Bradley Wiggins Opens His 2014 Season In Mallorca

by Kieran CANNING

MADRID, Feb 07, 2014 (AFP) – Four-time Olympic gold medallist and 2012 Tour
de France winner Bradley Wiggins will get his 2014 season up and running as
the four-day Challenge Mallorca series gets underway on Sunday.

Rather than the usual accumulation of times, the four-stage series on the
Spanish island consists of four separate races allowing riders to be rotated
across the four days of action.

Wiggins is pencilled in to ride on the final three days in the Campos,
Serra de Tramuntana and Alcudia trophies respectively.

The British rider is looking for a return to form in 2014 after having to
pull out midway through the Giro d’Italia and subsequently miss his defence of
the Tour de France due to a chest infection last year, whilst he was also
bothered by a knee injury.

“Missing the Tour last year it was the first time in 12 months that I got
the chance to reflect and maybe even soak up what happened to me in 2012,” he
told the Team Sky website.

“At that point I went right back to the drawing board, started doing all
the little things again that got me to that point and I’ve had a straight run
through. I had a good end to the season, we are racing again next weekend and
I’ll hopefully have another good year.”

Sky have become the team to beat in the peloton as Chris Froome followed up
Wiggins’ triumph to win the 100th edition of the Tour in 2013.

However, team principal Dave Brailsford is guarding against any sense of
complacency amongst his riders.

“There’s always a danger (of complacency). The key thing is to remember
that as we start now, everyone is back at square one,” he said.

“Nobody has an advantage because of what we did last year. No one gets a
10-mile start or anything. We’re all absolutely back to zero and unless you’ve
done the work then you’re going to suffer. There’s no hiding place in this

“If you haven’t done the work then you’re not going to get away with it.
You just can’t be complacent. Otherwise you’re going to have a really nasty

“But I think there’s enough ambition in the team, and young guys coming
through, who want to push. That keeps everyone on their toes.”

Colombian rider Sebastian Henao will make his bow in a Sky uniform
alongside cousin Sergio Henao, whilst Norwegian sprinter Edvald Boasson Hagen
will also ride alongside Wiggins on the final three days.

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde is the other big name taking part in Mallorca.

The 2009 Tour of Spain winner is also likely to miss out on the first day,
though, as he is racing in the first ever Tour of Dubai until Saturday.

Palma Trophy: Sunday, February 9 – 116km ride around Palma
Campos Trophy: Monday, February 10 – 180 km ride from Ses Salines to
Serra de Tramuntana Trophy: Tuesday, February 11 – 150km ride from Deia to
Monasterio de Lluc
Alcudia Trophy: Wednesday, February 12 – 160km ride from Muro to Port