TOUR DE FRANCE: Wiggins passes first true examination of yellow jersey credentials - in the press tent
IF Bradley Wiggins handles the uphill challenges that lie ahead this week in the Alps as well as he handles the press, then his odds on Tour de France victory should shorten.
RESPONSE: Bradley Wiggins hit back and hit back hard at those who questioned his success on this year's Tour de France
Wiggins is still getting used to be being talked about as a favourite for the maillot jaune and he's experiencing now the sort of cross-examination that his hero Miguel Indurain - and plenty of others - have had to endure, although some deservedly, in the same position.
Routes may change and stage finishes vary but there is one consistency with the Tour, a media pack whose questioning can be as hard, unforgiving and unrelenting as a climb up Les Sybelles.
Three weeks on the road fuels gossip and speculation, as well as indigestion, and the lines between innuendo and fact can blur. And there's only so much writing about intermediate sprint winners you can do.
Tuesday's first rest day is usually when they sharpen their quills - faced with space to fill and nothing to report, they go what is known in the industry as 'off-diary'.
But Wiggins got a taste of this early - a reporter using the cover of internet speculation to question why a cyclist who just four years ago was winning two track gold medals at the Olympics should now be so powerful on the road.
This sort of whispering campaign clearly forgets that Wiggins is no overnight sensation.
Three years ago he finished fourth in the Tour, he won the Critérium du Dauphiné last year, considered a great indication of Tour form, and claimed a podium place in the Vuelta a España.
And he arrived in Liege for the start of this year's race with even more solid race form behind him, at the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Dauphiné Libere, proven palmares for success on the Champs Elysees.
But it was an American journalist, it's usually the French and Spanish media who will do their best to fuel a controversial story, that broke cover yesterday.
He asked Wiggins to react to those who doubted his achievements by comparing the sudden success of Team Sky, riding in the Tour for only the third year, with Lance Armstrong's US Postal and Discovery teams, who are now subject of formal investigation by the US Anti-Doping Agency.
Wiggins could have dodged around the question but he decided to counter his faceless critics like he does his opponents on the road, with a burst of aggression and some blue language.
It's a bold tactic. Armstrong's antsy relationship with the media only encouraged them to dig deeper, but it will also be a brave journalist to raise the issue - especially considering their evidence for such accusations is a thin as the air on a summit finish - again.
"There was some chatter in the Twitter-sphere about the comparison between Sky and US Postal," enquired a journalist from the US Associated Press wire service.
""I'm wondering your reaction. And, what do you say to the cynics who say you have to be doped up to win the Tour de France?"
Wiggins paused and then hit back and hit back hard.
"Honestly, they're just f**king w**kers," he said.
"I cannot be dealing with people like that. It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can't ever imagine applying themselves to anything in their lives.
"And it's easy for them to sit under a pseudo-name on Twitter and write that sort of s**t rather than get off their arses in their own life and apply themselves, and work hard at something and achieve something. And that's ultimately it."
Then, pausing, he added with a flourish: "C**ts!"
And with that he was off. Off to prepare for another day in yellow and probably even more awkward questions. But he's already proven he's not afraid of the challenges offered by either.