Sutton: World championships would be ideal new goal for Wiggins to chase
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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sutton: World championships would be ideal new goal for Wiggins to chase

by VeloNation Press at 2:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
Mentor believes 2012 Tour de France winner needs to refocus

Shane SuttonShane Sutton, the man described as a father figure to Bradley Wiggins and also British Cycling’s head coach, has said that he believes Bradley Wiggins needs to set and prioritise a new target after withdrawing from this year’s Tour de France.

The Australian is clear that Wiggins must find something else to work towards after his year’s goals have crumbled.

Wiggins had at one point said that winning the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France were his ambitions, but will now not achieve victory in either event. He dropped out of the Giro d’Italia after slipping out of contention, and yesterday confirmed that he would miss the Tour de France, saying that a knee problem had disrupted his training.

“It's a tough period for him right now but I'm sure he'll bounce back,” Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live. “It's one of the toughest sports in the world and no doubt the toughest sporting event in the world. If you're not 100 per cent on your game you've got to be honest with yourself and look in the mirror and make that decision.

“He's done that, and to reiterate what Dave said last night I'm pretty sure that Brad will bounce back.”

He believes that this year’s world championships in Italy in September may be the ideal target for Wiggins to chase instead. “There are other goals out there for him before the end of the season and one that he's never achieved is the rainbow jersey in the individual time trial which he won so convincingly in London [at the Olympics – ed.]. I'd like to think he'd put his mind to that possibly and go on to be world champion at the end of the year.”

In a separate interview with the Guardian, Sutton said that he was concerned about the effect his disappointing season and missing the Tour had on Wiggins’ mentality. “This is definitely a crisis point. What will it do to him mentally? I don't know.

“He needs to improvise, find some diversity, do different things to get the same result. It's like a sponge washing a car – he's been wrung dry. After last year, from Paris-Nice [in March] to the Olympic Games, the numbers he was hitting were incredible; and it wasn't only that, it was the way he went about it. There was a steeliness there, a toughness, so much appetite.”

He suggested that the isolation of training in the Canary islands may have proven to be too much, and that perhaps new arrangements need to be made for Wiggins family to be with him when he is on long training camps.

Although his withdrawal from the Tour simplifies things somewhat in relation to the tense relationship between Wiggins and last year’s Tour runner-up Chris Froome, who has been named team leader this year, Sutton believes the overall effect will be detrimental.

Even if there was tension between the two riders, he is clear that he thinks this is preferable to Wiggins missing the race.

“This is a great loss to Team Sky. They will have been weakened by the loss of Wiggins massively, whether he was there to win the Tour or play a support role as Froome did for him last year,” said Sutton.

He added that he considered Froome to be the overwhelming favourite, and that Wiggins was perhaps the only rider who could have beaten him.


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