A confession from Paris

I used to shave my legs. Just like Bradley Wiggins. But there the comparison ends.

I have an admission: I used to shave my legs.

Just like Bradley Wiggins. But there the comparison ends.

I’m writing as he is about to start the final time trial on Saturday.

When he rides up the Champs Elysees on Sunday to claim victory, barring upsets, I will be there.

Not as a journalist in reporting mode, but as a fan.

As a schoolboy, I read French cycling magazines, understanding very little, ate Italian food, and, of course, shaved my legs, trying to emulate my continental heroes.

None of this seemed to make me go any quicker as I trained 200 kilometres a week. And my mates in the football team thought I was crackers.

In the local cycling club, the older, better riders would occasionally try their luck racing in France.

This was the 1960s, and they would return with dramatic stories of amphetamine popping riders. Doping was said to do you good. Since then it has become a sophisticated process with the collusion of doctors.

Long ago the great Italian rider Coppi once said: “Do you expect us to do it all just on mineral water?”

Well, Bradley Wiggins has done it by riding clean, sans dope.

A combination of great natural talent and hard training. To ride mountain range after mountain range, day after day, at an amazing pace is even more beyond belief when you’ve tried to hang-in an amateur road race peleton.

I rate Wiggins’ triumph – barring accidents – the english sporting achievement of the summer.

That’s a big claim in Olympic year.

But then I’m biased. I used to shave my legs. Allez, Wiggo!

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