UK: Nation of cycling fans!

Consider this: Just 12 months ago, a British rider had never won a Grand Tour.

Now we’re in the process of wining our second. Last year’s Vuelta was the breakthrough, with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome rehearsing their master and servant routine. Second and third overall in Spain last year translates to winner and runner-up in the Tour de France this year. Now, for the first time, Froome is off the leash, leading Team Sky, and he’s making a pretty good job of it too. Our man is matching the Spanish climbers, all the while aware that he’s the best time triallist in the race.

The Vuelta is his to lose – and no one’s surprised. How quickly we’ve become used to British greatness. Of course, success breeds success. Because of the potential of the British win, ITV4 is broadcasting an unprecedented second Grand Tour. And because it’s on mainstream TV, it’ll grow awareness of Froome, Team Sky and the race. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to avoid bike racing these days, since we’ve managed to infiltrate the homes of the nation. Television validates cycling as an acceptable leisure pursuit. If it’s on TV it must be OK. We’ve gone mainstream and not before time!

Robert Garbutt, Editor.