Wiggins Decides To Target The Giro Over A Tour de France Defense

wiggins_tdf_stage20_2012
by Olivier LUCAZEAU

MUSCAT, Feb 17, 2013 (AFP) – Bradley Wiggins has spelled out his objectives
for the season, with the British cycling star focusing on a debut win in the
Tour of Italy rather than a defense of his Tour de France title.

Wiggins gave a preview of how he sees his year panning out for Team Sky
after filling a lowly 74th in the Tour of Oman on Saturday behind teammate and
winner Chris Froome.

Explaining his decision to target the Giro Wiggins, who is expected to play
a supporting role to help 2012 Tour runner-up Froome win the cycling blue
riband this year, said: “I just wanted a new set of challenges.

“It took a long time for the motivation to come back.

“After the Olympics there was a long period when I thought, ‘what the hell
am I gonna do next this year’, because I put so much in 18 months for that
Tour project.

“I knew I wanted to go back and compete at the high level again, I didn’t
want to retire.

“I had to find something that would inspire me to go and train, and for me
the Giro was something else I really would love to try and win.

“So, for me, it was just about having a different set of challenges”.

Whatever 2013 serves up Wiggins is acutely aware he will be hard pushed to
match the highs of 2012 when he became Britain’s first ever Tour de France
winner, won a fourth Olympic gold medal on the streets of London, was awarded
a knighthood and was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Reflecting on his remarkable season he said: “I don’t think people fully
appreciate the four years it took to get there last year, and what that
entailed.

“We went from 2009 when people said +it’s just a waste a money, he’s never
gonna win the Tour, he’s a flash in the pan+, to a pretty disastrous 2010 and
then there you go +it’s a confirmation, he is a disaster, just a waste of
money, why have they invested in him+.

“To 2011, really going back to the drawing board, and change it all around,
and then 2012, the Tour, the London Olympics.”

He describes the Giro as “a new challenge”, explaining that the race has a
particular significance for him.

“I think it goes back to my childhood really,” he said.

“It was one of the few races that actually came on the telly other than the
Tour de France, when I was a teenager, and so I grew up reading magazines, and
stuff like this; and the Giro just stuck in my mind.

“I don’t know if it was just the pink jersey, or I remember (Andrew)
Hampsten (1988 Giro winner) climbing up in the snow, things like that, it was
just quite an inspirational thing.

“It’s just a lovely race, it’s the only race in cycling where they really
never mention doping in the whole race, it’s kind of refreshing in some ways.

“When you’re there and you’re in it, it’s just for the racing, and people
come out to watch the sport, and the spectators idolize the racers, it’s a bit
of a free for all you know, it’s chaos at times”

Despite his lowly Oman placing – “I was pretty mediocre to be honest” – he
sounded an optimistic note in terms of his fitness levels.

“I should be pretty ready to go. Weight is a massive thing for me. Because
I’m not a natural climber. I’m 82 kg in the off season. 70 kg in the Tour. It
takes me a long time to get to that, it’s a lot of hard work, I’m 75 now.”

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