Tour de France 2012 - Stage 19

Mark Cavendish finished the 53.5km time trial in 82nd place, some 6:58 on stage winner and TDF winner elect, Bradley Wiggins.

To think that a british team, with 2 british riders could finish 1-2 in the Tour would have been considered somewhat ambitious three years ago when Dave Brailsford announced the formation of Team Sky, to take on the best of the pro teams, yet, here we are in mid July 2012, with this proposition a reality, barring any last minute mishaps. Brailsford's aim was to win the Tour within 5 years and he has exceeded expectations...

So, where does that leave Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Mark Cavendish and british cycling?

Bradley Wiggins is 32 so will have at least a couple more decent Tour efforts in him... However, Chris Froome, the younger rider at 27, looked a stronger rider than Wiggo in the mountains, albeit Wiggo is the stronger time trialist. It will be interesting to see how Team Sky can manage these two riders, will Froome need to leave the team to fulfil his ambition or will he wait until he becomes the dominant rider on the team?

Mark Cavendish has scored two stage wins this year and is favourite for a third stage win (and fourth in a row) on the Champs Elysees. This is an unusual year in that the Olympic road race is next Saturday and Cav is a clear favourite for that event, and hence has been held back somewhat in the Tour. However, Cavendish has not been the centre of attention at Team Sky, like he was at Highroad (HTC, Columbia etc...) and will never be at the Tour de France whilst Team Sky concentrate on the yellow jersey. Will he want to stay at Team Sky long term? Team Sky offers that seamless integration with the Great Britain road team (be this the Olympics or the World Championships), that, perhaps, a rival continental team wouldn't... However, a Highroad type team with Mark as team leader, will maximise opportunities for stage wins...

As for british cycling in terms of the organisation and in a wider perspective, as a member of BC myself, I can see membership increasing dramatically, the number of "Sky rides" increasing and the number of sportives increasing around the country. More importantly, the use of a bicycle as a form of transport may be taken more seriously and less associated with poverty - i.e. a lifestyle choice rather than economic necessity. Cycling is a cheap hobby and is a great form of exercise, of course, it can be an expensive hobby if you want it to be....

We stand on the precipice of history - the first british winner of the Tour!

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