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What the Dickens Has Gotten Into the Britons? [Er, Anglos? Saxons? etc.]

You guys keep telling me that Britain isn't a big Cycling nation. I have had little cause to argue, since the top levels of the pro scene have seen only occasional greatness from the Isles. But... Mark Cavendish, world's fastest human. Bradley Wiggins, one old guy away from a Tour podium spot. The new Sky squad, threatening to buy up a large portion of the considerable talent on the market. No Barloworld... this is a real, top squad, based in Britain. Cav is being picked up by Nike. Books are flying out of London publishing houses: Boy Racer (Cav bio); the Lance bio (from Da Capo), William Fotheringham's books on Coppi and Simpson, Herbie Sykes on Franco Balmamion (from Yellow Jersey Press), Jeremy Whittle's Bad Blood, and on it goes. This is just in the last year.

What is all this about? Is this Brailsford just going for broke, or the logical outcome of British Cycling's youth programs? Has Cav caught fire in the public eye? Is this a momentary blip? Or has cycling gained a beachhead since the 2007 London Grand Depart? I won't pretend to know, but will instead kick this one to our many British members. Thanks!