Dr Hutch
CYCLING WEEKLY|June 30, 2022
Serial winners can face a lose-lose situation when it comes to public opinion but the Doc's happy to cheer a crushing display of dominance

Not since the Tour de France’s Lance Armstrong years (which, as you’ll recall, didn’t actually happen, however vividly you think you can remember them) has anyone cartwheeled into the race as an absolutely crushing favourite.

Even Chris Froome managed to combine dominance and fragility in a way that meant he never seemed like a race-winning colossus, even as he was stacking up the wins like a thinner version of Miguel Indurain. I suppose starting at your stem and falling off every so often will do that.

There are very few upsides to being a hot favourite. Improbable though it may now seem, I went into several races in my career as a very firm favourite, and my experience was that it didn’t even get you a superior parking space at the changing rooms. On that basis, I think I can predict that Tadej Pogačar is quite certainly going to be wading out from the nettles at the back of the field beside the race HQ in Copenhagen because most of us have been awarded him the race already.

Unfortunately, if you’re a favourite on the level that Pogačar is this year, the only way you can win is literally. When the inevitable event happens, however magnificent you were, everyone shrugs and complains the race was boring, you’re boring, and that you’ve sucked the life out of it all.

The only people actively on your side are your family, whichever of your team-mates hasn’t yet succumbed to a jealous rage at your profile and salary, and the sort of psychopathic cycling fan who spends July in front of the television screaming, “Yes! Yes! Crush the little people! Extinguish their hope! Don’t just win, annihilate! Kill! Kill! Kill!”

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