Wiggins strikes a positive tone in support of Sky Tour de France team
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Wiggins strikes a positive tone in support of Sky Tour de France team

by Kyle Moore at 2:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Says Froome is the unquestioned favourite; retirement is not in the cards

Brad WigginsBradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling) expressed his belief in the Team Sky leader at the Tour de France, Chris Froome, calling him the favourite to win the race and calling his support squad at Sky the best team in the event. Wiggins also expressed his desire for the World Time Trial Championship, and put off all thoughts of a possible retirement.

Wiggins’ comments on the Team Sky website were in a slightly different tone than ones he made to The Guardian, when he said he may never again be able to make the sacrifices he feels he needs to make to win the Tour de France for a second time.

The Briton’s stated goal going into the season was the Giro d’Italia, before illness led to a drop in his performance level, and eventually forced him out of the race. Now that he’s back to training at one hundred percent, with stated goals for the remainder of the season, Wiggins reflected on his Sky Procycling team’s choices for the Tour de France, which he called “a great team.”

“There are other guys in the team that could fulfill the role of helping Chris [Froome] far better than I could have done at this stage, and knowing that is a huge relief because my biggest fear was going there and not being able to do a job for Chris,” Wiggins elaborated. “We’ve got such strength in depth at Team Sky at the moment. The team we have going to the Tour is certainly the strongest on paper and we’re on track to win the race again. I think the team is as experienced this year as it was last – and it could even be stronger this year because the squad of riders we have now is better than ever before.

“We’ve got guys like Pete [Kennaugh] and Ian [Stannard] who are both riding their first Tour so that motivation will take them up a level, and the rest of the guys are incredibly hungry for success. It’s a great team.”

Wiggins also recognized the blemish-free dominance that Froome has exhibited so far in 2013, calling him the favourite to win the Tour de France, albeit without adding any further pressure.

“Chris has been the best athlete on the team this year and he deserves that leadership role,” Wiggins added. “He is without a doubt the favourite for the Tour, and physically, I think he has everything there to win the Tour. As we see every year, crashes occur and other things that are beyond your control, but if Chris can stay upright and not lose any time before the big mountains then he’s got a great chance of winning the Tour.

“Nothing has fazed Chris this year and I think that will continue at the Tour. His biggest challenge will come from [Alberto] Contador, but for sure he’s the favourite. He’s beaten Contador at Oman and the Dauphine already, so he certainly won’t be over-awed by him.”

On his own schedule, Wiggins circled the Tour of Poland and the Tour of Britain, saying that he would be happy to again compete in his home tour. All his arrows will then point at the World Time Trial Championship, which Wiggins certainly has the capabilities to win, although the British specialist mentioned the two names that must be brought up in the conversation.

“I’ve always wanted to wear the rainbow jersey. When I won the time trial at the Olympics last year I thought to myself, ‘I’d love to add the World title to that,’” Wiggins stated. “I’m under no illusions though, it’s not going to be easy. Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara are two of the greatest time trialists of all time and it’s going to take a lot of effort to be up there with them. I’m really keen to put the work in for that over the next few months and this is something that I’ve always wanted to do.

“I’m injury free now. It took a while but we got to the bottom of it and I’ve just started an intensive six-week block now that will take me through to the end of July. All being well, I’ll make my comeback at the Tour of Poland. My main focus for the rest of this year is the World Time Trial Championships at the end of September. I’ll be riding the Tour of Britain before that as preparation, and I’m really pleased about that. The Tour of Britain is getting bigger every year and the crowds that come there make it a lovely race to compete in. We had looked at the possibility of riding the Vuelta a España instead, but the Tour of Britain was too much of a call for me. I love riding that race and I’d like to do well in it.”

Wiggins echoed his statements made to The Guardian, saying that there will be other goals now that the Tour de France has been achieved. However, he made it clear that retirement was not a prospect being considered.

“I’ve won the Tour – achieved that goal – but there are so many other things I’ve always wanted to achieve, both in and out of the sport,” Wiggins insisted. “I’ve never thought about retiring. I enjoy training, working hard, and I’ve still got much more left in me. I take inspiration from guys like Cadel [Evans] in that respect. He had a disappointing year after his Tour win but he’s right back to his best now. Cycling’s like that and I don’t think people fully appreciate how much it takes out of you, and how hard you have to work at it.

“At this stage I just want to focus on what I’ve got immediately ahead of me and then we’ll get to the end of the season and sit down as a team and start planning for the next couple of years.”

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