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DANIEL FRIEBE

ALLEZ WIGGO!

HOW BRADLEY WIGGINS WON THE TOUR DE FRANCE AND OLYMPIC GOLD IN 2012

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CONTENTS 01

ALLEZ WIGGO!

8

The story behind Bradley Wiggins’ road to triumph on the Tour.

02

IN THE BEGINNING

24

‘Kids from Kilburn aren’t supposed to win the Tour de France.’

03

ANNUS MIRABILIS

28

Wiggins’ wonder year in 2012: total dominance from spring to summer.

04

GRAND DÉPART

36

The tour sets out from Liège: early success for Cancellara with Wiggins just behind.

05

STAYING ALIVE

46

Sucess and disaster for Team Sky, while the ‘massacre at Metz’ breaks apart the peloton.

06

ASCENSION TO THE THRONE

60

Team Sky take charge in the Vosges and Wiggins takes the ‘maillot jaune’.

07

POETRY IN MOTION

72

Playing to his strengths, Wiggins excels in the time trial

08

UNDER SIEGE

86

Former champion, Cadel Evans and Vincenzo Nibali try and fail to challenge Wiggins’ dominance.

09

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM

104

A brief respite between the mountains: Wiggins and Team Sky remain on top.

10

HOME STRETCH

114

Sabotage in the Pyrenees – the notorious carpet tack incident. Wiggins and Froome are still unbroken.

11

FINAL FIGHT

132

Wiggins and Froome on top – but controversy over the latter’s tactics.

12

GLORY

152

Triumph in Paris. Wiggins becomes the Tour’s first British winner.

13

OYLMPICS: TRIALS AND TRIUMPH

162

Team GB face disappointment in the Olympic road race, but Wiggins takes charge to win the time trial.

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IN THE BEGINNING ‘Kids from Kilburn aren’t supposed to win the Tour de France,’ Brad Wiggins said more than once during the Tour, meaning that there were few unlikelier breeding grounds for the best road cyclist on the planet than a modestly-heeled district of north-west London. He was born in Ghent, in the heart of bike-mad Belgium, but before he was three, Wiggins’ track-racing father and mother had separated and Bradley was living in London. At the time, he was right, there could have been few less obvious starting points for an odyssey towards cycling’s most exalted heights. ‘The only roads we could find for me to learn to ride my bike, without any traffic, were around the Serpentine in Hyde Park,’ Wiggins recalled a few years ago. His other nursery, in cycling terms, was the Herne Hill velodrome. What he didn’t learn in races around the concrete track, he picked up in the bicycle polo matches the coaches arranged on Saturday mornings. When he wasn’t riding, the young Wiggins was watching and dreaming about emulating his heroes. ‘The other kids had posters of Gary Lineker on their bedroom wall. I had Miguel Indurain on mine,’ he said during the Tour. A couple of decades later the French were telling Wiggins that he won the Tour à la Indurain – defending in the mountains and dominating in time trials.

01

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01

The pale, shy teenager from Kilburn who, by his own reckoning now, ‘wasn’t supposed to win the Tour

02

de France’. Behind the rosy-cheeked exterior lay a prodigious talent.

02

Aged 18, Wiggins accepts his prize for the National Junior Points Race title from his erstwhile inspiration, later to become directeur sportif, Sean Yates.

03

Wiggins wins the 1997 Archer Spring road race at the age of just 17. Unlike a lot of aspiring young British pros at the time, Wiggins earned his spurs mainly in bunch races rather than time trials.

03

In the beginning

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025

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03

01

01

02

Even during years in the road-racing wilderness, Wiggins’ colourful personality made him a popular interview subject. He is photographed here for a feature with French magazine Vélo in 2007.

02

Becoming world champion in the individual pursuit in 2003. One of Wiggins’ coaches, Shane Sutton, says today that, ‘If he’d applied himself on the track, really applied himself, there’d be no record left standing.’

03

Part of the British quartet in the team pursuit, Wiggins starts his collection of Olympic medals with a bronze in Sydney in 2000. Paul Manning, Chris Newton and Bryan Steel made up the four.

026

In the beginning

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ANNUS MIRABILIS Bradley Wiggins’ wonder year didn’t begin at the Tour de France – not by a long chalk. No rider, not even the great Eddy Merckx, had ever reeled off victories in Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandy and the Criterium du Dauphiné, the treble achieved by Wiggins in the spring. All three wins were very much in the image of Wiggins’ Tour. All three were built upon success in time trials, resilience in the mountains and impeccable tactics and teamwork on every other terrain. It wasn’t spectacular – but that lack of fireworks perhaps blinded his rivals to how efficient the Sky machine was becoming. Although Wiggins now stressed that he wasn’t racing to train, his victories had the added merit of preparing him for July, not only on the road, but off it as well, in the media glare. By the time the Tour came around he felt like an old hand, and certainly very different from the rider who seemed so edgy in his first Tour with Sky in 2010. On the evidence of this year, British riders will in all likelihood win the Tour again. The chances of anyone emulating Wiggins’ 2012 annus mirabilis, though, are smaller than miniscule.

01

01

Wiggins won Paris-Nice in March with a flourish, with victory in the time-honoured final time trial up the Col D’Eze. Here we see him in his British national champion’s jersey.

