Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins is on the cover of the majority of national newspapers today, some of which now predict a tour-inspired cycling boom, while others call for Wiggins to light the Olympic Flame at the London 2012 opening ceremony.
In recent years, national newspapers have embraced cycling stories in a far more pro-active way, with the likes of The Times promoting the benefits of cycling to government panels, as well as flagging up ways to improve city infrastructure for those taking to two wheel transport.
Never has cycling had coverage on this scale, though. We’re trawling through the tabloids and broadsheets this morning and have thus far found these highlights:
Dead centre of our pile and with a covermounted poster depicting Wiggins’ charge down the Champs de Elyses, The Times remains loyal to everything cycling – not only pushing two wheel transport to the masses on a regular basis, but telling the story of how Team Sky sprung the trap for Cavendish to take the final sprint – his 23rd tour stage win – across double page spreads front and back. The paper plugs its Cycling safety campaign on each and encourages readers to join.
The Independent and I
The Independent and concise sister title ‘I’ again dedicate front cover space and a generous chunk of prime sport section space to Team Sky’s achievement. Picturing Wiggins cycling alongside son Ben post race and aloft of his team mates’ shoulders, the Independent dedicates nine pages in total to recounting the historic Tour. A pull quote nestled among the facts and figures reads "for those who have followed his (Wiggins) career from the start, it’s pinch yourself time."
Numerous comment pieces feature, from discussions on how David Brailsford aims to make Team Sky the best the world has seen, (is it not already?) to a focus on Mark Cavendish and his journey to becoming the tour’s all time best sprinter.
Leading with the headline ‘Let him light the torch’, the tabloid paper begins with a strong recognition of Wiggins’ achievement in particular. Again dedicating a spread at the front and three pages at the back, the paper recounts the key stages where the race was won, in detail and has some stunning finish line photographs.
Focusing largely on the next challenge to be laid down infront of Team Sky’s riders, The Mirror discusses how Wiggins now looks set to ‘turn yellow into Gold’ at the olympics in just a week’s time. Celebrity quotes galore here, with congratulations offered up from the Prime Minister, Phillip Schofield and Chris Hoy among others.
Free paper Metro affectionately runs with a headline "Arise, Sir Sideburns", hinting that Wiggins should now be knighted to add to the OBE awarded to the race icon in 2005. The paper also breifly touches on the estimated £20 million in sponsorship deals now set to be thrown at the first Brit to scoop the Tour de France title.
Leading with a striking image of Wiggins on his team mates shoulders, there’s not a Diana story in sight as The Daily Mail dedicates pages one through five, as well as comment filled sports section to the Tour de France. Again, The Mail suggests it could be a lucrative win for Wiggins, as well as suggesting a knighthood is now likely.
The cover and five pages of the sport section analyse the win and the tour as a whole in depth. Topics include how Wiggins has won over plenty of french fans, a good arguement for why Wiggins is now set for Gold at London 2012 (no pressure…) and interestingly, how Wiggins will now become a style icon, and not just because of the trademark sideburns.
Pages 3, 20 and 21, as well as a prime chunk of the sport’s pages talk about David Brailsford’s tactics and whether team Sky can be kept together, should either Cavendish or Froome now want to push for future titles.
These run prominently through all titles, one in particular, seen below, catching our eye:
The Times: reverse of cover mounted poster discusses the anatomy of a Tour winner, calory intake, the bikes ridden and the team.