Driven by Something Different: The Climb


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It might seem a bit odd to be reviewing a TV advert but bear with me, there's a reason... I was sort of watching the England rugby match and got distracted by a YouTube video (James Corden in a sing off with Adam Lambert - check it out). Now maybe I have some kind of radar for cycling but for some reason I looked up and this advert had come on at half time.

Larne Tracey

great Story - I had the exact same thought process.

Obviously James Corden immediately got paused. Regular ByTheMin-ers will know that I am a huge fan of cycling and Sir Bradley Wiggins is one of my heroes. Except that over the past few months the murky goings on with the TUEs and mystery package issue are making me re-evaluate his status as legend. I'm not quite ready to burn his autobiography yet but the 22nd February might be the final straw.

Given all that, it was with a raised eyebrow that I realised Skoda (who provide the official cars for both the Tour de France and the Tour of Britain) had chosen to make a 90 second advert charting Wiggo's early years, cycling career and personal life. It strikes me as a very odd brand decision to align so closely with someone with such a big question mark over their credibility.

Well, they have. So let's have a look at the ad. Sir Brad is out on a training ride in misty Welsh mountains wearing his own team's branded kit. I think he's supposed to be having flashbacks. An 80s looking film (acted, not real footage) of himself as a 4/5yo learning to ride a bike, mum watching. A little older he's watching the TdF on TV then other kids are laughing at him on his racing bike.

Next flashback is to him breaking a Commonwealth Games Record, followed by a great TdF time trial in the colours of Garmin-Slipstream 2009 where he finished 3rd overall (after Lance Armstrong was DQ'd). Then we hear an aussie accent "his moment's gone. If he was gunna win the Tour he'd have done it by now". Was that supposed to be Shane Sutton? Probably, they had a rollercoaster relationship.

The training ride is getting tougher and as the climb becomes steeper the flashbacks are more family focussed. His wife Cath and their 2 kids. The tattoos of his kids initials on exactly the place on his hands that face up as he grips the handlebars.

A bit of commentary (Phil Liggett I think, the poor man's Carlton Kirby) but not footage of the 2012 TdF win. Meanwhile the climb he's on is at it's steepest. Followed by images of Brad on stage being king mod, probably alongside his hero and mate Paul Weller.

He arrives at the summit of Pen y Pass where, quelle surprise, there's a handy Skoda, unlocked with the keys inside. Cheeky smug look to camera and the last flashback to knighthood day.

The final scene as he drives off, with his Pinarello Dogma on the car roof, his voice saying "I think it's important to be yourself. Important to make your own choices". And there we have it. Sir Bradley Wiggins making his own choice. A škoda. How can we ever believe him about anything? What we didn't get to see was the jiffy bag on the passenger seat. And no mention of Fancy Bears.

Can you tell that as a fan I'm hurting about the TUE and mystery package? Well I am. The Parliamentary Select Committee have called Dr Richard Freeman and Simon Cope to appear on February 22nd. I hope they will have good answers but fear that it will not resolve anything.