On yer bike...
If only it were that simple. Dave Brailsford, leader of Team Sky – which includes Britain’s biggest hope in Le Tour, Chris Froome – has shaken up the world of cycling over the past decade with his maverick philosophy of “marginal gains”.
Um, Accounting 101?
Not quite. In his own words: “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything... that goes into riding a bike, and improved it by 1 per cent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”
Everything. From sleeping in the right position, to having the same pillow and washing your hands correctly. As Brailsford once said: “If you do things like that properly, you will get ill a little bit less.”
And that attitude is exactly why you’re not in Team Sky. Looking at the results, it seems there’s method to the madness. At the 2004 Olympic Games, with Brailsford as performance director, GB’s cycling team won two gold medals, their best since 1908.
Winning 59 World Championship medals between 2003 and 2013, the team’s improvement was stark at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, where Team GB topped the cycling medal tables, winning eight golds each time. And yesterday he said Britain is now the “No 1” cycling nation in the world.
Ok, ok. But where’s Wiggins?
Good question. Brailsford is staking all on Froome to take the yellow jersey, leaving no place for Bradley and his lamb chops to be a rival leader. The man of marginal gains has left himself wide open on this one: should Froome not take pole position, he won’t be let off lightly.