Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bradley Wiggins Wins Tour of California, Tour de France Next?

This past weekend, British cyclist Bradley Wiggins reminded us all why he is still one of the best riders in the world, after winning the 2014 AMGEN Tour of California. The 8-day event was one of the most competitive in its history, with a field of riders packed with great talent. Wiggens, who took command of the event in the second stage, finished 30 seconds in front of his nearest competitor, Rohan Dennis of Garmin Sharp, which took home the top team honors.

The 8-stage, 700 mile (1126 km) Tour saw lots of fireworks between some of the top riders in the world. Cannondale's Peter Sagan took the Green Jersey as the sprint champion, edging out rival Mark Cavendish, who managed to win the eighth, and final stage. The King of the Mountain title, given to the best climber, was won by William Routely of Optum Pro Cycling, while the Best Young Rider jersey was given to Lawson Craddock of Team Giant-Shimano.

Of course, the Tour of California is just a tune-up for the big event – the Tour de France, which gets underway on Saturday, July 5. This year, Le Tour will feature 9 flat stages, 5 hill stages, 6 mountain stages – with 5 summit finishes – 1 individual time trial, and 2 rest days. As usual, it promises to be the premiere event in the world of cycling, starting this year in the U.K., before jumping across the Channel to France itself.

The question that cycling fans have now is whether or not Wiggins will be competing in the Tour de France, and whether or not he'll be allowed to compete for the win. You may recall that last year, Wiggins was forced to sit out of the race due to a knee injury and chest infection. That meant he was unable to defend his 2012 title, and the race was won by his Team Sky teammate Chris Froome. Following his Tour of California win this past weekend, Wiggins said that if he is lucky enough to ride in the TdF this year, he'll ride in support of Froome. But should the younger rider falter, Sky has another proven champion waiting in the wings. The course does seem to favor Froome though, who is an excellent climber in the mountains.

No matter what happens in the Tour later this summer, congrats to Bradley Wiggins on the big win at the Tour of California. It had to feel very good to have such a big win after a frustrating 2013 campaign. It's good to see him back in form.

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