Bradley Wiggins felt cycling missed an opportunity to show solidarity with anti-racism sentiments on the final stage of the 2020 Tour de France, calling it "a bit pathetic” and a "shame”. The 2012 Tour de France winner does not hold out much hope for more activism within the sport.
It had been thought that Tour de France riders would show solidarity with anti-racism messages at the start of the final stage of the Tour de France on Sunday, but the paucity of the gesture left Wiggins to declare it as pathetic on the latest episode of his podcast.
“It was a bit underwhelming,” began Wiggins.
It was a bit pathetic really and a shame. If they were going to make a statement to make it [like that] wasn’t worth it.
“It was inadequate and why [do it] now? Because Kevin Reza did that interview?
"It [the gesture at the start of stage 21] was a token gesture that did nothing. There was no solidarity or no unity there."
Daniel Friebe of the Cycling Podcast had reported that Réza would, alongside the jersey wearers, lead the riders out of Mantes-la-Jolie as a mark of respect and to honour the Black Lives Matter movement. However, aside from a select group of riders writing anti-racism messages on their masks, there was no clear stand from the peloton en masse.
“It was the worst show of solidarity I have ever seen at a sports event,” Wiggins said of the situation.
“So that is it now: cycling has ticked its box. We won’t hear anymore of it now – they have done their little face masks and that will be it. That is deemed acceptable?”
There was - despite Wiggins’ palpable anger at the lack of action at the start of the stage - praise for the excellence of Sam Bennett, who became the first Irishman to win the green jersey since Sean Kelly in 1989.
“The finish gave us everything that we expected, [particularly] from Sam Bennett. What a way to win green on the Champs-Élysées,” enthused the former Team Sky rider.
“He won it with ease - Caleb Ewan was nowhere really,” said Wiggins.
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Such was the Irishman’s excellence, Peter Sagan – seven-time winner of the green jersey – could get nowhere near him, added Wiggins.
“There was nothing he [Sagan] could do to beat Sam Bennett, really – he was nowhere near him in straight line sprinting.”