Take a bit of Belgian, a little English, a handful of track cycling, several Olympic Medals, a fantastic team, substantial amounts of cash, a mountain in Tenerife, a pinch of science, a little weight loss, an oval chain ring and three of the biggest stage races of the year and you have a recipe that produces, probably, the best bicycle rider in the World right now.
This time last year we were hailing Bradley Wiggins 2011 Dauphine victory as the highlight of his long career in cycling. 12 Months on, not only has Wiggins sprung from the trap to take Paris-Nice, stormed to victory at the Tour of Romandy but also repeated his 2011 victory in the Dauphine. He currently stands head and shoulders above his rivals. Closest to him is last years Tour Winner, Cadel Evans, who looked to be coming into form in this years Dauphine. Evans is a good time trialist but being 'good' may not cut it. Bradley Wiggins put over 30 seconds into World Time Trial champion Tony Martin at the Dauphine in the 53km TT. Beating a man that repeatedly destroyed the field in every TT going last year by that margin tells you just exactly what kind of form Wiggins is in and if Sean Yates is to be believed, Wiggins hasn't even peaked yet.
Things certainly are not looking good for Andy Schleck who climbed off his bike and abandoned the Dauphine a day after telling the press that he couldn't afford to abandon any more races. Schleck says a lot can change in 3 weeks and he's right, though I suspect this year it may be to late for Andy Schleck after his dismal season so far. Bruyneel may not even pick him - which would be interesting, especially if Schleck lines up at the Vuelta a Espana instead alongside long time rival Alberto Contador. Now that would be a spectacle.
I remarked previously about how more often than not the winner of the Dauphine has gone on to NOT win the Tour de France. Something all the riders are aware of in their build-up to the tour. Cyclists are a superstitious bunch. On the flipside though, only two other riders have ever won Paris-Nice and the Dauphine in a single season, Anquetil and Merckx. Both went on to win the Tour. Dare to dream? I'm close to betting my house on it...