Bradley Wiggins plans new structure to 2011 season in preparing for Tour de France
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Thursday, November 04, 2010

Bradley Wiggins plans new structure to 2011 season in preparing for Tour de France

by VeloNation Press at 4:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
Briton will drop the Giro d’Italia, take up altitude training

Bradley WigginsNo longer focussed exclusively on the Tour de France, Team Sky leader Bradley Wiggins has said that he will try to clock up strong showings in other races during the season as part of his buildup for the race. He’ll still do his utmost to ride strongly in the French event, but wants to vary his programme and hit good form early on, thus taking the pressure off and also boosting his morale.

“I definitely want to try and get some strong early-season results. There's a lot of racing to be done before the Tour and I'll be looking to split my season into two or three clear parts,” he said on the Team Sky website.

“Early on my main focus will be on races like Tirreno-Adriatico and the Critérium International, but I really want to play a big part in the Classics as well and help Juan Antonio Flecha in his bid to win Paris-Roubaix.”

After the Classics, the template will differ from this season, when Wiggins lined out in the Giro d’Italia for the season year in a row. He suffered due to the severity of the 2010 event and now wants to try altitude training instead as part of his preparation for the Tour. That approach could be even more important next year due to the presence of several 2000 metre-plus ascents in the final week, including the highest-ever summit finish of the race on the Col du Galibier.

Wiggins noticed this year that he struggled on the higher climbs, and so he is hoping that altitude training will help him overcome that Achilles heel. “It's an idea myself, Dave Brailsford and Shane Sutton came up with after assessing the season just gone and how we could maybe improve things in 2011,” he said.

“Last year's Giro was way too hard in hindsight, in terms of the route, the weather, and our tactics as a team. The way we took it on during the first few weeks was incredible at times and we definitely paid for that. We now know I can't tackle two Grand Tours so close together and altitude training is something I definitely want to look at instead

“I've never tried it before, and we never touched on it last season because we simply didn't have enough time between the Giro and the Tour. A lot of the other riders who had done it before the Tour seemed to benefit from it though, and we are always looking to improve.”

Wiggins finished a superb fourth overall in the 2009 Tour de France, making a huge improvement on his previous performances in the race. His showing boosted speculation that he could challenge for the overall title in future years, and led to an expensive acquisition from Team Sky. The team made an aggressive recruitment of the rider, forcing Wiggins’ then-employer Garmin to sell.

Things didn’t work out in this year’s Tour, though, with the Briton clearly being below form and only finishing 24th in the race. Varying the approach next year will, he hopes, make the difference, and help ensure that he is once again one of those battling for the yellow jersey.

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