Odd Man Out 06/07/2014
Cycling has always been a sport that pushes forward a dominant leader, often on the back of sacrifices made by their team mates, and to the frustration to the new and up and coming. It is also a sport that has a history littered with internal team rivalries gone wrong. Roche and Visentini, Hinault and Lemond, Armstrong and Contador – as old as the mountains they climb dual leadership has just caused problems (but also a lot of podium spots). Riders inevitably reach the top of their game sometimes in the same window and on the same team, and look for “Their Time”. So knowing all of this, why do I feel like the Team Sky decision to not have Wiggins at the Tour alongside Froome is just wrong? When did Sky ever look at this sport and not try to change how things are done? Is this just Sky abdicating some good old people management? Or does Brailsford just have a gun to his head?
Cards on the table, I am a Wiggins fan. I love the sports personalities I follow to have personality. It is why I also love Cadel Evans so much. They say what they think, not what they are told to think, and don’t belch out clichés and scripts. They have another dimension that makes their given sports better for their presence. I loved watching McEnroe play even though he sounded like an ass and I didn’t really follow tennis. I loved Roy Keane even though he walked out on Ireland during a World Cup. The sports they graced were definitely better for them. I think Wiggins is one of those stars, a weird and wonderful personality that strives on support and confidence, and is a supreme athlete. The ultimate product of the British cycling system that the people behind Sky invented. When he is focused I can forgive the rest and want him on the biggest stage our sport has to offer. Sometimes managing that personality is part of the job and is just as important as managing his numbers. But Brailsford knows all this he helped make him who he is.