Bradley Wiggins on Lance Armstrong, bluffing in Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins, Lance Armstrong

Bradley Wiggins looked back at going toe to toe with Lance Armstrong at the 2009 Tour de France, likening Armstrong’s ability to hide his suffering on tough climbs to befriending you and then slipping “the knife in your back.”

Wiggins made the comments in an interview with British three-time Olympic track cycling medalist Victoria Pendleton on BBC Radio.

Wiggins, the first Brit to win the Tour de France in 2012 and a seven-time Olympic cycling medalist, initially finished fourth in the 2009 Tour. Armstrong also raced the 2009 Tour, the first of his consecutive comeback Tours following his 2005 retirement. Armstrong initially finished third, one spot ahead of Wiggins.

Armstrong was stripped of that result, along with his record seven Tour titles, due to doping during his career. (Armstrong has denied he doped in his 2009-10 comeback). That put Wiggins on the podium, retroactively.

“I finished fourth, or subsequently third, whichever way you look at Lance Armstrong in your life,” Wiggins said in the BBC Radio interview. (Wiggins previously used incendiary language about Armstrong, saying the cancer survivor was lying when he said he didn’t dope during the 2009 Tour).

Wiggins, who hasn’t ridden the Tour since 2012 and likely won’t ever again, went on to discuss suffering in the Tour, a three-week, 2,000-mile stage race.

“It’s as much about destroying your competitors’ morale,” Wiggins said.

Armstrong proved quite talented in that respect.

“He was always talking to me on these climbs,” Wiggins said. “In the heat of the moment, he would go [American accent], ‘Wiggo, you even trying, man?’ … That was his tactic was to talk to you as if he was your best friend. He was incredible at that, almost befriending you, and then he’d slip the knife in your back. You could do that in the Tour de France when you’re climbing hour after hour on these climbs, giving you the impression that he wasn’t suffering.”

Wiggins, 34, also reiterated his desire to compete in a fifth Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. With one medal in Rio, Wiggins will pass track cyclist Chris Hoy for the most Olympic medals won by a British athlete.

Wiggins won the World Road Cycling Championships time trial for the first time Sept. 24, but his best medal hope in Rio may be on the track.

Wiggins won a silver medal for England as part of the team pursuit at the Commonwealth Games in July, his first major venture into track cycling since 2008.

Great Britain made the podium in the team pursuit at the last four Olympics, three times with Wiggins.

“I still have this romantic dream of finishing in Rio, winning a fifth Olympic gold medal,” Wiggins said when asked by Pendleton of what motivates him now. “Whether that happens or not is another thing.”

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw, scores

French Open Men's Draw
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw

Coco Gauff, Iga Swiatek set French Open rematch

Coco Gauff French Open

Coco Gauff swept into the French Open quarterfinals, where she plays Iga Swiatek in a rematch of last year’s final.

Gauff, the sixth seed, beat 100th-ranked Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5, 6-2 in the fourth round. She next plays the top seed Swiatek, who later Monday advanced after 66th-ranked Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko retired down 5-1 after taking a medical timeout due to illness.

Gauff earned a 37th consecutive win over a player ranked outside the top 50, dating to February 2022. She hasn’t faced a player in the world top 60 in four matches at Roland Garros, but the degree of difficulty ratchets up in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

Swiatek won all 12 sets she’s played against Gauff, who at 19 is the only teenager in the top 49 in the world. Gauff said last week that there’s no point in revisiting last year’s final — a 6-1, 6-3 affair — but said Monday that she should rewatch that match because they haven’t met on clay since.

“I don’t want to make the final my biggest accomplishment,” she said. “Since last year I have been wanting to play her, especially at this tournament. I figured that it was going to happen, because I figured I was going to do well, and she was going to do well.

“The way my career has gone so far, if I see a level, and if I’m not quite there at that level, I know I have to improve, and I feel like you don’t really know what you have to improve on until you see that level.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Also Monday, No. 7 seed Ons Jabeur of Tunisia dispatched 36th-ranked American Bernarda Pera 6-3, 6-1, breaking all eight of Pera’s service games.

Jabeur, runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year, has now reached the quarterfinals of all four majors.

Jabeur next faces 14th-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia, who won 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-5 over Spaniard Sara Sorribes Tormo, who played on a protected ranking of 68. Haddad Maia became the second Brazilian woman to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal in the Open Era (since 1968) after Maria Bueno, who won seven majors from 1959-1966.

Pera, a 28 year-old born in Croatia, was the oldest U.S. singles player to make the fourth round of a major for the first time since Jill Craybas at 2005 Wimbledon. Her defeat left Gauff as the lone American singles player remaining out of the 35 entered in the main draws.

The last American to win a major singles title was Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought matches the longest in history (since 1877) for American men and women combined.

In the men’s draw, 2022 French Open runner-up Casper Ruud reached the quarterfinals by beating 35th-ranked Chilean Nicolas Jarry 7-6 (3), 7-5, 7-5. He’ll next play sixth seed Holger Rune of Denmark, a 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (7) winner over 23rd seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina.

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