Something From The Weekend: Bradley Wiggins; Australian cricket

The Good, the Bad and the Odd
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The Independent Online

The Good: Bradley Wiggins

british cycling is enjoying a golden era and Wiggins is one of the main reasons why. The Londoner has won Olympic gold medals and finished fourth in the 2009 Tour de France, but yesterday's triumph in the Dauphiné Libéré may be his most satisfying moment, since it proved he has the grit to duke it out with his rivals in the high mountains. "Wiggo", as pals call him, is a pretty phlegmatic personality but he'll be feeling extremely pleased with himself tonight. And rightly so: this key pre-Tour event has been won by many of the biggest names in cycling over the years – Merckx, Indurain, Armstrong, Monsieur Hulot. Now all Wiggins has to do is follow this success by riding up the Champs-Elysées in triumph on 24 July. Easy peasy.

The Bad: Australian cricket

There's something beautiful about the pitiful mess that is Australian cricket. Not only have they lost three of the last four Ashes – count 'em, Ponts – but they've also descended into the sort of selectorial blundering that characterised England in the bad years. Yesterday, federal Defence Minister (it says here) Stephen Smith was moved to wade into the Simon-Katich-losing-his-central-contract situation. "It's an extraordinary decision," he raged. "Simon Katich has got the resolve and the grit and the determination that you want to have during hard times. This is a bloke who over the last 30 Tests has got nearly 3,000 runs, an average of 50, and done better than Ponting and Mike Hussey. If he's not in the top 25 Australian cricketers, I'll go hee for chasey." Er, quite.

The Odd: Dead on Fed

Imagine if you'd placed a hefty bet on Roger Federer winning Wimbledon seven times. You'd be pretty excited at the moment, wouldn't you, what with the 16-times Grand Slam winner in good form and SW19 just a week away from taking centre stage? Well, that's what Oxford man Nick Newlife did – but he isn't, having died at the age of 59 in 2009. Luckily, this story has a potential happy ending: Newlife bequeathed his betting slip to Oxfam, so if the Swiss wins at Wimbledon any time before 2019 they'll be better off to the tune of £101,840. "Federer could yet prove a literal dead cert for Mr Newlife and Oxfam!" said a William Hill spokesman, slightly tastelessly. Nonetheless, it's one more reason for middle England to get behind Federer.

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