One thing that surprised me about this year’s Tour de France was how short a price Bradley Wiggins was to win the great race.
Even before he faced the starter for the first time, the English rider was as low as 5/4. Bear in mind the race goes on for three weeks, and aside from being one of the great energy-sapping tests in sport, the dangers of injury are only too obvious.
Of course, while the prize that matters goes to an individual, teams play a major role, and being a member of the powerful Sky set-up, Wiggins has no shortage of assistance, off the road as much as on it. If the two-time winner of gold at the Beijing Olympics stays sound, it will be him and not any of his Sky Procycling colleagues who’ll be in yellow on the Paris podium next Sunday.
Nicolas Roche, son of Stephen, Ireland’s only winner of the Tour, won’t be taking the spoils this year, but may do in the future. He’s in 19th position overall at the time of writing and could move up a place or two by next Sunday. One way or the other, he’ll have his highest ever finish.
Did you know that Roche the younger had his first-ever win in a race over the Dundalk-Knockbridge circuit? It was an under-14 event, organised by Cuchulainn CC, and took place in 1998. That piece of information, mentioned in Roche’s book, he says, comes from long-time Dundalk cycling enthusiast, Sean Duffy, whose son, also named Sean, took part in the race.
Duffy the elder has further info in his e-mail. It’s on a charity fun-walk taking place this Saturday, July 21. It covers the Tain Trail from the Lumpers, Ballymakellett, to Carlingford, and money raised will go to the Haiti earthquake victims. Entry-fee is €25, and signing on is at 2pm.
Sean says there’ll be banter, ballads and a barbecue at the Carlingford Sailing Club afterwards.