Wiggins Wins Tour de Romandie
Our fantastic Tour de Romandie weekend riding and following the Tour finished with Bradley Wiggins becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de Romandie.
Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins was 9 seconds down on overnight leader Luis León Sánchez coming into the testing 16.24km in Crans-Montana Time Trial (TT) and needed to beat all of his major rivals to claim a historic Yellow Jersey in this prestigious six day stage race in the French speaking region of Switzerland.
Recon Ride with the Pros
Our Tour de Romandie weekend started with a recon ride that included the full course. One of the great privileges of the sport of cycling is that you can ride the same course just hours before your heroes, imagine trying to do that at Wembley!
In fact we rode alongside many of the pros as they completed their recon ride, with 2011 Tour de Romandie winner Cadel Evans riding past clinging to his team car as he was dragged up a 12% climb on the tough TT course.
This was deceptively tough course with the road ramping to +15% on some of the bends and a strong Foehn wind gusting up to 75km/h throughout the day.
Our climb was thoroughly enjoyable and all the more special for being on closed roads, surrounded by pro riders and appreciative cycling fans lining the beautiful tree lined climb.
Crans-Montana TT – The Showdown on the Alp
After our tour we settled down to lunch on a 180 degree bend of the course where the riders were narrowly missing a lamppost on the exit against the backdrop of mountains, lakes, team buses and mechanics trucks.
As the Tour de Romandie reached the final top 20 riders it became clear that Team Sky’s Riche Porte had set an incredible time, the Australian super domestique was comfortably half a minute clear until late in the day. After 2011 Tour de Romandie winner Cadel Evans faded out on the course, Richie Porte’s time was then smashed by the sensational Andrew Talansky, leader of the Young Rider classification, who rode a blistering TT to lead the race and wear virtual Yellow as the leader of the Tour de Romandie.
With just three riders remaining time trial specialist Mick Rogers of Team Sky had a poor ride with his huge efforts throughout the week protecting Bradley Wiggins finally telling.
Wiggins set of at a scarily quick pace through the technical and very windy descent before hitting the ramp at the bottom of the 4.5km climb at high speed. As Wiggins changed down to the smaller chain ring his chain jumped off and his attempts to flick it back on failed. With the race being relayed live on the big screen at the finish we had our hearts in our mouths until finally a Team Sky mechanic flicked the chain back on and two mechanics pushed Wiggins back up the hill.
At the intermediate time check Wiggins was faster than Talansky despite losing 15 seconds to a truly unlucky mechanical. Bradley Wiggins then put in an amazing effort to hold on for the final 8km through a long false flat and a technical finish in the centre of Crans-Montana. Team Sky’s leader then showed his track cycling skills as he stayed on the TT bars through corners where other riders had been out of the saddle and on the handlebar drops.
Wiggins eventually crossed the line just seven tenths of a second ahead of Talansky but it was enough to win the Tour de Romandie by 12 seconds and become the first ever British rider to win Tour de Romandie.
It was a true test of a GC rider; it had a bit of everything in it plus a mechanical for myself. I’m pleased with the way I handled that moment because a few years ago I might have thrown my toys out of the pram and chucked my bike down the ravine! It was a good test for the bigger races coming up and I’m delighted.
I think this year is a result of the hard work I’ve put in this winter. I’ve really grafted at it and hopefully there’s more to come.
Bradley Wiggins, 2012 Tour de Romandie Winner
Wiggins Looking Good in Yellow
Bradley Wiggins openly targeted the overall win for the Tour de Romandie, seeing this beautiful race as a key opportunity to warm up ahead of the Tour de France. Cadel Evans won the 2011 Tour de Romandie and went on to win the 2011 Tour de France.
Team Principal Dave Brailsford sees a successful week of cycling in Switzerland as an indicator of Team Sky’s increasing maturity and progress in the race craft needed to succeed at the Grand Tours;
Obviously Bradley is now demonstrating that he can perform at the highest level in these races, but I think more importantly, from my perspective, is I’m interested in how the overall team performs. Not just the riders but the backroom staff. I’m very pleased with the week in Switzerland.
We’ve had a flawless performance on the bike. People don’t see it but it’s becoming a well-oiled machine both on the road and off the road. That’s very pleasing and people are really starting to establish themselves in their roles.
Dave Brailsford, Team Sky Principal
Bradley Wiggins will use the Criterium du Dauphine as his final pre Tour warm up race and SwissRetreat will be at the Criterium du Dauphine to watch the action live.
Cycling Holidays in Switzerland
If the stunning imagery and fantastic riding here in Switzerland has inspired you then check out our fully supported bike holidays in Switzerland.
If you would like to watch Bradley Wiggins defend his title in 2013 then check out our Tour de Romandie weekend where you can watch the action live just after riding the stages yourself.