Bradley Wiggins: “It’s more realistic that I can win the Tour now”
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Bradley Wiggins: “It’s more realistic that I can win the Tour now”

by Ben Atkins at 3:13 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Paris-Nice
 
Paris-Nice winner on schedule for July after becoming only the second Briton in history to win the Race to the Sun

bradley wigginsBradley Wiggins’ victory in Paris-Nice on Sunday shows that he is now capable of winning the Tour de France, the Team Sky rider claims. In a self-penned column for the Guardian, the British champion says that he is now on schedule for the race in July and, as his victory this week shows - as well as in the Critérium du Dauphiné last year - his fourth place in the 2009 Tour was not a fluke.

“I am still trying to measure the real impact of my Paris-Nice win,” he wrote. “You can't get much more historic than winning on the Col d'Eze as I did on Sunday, and it will take a while to sink in.

“It leaves me well and truly on track for the Tour. I don't believe any of that stuff about peaking too early. I went into Paris-Nice with the form I had. We had a plan, I'm not ahead of it, but there are still some areas to work on. My trainers have pushed me hard all winter with a view to peaking for July and I think I'm at about 95% of my potential now. The rest will come from the work I do between now and July.”

While he is far from being at his best form, Wiggins managed to see off the challenge from a number of riders that also had the race on their list of targets this spring. His positioning in the peloton on stage two - when the crosswinds blew the race apart and all-but 21 riders lost two and a half minutes - showed that, not only is he physically ready, but also has the tactical nous to take on the challenge.

“It's more realistic that I can win the Tour now,” Wiggins wrote. “I said during the week that Paris-Nice, for all the respect I have for it, is a stepping stone. If I'm capable of winning it, I'm capable of winning the Tour de France. I've now won the two biggest stage races in France.

“There is no longer any question of my fourth place in the Tour in 2009 being a fluke.”

With Paris-Nice and the Dauphiné under his belt, as well as three Olympic golds and six World championships on the track, Wiggins feels that he has won it all; except, that is, for the biggest race of all.

“In terms of measuring my career, there is only one race left and that is the Tour,” he wrote. “I have no doubt about it now. The more consistent I become in gaining world-class results the less doubt there is in my mind. That showed in the time trial on Sunday. I knew what I had to do and I knew that no one could challenge me if I got out the ride I was capable of doing. The key difference is that it's happening on a regular basis now.”

With his victory in Paris-Nice, Wiggins will undoubtedly draw comparisons with the only other British rider to take the race, Tom Simpson. Simpson tragically died just four months later in his attempt to follow the Race to the Sun with Tour de France victory, as he fell victim to the combination of sickness, fatigue, dehydration, alcohol and amphetamines; not a fate that Wiggins will seek to carve out for himself.

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