02

The final podium at the Dauphiné, with Wiggins first and his Sky team mate Michael Rogers second, was a sign of things to come. Cadel Evans’ third place, on the other hand, raised hopes that would be dashed.

028 Annus mirabilis

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02

Annus mirabilis 029

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Wiggins’ Paris-Nice performance was a lesson in brilliant positioning – so crucial on the windswept plains of northern France. Here on stage 3 he already sports the leader’s yellow jersey. 030 Annus mirabilis

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01

01

Wiggins makes his way to the podium to collect his winner’s bouquet and Paris-Nice trophy after the Col D’Eze time trial. One of the key members of his support team, coach Tim Kerrison, smiles in the background.

02

A majestic backdrop for a majestic performance: Wiggins adds the prestigious Tour of Romandy to his season’s winnings thanks to another peerless ride in the time trial at Crans Montana.

02

032 Annus mirabilis

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Annus mirabilis 033

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01

Wiggins’ form was such that at the Dauphiné in June he could hardly help floating off the front of the bunch. Here, he

01

is in total control descending on the stage to Rumilly.

02

Effectively a dry run for the time trials at the Tour, the 53km test to Bourg-en-Bresse at the Dauphiné allowed Wiggins to fully exhibit his prowess against the clock. Yet another victory ensued.

02

034 Annus mirabilis

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Annus mirabilis 035

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GRAND DÉPART The last time the Tour de France started in Liège, in 2004, Lance Armstrong was still a hero and very much the Tour favourite. Bradley Wiggins, meanwhile, was in the final phase of training before his gold medal-winning ride in the individual pursuit at the Athens Olympics. The one constant, then and now, was Fabian Cancellara. In 2004, the Swiss joined a very elite club of riders to have taken the yellow jersey on their first day in the Tour de France. That afternoon, Armstrong was second, and he would go on to win the Tour, at least as far as everyone was concerned at the time. Eight years on, with hindsight, Wiggins’ second place behind Cancellara could hence be read as an excellent omen. Solid prologue performances by Michael Rogers and Edvald Boasson Hagen sent Sky straight to the top of the team classification and, more importantly, suggested that the British team was picking up where it had left off in the Dauphiné. The worst news on the opening weekend was Chris Froome’s puncture 15km from Seraing on stage 1; all that really meant, though, was that Dave Brailsford’s job would be slightly easier when Froome began straining at the leash in the Alps.

01 01

Would Cavendish muscle in and disrupt Wiggins’ Tour bid with ambitions of his own at the Tour? Debate had raged all season about how Team Sky would reconcile their interests.

02

Cavendish and Wiggins pose for more pictures at the behest of L’Equipe, the French sports daily. Great Britain could now boast two of the outstanding stars of the Tour.

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02

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01

01

Injured for much of the spring, Fabian Cancellara was something of an unknown quantity before the prologue, but staged an action replay of his previous victory when the Tour last started in Liège in 2004.

02

Can a lot be deduced about a rider’s form from a 6.1km prologue? Not a lot, but something – and Wiggins’ second place behind Cancellara confirmed that he was in fine order.

038 Grand départ

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02

Grand dĂŠpart 039

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The men charged with delivering Wiggins to Paris in yellow. From left to right, directeur sportif Sean Yates, Wiggins, Michael Rogers, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Christian Knees, Mark Cavendish, Richie Porte, Bernhard Eisel, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Chris Froome and the second directeur sportif Servais Knaven.

040 Grand dĂŠpart

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01

000 Allez Wilggo!

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01

Another shot from the prologue, demonstrating the textbook, aerodynamic position that many other riders will try to copy, but few can achieve.

02

Cancellara signs a yellow jersey before the start of stage 1 in Liège. After a rotten spring for his RadioShack team, his prologue win had been a much-needed tonic.

03

Cancellara takes it easy before the hard graft starts en route to Seraing on stage 1. ‘Spartacus’ was in supreme form as he showed later that day by narrowly missing out on a second straight stage win.

02

03 Grand départ 043

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01

01

The incongruous sight of Wiggins in the green points competition jersey, usually reserved for sprinters. Note also the yellow helmet denoting that Team Sky led the team classification: this was a new introduction to the Tour’s colourful livery.

02

Most pundits expected Peter Sagan of Slovakia to make a big impact on his first Tour. He didn’t disappoint, winning straight away and in emphatic style in Seraing.

02

044 Grand départ

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Published 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP Copyright © 2012 text by Daniel Friebe Copyright © 2012 in the photographs Offside Sports Photography The right of Daniel Friebe to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. ISBN (print) 978-1-4081-9069-2 A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means – photographic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage or retrieval systems – without permission of the publishers. This book is produced using paper that is made from wood grown in managed sustainable forests. It is natural, renewable and recyclable. The logging and manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country of origin. Design: XAB Design Printed by Mohn media Mohndruck GmbH Gütersloh, Germany 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Allez Wiggo!  

Browse a few pages from Daniel Friebe's new book Allez Wiggo! A photographic celebration that captures Bradley Wiggins record breaking summe...

Allez Wiggo!  

Browse a few pages from Daniel Friebe's new book Allez Wiggo! A photographic celebration that captures Bradley Wiggins record breaking summe...

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