Without doubt the vast majority of British bike riders are going to have very fond memories of 2012. It really doesn’t get any better than Bradley’s Tour win and then to cap it with such phenomenal Olympic success is still quite unbelievable.
I’ve never known anything quite like it in some three and a half decades of reporting this sport and I suspect that those balmy seven weeks in July and August will remain my highlight. Seeing Bradley Wiggins climbing at the front of the Tour de France in the yellow jersey and the roar of the crowd in the London velodrome are certainly memories to treasure.
Much has been made of our Olympic legacy and the combination of Games success and Bradley’s Tour victory has pushed British Cycling’s membership to an all time high. Further proof of cycling’s new found popularity is the competitive bids to bring the Tour de France to the UK in 2014.
Of course there were also a number of lows besides the incessant wet weather in 2012. Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace was pretty spectacular. Many influential people in the sport thought that the Texan was immune from prosecution, as did the cheat himself, so it’s all credit to USADA that they were able to expose ‘the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.’
Unfortunately the fallout also hit Sky, who in the pursuit of their zero tolerance doping policy parted company with several employees. It’ll leave gaps in the team’s management but with Wiggins and Chris Froome, Sky still start the season as favourites for a Giro/Tour double.