Some professional riders swap slicks for knobby tyres in the winter, opting for some off-season cyclo-cross to maintain fitness and help pass the cold, dark months. Bradley Wiggins is not among them after his experience as a fresh-faced pro with Française des Jeux.
Long-time FDJ directeur sportif Marc Madiot won Paris-Roubaix twice, in 1985 and 1991, during his career as a professional, with the Frenchman’s skill at riding over the cobbles honed in cyclo-cross races.
Madiot was crowned French national cyclo-cross champion in 1982 and picked up podium finishes a further four times during a long career which also included a single Tour de France stage victory.
And, having moved into team management, Madiot, who remains at the helm at FDJ, asked his riders to head out into the woods for a team get-together.
Among Madiot’s stooges was a young Wiggins, who rode for Française des Jeux between 2002 and 2003, the first of three stints with French teams (Crédit Agricole and Cofidis followed in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007 respectively), some ten years before his Tour de France victory and then with only one of what would become seven Olympic medals in his pocket.
Wiggo’s cyclo-cross experience perhaps confirmed that his talents are best saved for the tarmac and track.