Wiggins confirms that Giro d’Italia will take priority over Tour de France in 2013
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wiggins confirms that Giro d’Italia will take priority over Tour de France in 2013

by VeloNation Press at 10:49 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Defending Tour champion says he will likely to ride for Froome in next year’s race

Bradley WigginsMost riders who win the Tour attempt to add a second title to their palmares, but Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that he’ll almost certainly play things a different way in 2013. Speaking at today’s Tour de France presentation, the Team Sky rider said that he will peak for a different Grand Tour, even though he accepts that it will almost certainly cost him the chance of successfully defending his title.

“I am probably going to concentrate on the Giro next year, because for me it is the only other race on the cycling calendar – along with Paris-Roubaix – that is up there with the Tour de France in terms of historicalness,” he told Eurosport. “It is just beautiful. I’d love to win that pink jersey as well as the yellow.”

Wiggins’ mentor Shane Sutton had already suggested that the Briton should target the Italian stage race, saying last month that he felt chasing the treble was more important than defending the yellow jersey.

“For me I would like to see Brad go out of this sport, not that he won't as it stands already, but as a legend,” he explained. “I think the legendary status for him could be enhanced by winning the three Grand Tours. I think he should target the Tour of Italy and then the Vuelta.

“He came third in the Vuelta [in 2011] off the back of laying on a hospital bed for six or seven weeks out after a shoulder operation. So that is doable.

“The Giro is a different one; it is a different kettle of fish. But if anyone can do it, Brad can.”

Today’s declaration that the Italian race will be the priority for Wiggins makes it appear that he has taken Sutton’s advice, although chasing victory in the Vuelta in 2013 would be very difficult if it is his third Grand Tour of the year. The Briton is likely to put off that goal until the follow year, Wiggins making it clear that he envisages riding the Tour next season.

“I will be at the start, that is for sure. If Chris is the leader, then we go for it,” he said, confirming that he would ride for the Briton who supported him this year. “My priority will be the Tour of Italy. It has become apparent that it is very difficult to compete in two Grand Tours at that level, so it is more than likely that I will be there in a helping capacity.”

It seems extraordinary that a defending Tour champion wouldn’t try to take the race for a second time, but Wiggins emphasised that he didn’t see things that way. “I haven’t got that much of an ego. I did what I did. It was always about winning one Tour de France for me, and I’m very proud of that, that I’ve done it the way I’ve done it,” he said. “I’d love to try to win the Giro as well as I’m a great historian of the sport and I love it.”

He said that his view was partly influenced by the strong help he got from his team-mates this year, saying that he wouldn’t have won the race without their input. As a result of that, the chance to repay that gesture is something that he says would mean a lot to him.

Froome’s chances will depend on hitting the race in the best possible shape. This season saw him net second in the Tour but then finish back in fourth in the Vuelta a España. He looked tired in the latter event, this showing the importance of being fresh and peaking at the right time.

While he will be up against Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and others in next year’s race, Wiggins believes that Froome can the event providing he hones his condition. “If he can get his form right again then I think he is going to be right up there. It is going to be tough. But I think if he can recapture the form he had this year, then I don’t see any reason why he can’t.”

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