Back at his team?s hotel, on a characterless trading estate to the south of Strasbourg, Bradley Wiggins headed down to the bar, ordered a coffee and watched England?s World Cup quarter-final against Portugal.

While the majority of his Cofidis team-mates waited for the French to take on Brazil in the late match, Brad cut a lonely figure until Cycling Weekly turned up midway through the second half.

?You?ve missed it all,? he said. A quick glance at the screen showed it was still 0-0. What have we missed? ?Rooney just got sent off for treading on someone?s nuts. Lampard?s hit about four over the bar and we?ve got Peter Crouch up front. He?s useless. We?re actually playing alright though.?

Extra-time beckoned and things started to get really tense as it became obvious penalties were on the cards.

Two TV crews ? one from Germany and the other from ITV ? were filming Brad?s every wince whenever Portugal slung the ball into the penalty area.

?We never win on penalties,? he said, with typical English optimism. Things were getting tenser and it didn?t help that half the Caisse d?Epargne team had arrived in the bar to support Portugal. But they?re Spanish.

Steven Gerrard will miss, said Cycling Weekly?s correspondent, anticipating impending misery. ?Not for 120 grand a week, he won?t,? said Brad. Gerrard missed and England went out on penalties. Of course they did.

Were Brad?s Cofidis pals sympathetic? Not judging by the laughter, no. ?I hope Brazil stuff them tonight,? he said.