Obviously, the main thing of interest to cycling fans like me in this story is the rather large hint that Bradley Wiggins appears to be dropping about moving to Team Sky next year.
(For those of you who have missed the details, it goes like this: British Cycling/Team Sky have announced about 2/3rds of their riders for next year, and it’s already a pretty strong line-up but without a team leader/yellow jersey contender. As Britain’s most successful Tour rider, Bradley Wiggins is the obvious choice for that role, but he’s under contract to Garmin-Slipstream for 2010. However, rumours suggest that Sky are willing to buy out his contract there – and thus giving Garmin the cash to sign Alberto Contador for next year, but that’s a whole other soap opera – but Wiggins has been rather non-committal whenever he gets asked about it. Honestly, the intricacies of pro cycling make the Formula 1 soap opera look simple by comparison.)
But the other thought it prompts is just what a success Team Sky has been for its sponsors. With no one on the team having yet turned a pedal in training for them – they’re all still racing for their current teams – let alone in a race, they’ve managed to get themselves mentioned a ridiculous number of times in the media. A quick Google News search suggest 500 recent mentions, and many of the reports of Edvald Boasson Hagen’s Tour of Britain victory mentioned his future team (Sky, who’ll no doubt be giving him the team’s first bonus for securing the number 1 jersey for next year’s race) before his current one (Columbia). Indeed, they could probably wind their sponsorship up now and claim success, especially as so much of the free advertising has come from their rivals.