All through my junior and amateur career, I was set on becoming a sprinter. Visions of Grand Tour stage wins, victory at the spring classics and a row of Paris-Roubaix cobblestones lined up on the mantelpiece were the motivation for all those early-morning training rides in freezing temperatures.
As well as the glory, the idea of having a bunch of guys doing all the grunt work for you in the lead-up to a sprint and then peeling off to let you unleash hell was pretty attractive. It certainly beat the hell out of hill repeats in the Alps during the off-season.
Now that I'm a professional, it's probably the worst decision I've ever made. How am I ever going to beat Peter Sagan?
I should have been inspired watching him blow away Tom Boonen and Matt Goss overnight. Instead, it crushed my fragile little sprinter's ego. Sagan's got two wins in two stages with the prospect of plenty more to come for the rest of the year.
Given the choice between finishing second to Sagan and Cav for the foreseeable future, or carrying the GC hopes of a big team, I am beginning to think the latter might be preferable. Check out the form of the big guys at the moment. Cadel Evans? Just turning the legs over in Oman in his first outing for the season. Alberto Contador? Much the same. Andy Schleck? Sunning himself in the south of France.
Okay, so Chris Froome is the exception. He's having a serious go in Oman, but that's only because he needs to assert himself as the top dog at Sky. It's all well and good having the director saying you're the team's priority but it doesn't change the fact there's a guy with a yellow jersey hanging on his living room wall ready to take over.
As for Wiggins, he's got it the best of the lot. Nothing to prove, Olympic gold and a Tour yellow jersey on the wall and coglioni the size of cannonballs. How else do you explain having the chutzpah to roll across the finish line dead last? It's easy to cop Contador's smirks when a) you're the reigning Tour champ and b) you're not coming back from a drugs ban.
All of this is enough to make me wish I was four inches shorter, with quads half the size and the aerobic capacity of a racehorse. Instead, I decided I wanted to be like Mario Cipollini - toga parties and crazy team kits and buxom blonde grid girls. That was the life, I said to myself. Fast forward 10 years and I look like I'm going to be eating Sagan's dust for a decade. Things aren't looking so good for Super Mario, either, but at least he's still got his money and his looks.
Anyway, enough of the pity party. I just got the news last night that I'm off to the Tour de Langkawi after all! It turns out one of the Asian teams was forced to withdraw after their sponsor's CEO googled 'road cycling' and 'Lance Armstrong' to find out exactly how they were spending their marketing.
It might not have the big names like Oman, but that's perfect for a new professional. With a bit of luck, I might even get to challenge for a stage win or two. I'll have to find out from the sporting director when the guys will be practicing their lead-outs for me. I'm the only sprinter in our squad, so surely they'll have to make time now.
See you in Malaysia!