It was a phenomenal feeling; turning on the power, seeing Cav come past tucked in safely on Eddie’s wheel, then pedalling up the avenue next to Mick and Richie. I knew Cav could win; I knew I had done the job.
The quote above is from the moment that Bradley Wiggins finished his turn in leading out Mark Cavendish on the final stage of the Tour de France in 2012. It was an unprecedented lead out, as Wiggins was wearing the yellow jersey and was just about to become the first Brit to ever win it. Normally the yellow jersey holder wouldn’t take such a risk, but in this instance the team were behind him and they wanted to repay Cavendish’s efforts from the past three weeks with a stage win at the grandest finish in cycle racing, the Champs Elysees. They certainly did it in style, and I remember leaping up and down with excitement in front of the TV at the time. This book brought those emotions back in full.
Wiggins’ book is full of such pieces. He paints a picture with his words clearly showing the emotion and drama in a particular moment, whether it was in the Tour, the Olympic road race, or simply from a training ride. Wiggins has clearly made the most of this book to emphasize the way that many situations occurred from his own perspective, and they are often very different from the way the media were reporting them at the time. He shares his motivations, his emotions and in many situations it gives him the chance to effectively get the last word in. His view is a most welcome one. Do you want to know the truth about where his anger came from when he was accused of doping throughout the tour? Did you want to know what really happened during the Olympic Road Race? Did you want to know what Wiggins wants to achieve next, in his own words?
Wiggins is a fascinating character, with a tremendous love of cycling history and a distinctly working class background which adds an unexpected depth to his memoires recorded in this book. His words demonstrate the unspoken code of honour that runs throughout cycle racing at the highest level, and reveal just how much cycling team mates rely on each other. It also shows how much a small amount of confusion can start to undermine a team. Chris Frome in the 2012 Tour anyone?
The book comes across as plain spoken and honest, and I for one really enjoyed it. At first I put it off because I am already aware of a lot of Wiggins’ history and I didn’t want to read the same old things over again. I needn’t have worried as the book firmly focuses on his recent Tour history through to the Olympic Time Trial win in 2012, and it only delves further into the past when it is required to explain a particular aspect of his character or to flesh out a point.
If you are a fan of cycling, the Tour, or just his sideburns then Bradley Wiggins’ My Time is well worth a read. No prior cycling knowledge is required!