The Celebrity Champion Cyclist - And how to sell him/her
Like it or not, LA has been the face of cycling to the general population for most of the 2000s, and had remained so even during his retirement. Giants tend to dominate sports long after they've left the arena, but sooner or later, a younger generation of stars has to take over the mettle (re: Jordan & Kobe, LeBron etc)
Who do you think is the cyclist with the greatest potential for global appeal? English-speaking isn't necessarily a requirement (re: soccer), but a winning record sure helps, as well as an agreeable personality.
Boonen is quite the star back home, and so Wiggins' and Cavendish' stock have risen recently, although they're inevitably not in the same league as soccer players in England.
Anyone you figure could be the next public face of cycling?
My thoughts are that LA is a unique case: It was his story as a cancer survivor that captured the public imagination and launched him from a celebrity in the public realm. The 7 TdFs were important, of course, but those alone didn't make him a star. So the next cycling superstar would have to do without that powerful personal story. I thought Landis might have made a scrappy, edgy star, but sadly ...