Wiggins prepared for Paris-Nice
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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Wiggins prepared for Paris-Nice

by Samuel Morrison at 4:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
 
'I wanted to hit the ground running this year'

Bradley Wiggins, after the Tour of Qatar and the Manchester World Cup, is ready to begin the road season proper. Today, the Brit leads team Sky at the first stage of Paris-Nice.

"This winter has all been about preparing for Paris-Nice as I wanted to hit the ground running this year," Wiggins told the Guardian. "I've found a balance and had the best winter I've ever had."

The eight-day stage race this year starts with a road stage instead of the usual time trial prologue. A time trial features, but not until Friday, after five road stages, including the mountain stage to Vernoux-en-Vivarais. After two more demanding road stages, the race ends on Sunday in Nice.

"The route is good for me," Wiggins continued. "There is no prologue so the pressure is off, there's a mid-race time trial with two days to go and there's no summit finish, although it always throws up a tough day or two."

Wiggins will race alongside Sky team-mates Geraint Thomas, Greg Henderson, Jeremy Hunt, Michael Rogers, Simon Gerrans, Rigoberto Urán and Xabier Zandio. The team is very much testing itself for the Tour de France in July.

"We have a strong squad so I will aim to be in contention going into the time trial and then see what happens."

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is skipping the race. He is focusing on Spanish races while the International Cycling Union (UCI) decides whether it will appeal the Spanish Federation's decision to let him race. He tested positive last year at the Tour de France for drug Clenbuterol.

Other Tour de France favourites are racing Paris-Nice, including Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) – his father, Stephen won the race 30 years ago – Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Cervélo), Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) and Fränk Schleck (Leopard-Trek).

In Italy, the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race runs simultaneously. It starts on Wednesday and ends on Tuesday, March 15. Tour Favourites Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Robert Gesink (Rabobank) are on the start list.

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