Wiggins: Brailsford must sign 'hottest property' in cycling, Van der Poel
Bradley Wiggins has tipped Mathieu van der Poel to win a Grand Tour and says Dave Brailsford should sign him for Team Sky.
The 24-year-old produced an extraordinary ride to win the Amstel Gold race on Sunday. The Corendon-Circus rider, best known for his cyclocross success before this season, came from nowhere to overhaul fancied duo Julian Alaphilippe and Jakob Fuglsang in a stirring finish.
His breakout year on the road has already seen him clinch Dwars door Vlaanderen, De Brabantse Pijl and Grand Prix de Denain.
"He’s just impressed us every week", said Wiggins on the latest episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show, available on all major podcast platforms this Monday morning.
"The other riders should be happy he didn’t ride Paris-Roubaix because I’m sure he would have been up there for that as well. "
"He is the hottest property in cycling at the moment other than Alaphilippe. He’s a bigger potential. It’s weird to call him a potential because he’s already winning these big races. It’s scary to think what he might actually achieve by the time he’s [Philippe] Gilbert’s age."
Gilbert, 36, won Paris-Roubaix earlier in April to secure a fourth monument title in his career – leaving him chasing Milano-Sanremo to complete the set. But while Gilbert has always focused on the road, Van der Poel's background saw him focus on cyclocross and mountain biking, with the Dutchman still said to be considering the latter for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Pressed by host Graham Willgoss on who Team Sky should sign over Van der Poel and Alaphilippe, Wiggins said:
"I would pick Van der Poel. That’s no slouch on Alaphilippe, he’s phenomenal as well. But I think he could win a Grand Tour one day. It’s a little bit sad to think that they both may end up at Sky. It’s a bit like Manchester City and football. It’s nice having this spread of riders."
Van der Poel's father, Adri, is a former world champion and winner of six classics.
Also on the podcast, Wiggins and Adam Blyth discuss the Hour Record, with the 2012 Tour de France champion tipping Geraint Thomas to break it in the future. Wiggins lost the record last week when Belgium’s Victor Campenaerts rode 55.089 kilometres at altitude in Mexico.
"Records are there to be broken. I hope someone has the balls to get up and have a go themselves now," said Wiggins.
"G could do it tomorrow with his track craft. Tom Dumoulin at some point in the future. It’s whether they’ve got time to invest the time that Victor invested in it, in order to maybe fail.
"There’s no real rewards for the hour. You don’t get a pay rise… You get nothing. It’s like getting a knighthood. You get sod all... It’s made for Geraint. Geraint in Tour form last year. He could do it."
Listen to the full episode for more from Brad and Adam Blyth on:
- Reaction to Team Sky founding father Rod Ellingworth leaving the team
- A possible return to form for Mark Cavendish
- Plus Annemiek van Vleuten stops by for a chat following her runners-up finish in the women’s edition of Amstel Gold