I spent most of Thursday morning cycling in Central London traffic with Bradley Wiggins. Trying to keep up with Bradley as he weaves through the buses and cars, leaning on cabs at the lights, is quite a challenge.
Following him I get the feeling that riding slowly so that we can keep up is a challenge for him as well. As we head off from the start on Whitehall he quickly becomes a yellow spot in the distance, effortlessly keeping up with the flow of motorised vehicles.
For him it�s a chance to get a handle on the prologue course which, for him, will mark the realisation of a childhood dream � to ride the Tour De France in his hometown. As he tells the pack of journalists who trail in his wheel, for such an opportunity to fall in the prime of his career is about as good as it gets.
The course, he says is ideally suited to a rider of his type: long, flat straights and few technical corners. By his reckoning he�ll only touch the brakes two or three times in the whole 7.9km prologue while aiming to hit speeds in excess of 65kmh.
It�s not something he�ll be able to practice before race day, when he�ll be out testing the corners by holding on to the team car and getting it to slingshot him towards them at 70kmh so he can work out the best line to take. For now he has to settle for picking his way round the buses and answering the flow of questions and requests from the journalists and photographers, including Radio 4, who were preparing a piece on Bradley and the prologue for the Today programme (it went out on Friday morning at 8:25).
Part of the course has a special significance for Bradley as the stretch of road along the Serpentine in Hyde Park is where he first learnt to ride a bike. His mum lives nearby in Victoria, not far from the route
�My mum would put the bike in the car and bring me up here. It was the only bit of closed road where it was safe for me to ride.�
As a Londoner, many of the roads and landmarks will be more familiar to him than other riders, not that he will have time to notice them as he flies by. Given the landmarks and the choice of London he believes this could be the biggest, most spectacular Grand Depart the Tour de France has ever seen.
It�s a spectacle which Bradley knows he could add to by winning the coveted yellow jersey, following in the wheel of Chris Boardman, whose own achievements at the Olympics are what first inspired Wiggins to take up the sport.
You can hear the interview in full here: