I’ll admit to being something of a Wiggins Skeptic. Not in the sense that he might be doping or cheating or anything like that, but in the sense that brilliant Tour performances from flatlanders tend to be one-off deals.
There’s no doubt he’s got a couple more Top 10 TdF rides in him, but seeing how deep he dug for 4th last year, and how easily Contador and Schleck distanced themselves on the big climbs made rumors of his off-season transfer fee an eyebrow-raiser for me.
But Wiggo made a pretty strong statement today. Yes, the short, flat TT is his metier, but it can’t be easy to come into a Grand Tour as the favorite for the first stage—especially when you have no wins on the season, and when you’re just using the Giro as a tune-up race. Take five million pounds of expectation, add some slippery conditions, and the misfortunes of another British chrono crossover, and you could get your head into a real mess over this stage.
Don’t get me wrong—we’re still a long way from the foot of the Morzine, but today’s win is a very good sign for Wiggins fans. It would have been no big deal for the Brit to come in second—heck, anywhere in the top five would have been a good enough indicator of fitness—but taking the win showed resilience to pressure, and, perhaps most importantly, a still-burning desire to be the fastest SOB out there.
I’m not quite at a point where I’ll say he was worth the money, but I’m definitely looking forward to a more competitive performance in July.