The "Brit a Day" series

What does a months-long parade of attractive British men have to do with fiction, you might well ask? These gentlemen have inspired some lovely scenes, part of the life I live in my head. Over time, some of these scenes reach out to one another and begin to form a story. For the present, each one of these pictures provides a writing prompt for me, a way to keep me writing with a sense of passion and narrative, even when the stories are not yet fully formed.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Brit a Day [#152]

I'm going to start off writing about a Londoner today but may well end up talking about a Scot. This post is likely to be just like my impressions of pro-cycling this week--wild with joy, obsessive, all over the place. I'm so excited that the European Tours of pro-cycling have really become international competitions. A new team from Spain, Footon, is making their first showing in the Tour de France this year, and many of their riders are riding their first TdF. Your heart just leaps for them when they come pedaling into a French town filled with cheering fans. And a new team from Britain this year, Team Sky, features the brilliant young man pictured above in Stage 1 of the current Tour, Bradley Wiggins.

Wiggins finished the Tour 4th overall last year, just behind Lance Armstrong. That is the highest ranking a Brit has ever taken in that race. Here's where the Scotsman comes in--that places Wiggins alongside cyclist Robert Millar, of Glasgow, the only Briton to win one of the Tour de France's main awards. In 1984 he won the King of the Mountains competition and came in fourth overall.

Team Sky's principal Dave Brailsford believes a Brit can win the Tour in the next five years, an image that was laughable to the European core of pro riders just a short time ago. Interviewed after Wiggins tied his fourth-place-overall record last summer, Millar said no one would have guessed Bradley Wiggins had it in him. I guess that's the compelling thing about British cycling right now. No one ever thought an American could do it either before Lance Armstrong took the sport by storm.

Millar is pictured above in one of his mountain stages from 1989 [before the helmet requirement, I might add]. In the same 2009 interview, he went on to comment on Dave Brailsford's prediction: "A Brit winning a major Tour isn't a ridiculous idea. I never thought I was that talented or that I could always take the workload that well but I learned and understood what was required to get to Grand Tour level so I think someone a little stronger and/or talented can be better despite being British."

As of the finish of Stage 7 today, Bradley Wiggins is 11th in the general classification.

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