Wiggins plus Roubaix: project pavé?
Word is that Bradley Wiggins really does fancy a crack at Paris – Roubaix in 2014. Actually in this context, the ‘word is’ means that the whispers, speculation and circumstantial ‘evidence’ have been totted up enabling a headline to be conjured: Wiggins is going for Roubaix in 2014.
Seriously? Can we interpret rumours, speculate a bit, read the runes and conclude that ‘Project pavé’ really is on? Where did this mad rumour begin? Not in a smoke-filled and windowless room, but in a pub. A sometime supplier of goods and services to the Wiggins household asked if I believed in all the ‘Gain weight to improve time trialing stuff’ that I had read. In as much as I had been partly responsible for them I felt obliged to say I did.
More fool me. It turns out that the weight and (presumed) power gains which Wiggins had talked about as long ago at the Tour of Poland in August 2013, were part of a long term project of gaining flatland horsepower for a tilt at the Hell of the North in April 2014. “The thing is,” added my mole, “Brad’s won one of everything, hasn’t he? A Grand Tour, Olympic gold on road and track and World track golds – but one of the thing’s he’s missing is a Classic, isn’t it? He’s not got a Classic.” Well, that much is certainly true.
The obvious course of action was to email Sky Performance Director Tim Kerrison and ask him about ‘purely hypothetical’ questions about the physical demands of racing Paris-Roubaix. Answer came there none.
The next obvious course of action was to slip in a ‘sneaky’ question to Sky coach Rod Ellingworth. who might also have heard rumblings. “Well. Someone said that? What I’ve said is that we have deliberately pushed back on race programmes at the minute because we are doing some quite big reviews within the team at the moment, in terms of asking where we are going and there’s been a lot of questioning of what we’ve done and so on. Everyone – riders and staff – have big questionnaires to fill in. So for now (November), we’ve been holding back on those decisions. Obviously some riders know what they want to be doing, but, er..I’ve heard that Brad wants to ride Roubaix, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen, to be honest,” said Ellingworth, adding, “I’d love to see him ride it and be competitive.”
So, for the purposes of this speculative little story, we’ll take that as a cast-iron guarantee that we can crack on with those Wiggo4Roubaix banners and book our ferry tickets, right? Since Sky is having a team get-together in Mallorca in early December, we can expect a little more clarity after that.
Kenny Pryde, 26 November 2013.