PORRENTRUY, Switzerland (VN) — Cycling, even at its most atmospheric level, is just like anything else: Overthink it, and you’re toast.
“As I’ve said in the past, I try not to think too much anymore. We can all think too much in these things. Just see what pans out on the road,” said Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, who now holds the yellow jersey by 10 seconds over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). “I don’t know what to expect. You just take what comes on the road.”
Wiggins found himself in yellow after his Sky team unleashed an attack low on La Planche des Belles Filles that harkened back to Lance Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams. All but Evans and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) were spit out the back of the group, and tempo-man Chris Froome (Sky) took the stage.
Wiggins kept the jersey on Sunday, after he and others nailed back a series of attacks by Evans on the way to Porrentruy.
Wiggins chatted with reporters before signing in for Sunday’s stage 8 into Switzerland. It was the first time he’s spoken to the press prior to a stage at this year’s Tour.
He seemed at ease in yellow, and the session marked a departure from the mum’s-the-word tack that the cheeky Tour favorite has taken thus far. Wiggins even let a young fan under the rope for a photograph.
“It’s an incredible feeling,” Wiggins said of his yellow jersey. “It’s the Tour de France. The people that have won this jersey before — it’s a special feeling.”
Wiggins is clearly capable of winning this Tour, if his luck and form hold. The realization he could be the first Briton to stand on the podium, let alone win the Tour, came over time. Asked when he realized he could win the Tour de France, Wiggins wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know really. It’s hard to say. I think, certainly, 2009 — I finished fourth — I thought if I really worked we could potentially win the Tour one day,” he said.
Then, in 2011, when Wiggins broke his collarbone on stage 7 after finishing fourth the year before in Paris, he realized “how much it was going to take.”
“I perhaps took it for granted a little bit in 2009,” he said.
Wiggins’ work has been well documented, with high-altitude training camps and massive amounts of climbing in preparation for the 2012 Tour. It’s a tall order to hold the jersey for the next two weeks. Wiggins knows that and may let it go.
“Well, maybe lose it, and then take it back. Who knows? There’s a long way to go in this race,” he said. “The goal is to have it in Paris in a few weeks’ time. You can’t underestimate any day at the Tour.”