October 21, 2015 by Irish Peloton
A Waste of a Rainbow Jersey
Bradley Wiggins’s achievements have been immense. He has the most diverse palmarés of any active cyclist and he appears to be able to accomplish any goal he puts his mind to. But strictly speaking, the rainbow jersey he won in Ponferrada last year by finishing fastest in the elite time trial championships, was the most wasted rainbow jersey in road cycling history.
By that I mean the number of days that Wiggins spent racing in it. The former Tour de France winner certainly did not get his money’s worth. He called a halt to his season directly after he won it and only remained on Team Sky’s books until Paris-Roubaix earlier this year. Thereafter he only rode on home soil – two stage races, the Tours of Yorkshire and Britain along with the one-day RideLondon Classic, none of which involved a time trial. The only time he spent in the jersey was in the preparation races in the build up to the Spring classics.
Consequently, Wiggins spent a total of three days racing in the rainbow jersey he worked so hard to win.
Stage 3 Tour of Qatar – 3rd
Prologue Paris-Nice – 12th
Stage 3b Three Days of De Panne – 1st
Wiggins also decided to forego a fourth day in the rainbow jersey by choosing not to contest the Paris-Nice finale on Col d’Eze.
Three days is the least amount of days spent in the rainbow jersey by any time trial world champion since the discipline first appeared on the World Championship menu in 1994.
Below is a chart plotting the number of days each time trial world champion has spent in the rainbow jersey:
It should also be noted that all winners from 2012 and before also were afforded the privilege of wearing the rainbow jersey in team time trials, which are included in the graph above. If team time trials are removed, Wiggins’s three days is still the lowest.
The rider who made the most of his time trial rainbow jersey was Bert Grabsch. The German is perhaps the most surprising winner in the competition’s history. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. He won the rainbow jersey and he milked it for all it was worth. Who could blame him? After all, that’s the whole idea, isn’t it?