifteen or twenty contenders ride together the rest of the way. It might require collusion between teams. Make the stage really hard and a few contenders will falter. Maybe they get lucky and Contador is one of them. If they go over the top of the last climb with a dozen riders then that is enough to do the run in to Pau.
like Paris Nice stage 6, Contador was blocked or had a jour sans.

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/road/2009/mar09/parisnice09/?id=results/parisnice097
 
Aug 6, 2009
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BroDeal said:
If the stage is raced as a procession or riders wait until the last climb to attack then, yeah, the stage will be a waste because of the long run in to the finish. Racing like that will not beat Contador. AC is the best time trialist among the contenders. He also can accelerate the best in the mountains. If the Tour is raced like it was in the Armstrong years then Contador is sure to win.

Bruyneel's strategy was to reduce risk. He knew that a super doped Armstrong could grab time in the time trials and in the last couple of klicks of a mountain top finish. The goal was to reduce the Tour to only those types of opportunities.

To have a chance of beating Contador, the other riders need to introduce chaos into the race. He can make mistakes. He can bonk. He is willing to engage in real racing instead of the robotic boredom that Buryneel/Armstrong aimed for. Contador still probably wins in any situation, but at least there is a chance if the mountain stages come down to more than the last few kilometers.

On a stage like the one to Pau, teams like Saxo and Liquigas should rip the peloton apart early in the stage so that a small group of about fifteen or twenty contenders ride together the rest of the way. It might require collusion between teams. Make the stage really hard and a few contenders will falter. Maybe they get lucky and Contador is one of them. If they go over the top of the last climb with a dozen riders then that is enough to do the run in to Pau.
I keep hearing about such tactics, but I don't recall ever seeing them. To really make the climbs hard for people like Contador you need more than domestiques, you need to expend considerable effort from you major contenders and Contador can just sit back and wait, because from that distance Andy doesn't just need to drop Contador, he needs a fair number of other contenders with him. Even if you want to make an effort before the last mountain there are far better stage than Pau. Stages that don't have 40 km of flat at the end.
 
Cerberus said:
I keep hearing about such tactics, but I don't recall ever seeing them. To really make the climbs hard for people like Contador you need more than domestiques, you need to expend considerable effort from you major contenders and Contador can just sit back and wait, because from that distance Andy doesn't just need to drop Contador, he needs a fair number of other contenders with him. Even if you want to make an effort before the last mountain there are far better stage than Pau. Stages that don't have 40 km of flat at the end.
I am probably giving Wiggins way too much credit in assuming that he will still be in contention in the Pyrenees. He probably won't make it out of the Alps with his hopes alive.
Stage eight or nine will do him in.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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BroDeal said:
I am probably giving Wiggins way too much credit in assuming that he will still be in contention in the Pyrenees. He probably won't make it out of the Alps with his hopes alive.
Stage eight or nine will do him in.
Stage 8 looks like it has the most promise. Stage 9 has those 20 km of descent and 13 km of flat. Not as bad as 60 km descent and flat of cause, but still not ideal. Saxo Bank has attempted to send riders into breakaways to help the leaders with stages like that in the past though. I suppose that's one way that the Pau stage could amount to something, but of cause the other teams know that so they're likely to attempt to shut down any breakaway with Cancellara and Jens Voigt in it on those stages.
 
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thehog said:
"I never envisaged coming to Sky until I finished fourth,"

He seems a little confused, I thought in his previous interview he said he made his mind up during the first rest day :confused:

Quite a decent interview overall though, I think.

On JV: Among those arguing that Wiggins benefited from an "easy" 2009 Tour is Jonathan Vaughters, his former manager in Garmin. "I love Jonathan to bits but he's an emotional time bomb," Wiggins argues. "If I hadn't changed teams, he'd be bigging up my chances, saying the complete opposite."

On CVV: The Briton says it was only after seeing how another committed anti-doper, former team-mate Christian Vande Velde, took fourth in the 2008 Tour that he began to believe in his own chances. "Watching Christian was what inspired me. I thought, 'If Christian can do it, there's hope for everyone'."

:D I know what he means but it can come across as a bit like "Yeah, that CVV is so ***, I thought, Christ, if that chipper can do it anyone can!"
 
Jul 30, 2009
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That's a good interview. I think there are a couple of bits we can all agree on:

"It's *** or bust time."

"a lot of people who believe I'm going to lose miserably. But I say, what's the point of not trying?"

Ray Davies never had shades like that.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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Angliru said:
Yeah, it could be seen as that. He really needs to take a breath before speaking, unless it's his intent to be constantly controversial and dramatic.
(I'm not sure why the post of your quote came out in bold.:confused:)
I think you're being unfair there. Given the context it's very clear that he is saying that that if CVV as a rider he is confident is clean can do well then other clean riders (himself fx) can also do well. You have to really want to in order to read that as an attack on CVV.
 
May 6, 2009
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Personally, I don't really consider the contract side of things to influence my thoughts about those involved.
I just assume that if I was to sit down with for a beer, then I'd understand his reasons for doing everthing he has.

So far I see it as:
a) Brailsford & co wish to start a team
b) Sky get involved and it becomes a goer
c) They plan to have a mainly British team
d) They do the maths and realise that in order to get into the GTs they are going to have to win stuff, so they work out that most of the current crop of brits don't assure them of that, so they start looking for some promising young talent who have already shown.
e) They really want to keep the weight of the team british, but it's becoming tricky.
f) they think 'we need a flagship brit' Perhaps Wiggins is the man.
g) Wiggo finds Sky attractive because it's got a lot of his former British Cycling pals in there and some of his current training team. He also likes the fact that there is another 'clean' team and that he would be a 'star'.
h) But neither party can be absolutely sure that he could carry the GT hopes of the team
i) Le Tour performance gives everyone confidence. Sky push the button and Wiggo tells JV
j) Wiggo is assured by Sky that they'll take care of everything legally so he takes a back seat because he really just wants to focus on cycling. I'm sure there is a feeling that moving to Sky feels like the 'right' thing to do and that ultimately Garmin will be ok. Meanwhile, Sky go off gathering the rest of the team as planned.
k) It all takes a lot longer to sort out than anyone had expected, but the ball is rolling now, and it would all be a little sour if Wiggo stayed at Garmin - motivation would be low, so they plough on.
i) Eventually JV gives in to an offer in order to stop the mess from continuing.

Phew!

I'm pretty sire from reading all the comments that Brad/JV/Millar still hold a lot of warmth and respect for each other and that they all would have wanted it to be a bit cleaner.
Ultimately I feel that Brad is in the right place and I think the others all know this too.

For me personally, I wish Sky had a different sponsor, but other than that I think it's nice to be able to cheer for someone local. It's been far too lean while we staggered from R Millar to Yates to Sciandri to Boardman, etc.

On a slight downer though is the fact that now he's a GT contender, it means that we don't get to see him doing interesting stuff the rest of the year (except maybe time trials). It would probably be more fun to be a Norwegian cheering for Eddy.
Still there's always Cav.
 

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