Wiggins on Dauphiné: ‘I’m ahead of where I was, I want to win it again’
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Friday, June 01, 2012

Wiggins on Dauphiné: ‘I’m ahead of where I was, I want to win it again’

by VeloNation Press at 7:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
Tour contender says he’s producing his best-ever power figures

Bradley WigginsDescribing the Critérium du Dauphiné as both a mini-Tour de France and also an important way to measure form, Bradley Wiggins had made it clear that he wants to once again take the final yellow jersey in the upcoming French stage race.

“I'll be going in with number one on my back as defending champion, the first time I've done that in a stage race,” he wrote in his Guardian blog. “I won it fairly comfortably last year and I've moved on again since then. I'm ahead of where I was back then so I'm going in to try and win it again. There are people who have been saying I need to be careful, that you can't win the Tour and the Dauphiné, but I'd like to try to challenge that tradition.”

Wiggins seized the lead last year when he finished eleven seconds behind Tony Martin in the stage three time trial. He and his team then successfully defended the jersey in the remaining stages, with the Briton ending up one minute 26 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans.

The latter went on to win the Tour de France, while Wiggins crashed out before the mountains.

The Sky Procycling rider went on to take third overall in the Vuelta a España and has worked hard to be in top shape for this year’s Tour. He has already taken overall victories in Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie, and wants the Critérium du Dauphiné to be next.

“The way I see it is there is a long time trial five days in, and that is my strength,” wrote Wiggins, who this week launched a foundation to help young riders develop in the sport. “There is no sense in holding back in that stage, and if it goes well I can take the lead there as I did in 2011. After that there are three mountain stages when you have to defend that lead.”

While he admits last year’s race was draining emotionally due to the uncertainty about whether or not he could hold on and win the race overall, he states that success plus his subsequent triumphs in Paris-Nice and Romandie have given him additional confidence. So too the data from his training; he reports that the numbers he is producing are better than he has ever seen before.

The Critérium du Dauphiné begins on Sunday with a 5.7km prologue in the city of Grenoble, where Evans grabbed the yellow jersey in last year’s Tour de France. After one lumpy and two flat stages, the riders will duel in the 53km time trial between Villié-Morgon and Bourg-en-Bresse, then head into the high mountains.

Wiggins states that he expects Evans and Andy Schleck to be two of his most likely rivals in the Tour, and that they are potential winners of the Dauphiné too. However he acknowledges that they may use the event as preparation and to build form rather than as a goal in itself.

As an example, he pointed out that Evans struggled in last year’s race, grinding out a second place overall despite that, but then hit the form of his life in the Tour itself.

In contrast, Wiggins gives the impression that he is already close to top form, and that he is concerned with maintaining rather than building. “The Tour de France is almost upon us now. I'm poised for it. The work is done and there's not much more I can do because it's so close,” he said. “It's a time when you need to be careful: the temptation can be to keep trying to squeeze out a little more, but it's the end of a long process. It's been like coiling a spring and I'm raring to go now.”

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