By alantaylor, 01-Aug-2012 22:42:00
Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France And Olympic Gold Win Was Due To Five Key Success Factors
Bradley Wiggins won The 2012 Tour de France in the manner of a true champion. As well as the acclaim for being the first Briton to do so, the World Pro Cycling Scene is just starting to realize he won in a way that has no peers except Armstrong, Coppi and Merckx. For he showed the time trialling ability of Indurain but with more charisma. He showed the consistent climbing class of Armstrong but had more to offer his team on the flat. And he was streets ahead of those skinny hill climbers over the years, who have just hidden in the peleton and waited until everyone else was having a bad day in the mountains, to steal several minutes lead. Often the race was made for them until Armstrong’s team ethic and pacemakers started to nullify the chances for skinny freaks to catch the race by surprise.
Wiggins won with real class and he did it for five clear reasons:
Talent – it was seen from an early age that he had the height, the leg length and the cardio engine to create very high pedal revolutions in high gears and thus maintain a consistent high speed. Also the need to win is often in your DNA. Some people are born champions, often because they are just such bad losers. In Bradley’s case this is partly true, but he also had something positive to prove from his childhood. Just as with Lance Armstrong, a loving Mother and distant biological father seems to spark that extra level of hunger. The earlier victories at Olympic and World levels proved an exclusive pedigree for cycling speed.
Focus – this year there was just this one goal, with no distraction. The track racing was dropped. The London Olympics were merely an interesting opportunist week in the racing calendar. Everything was focused on Le Tour.
Experience – Bradley admits that last year’s Tour de France crash and his forced early withdrawal due to a broken collar bone gave him extra impetus this year. It should be remembered that he was already ‘mixing-it’ with the elite climbers, as far back as three years’ ago. Holding his own until the very final attacks on the Mont Ventoux with the esteemed company of Schleck, Contador and The Great Armstrong showed his class. Plus it gave him real confidence to climb the Grand Cols in his own way – avoiding the showmanship of Contador’s (allegedly artificially stimulated) uphill attacks or the short-term bursts of Schleck and this year, Nibali.
Professionalism – this was evident in the whole Sky set-up. Mental and physical preparation, selection of team members, the whole season’s perfect racing programme allowing three other stage-race victories to come Bradley’s way. And of course the single-minded attitude and planning of the whole team set-up. But it also rested on Bradley himself to take his self-discipline to a new level. Not easy with new-found wealth and a young family hardly seen during relentless nights recovering in soul-less hotels through training camps and long stage races. But his professional self-discipline held firm.
Belief – a new level of self-belief came from the realization that he had everything in his physical make-up to realize the ultimate road cyclists dream. This was brilliantly nurtured by his support team but also came from a rising stature and respect among the super-elite cadre of the world’s top riders. Slowing the peleton after Cadel Evans’ misfortune was not just sportsmanship but the action of someone who realized he was “Le Patron” at last.
There may just be one more year for Bradley to repeat this dominant victory again. But other teams and other Grand Tour contenders will find it very hard, in the short term, to establish these five factors for his success .
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