Published: 24 September 2013
Report: Eddie Allen
Fresh from overall victory in the Tour of Britain, Sir Bradley Wiggins turns his attention to the bigger goal of the world time trial title, a title which as thus far eluded him.
The 33-year-old won this year’s Tour of Britain on the back of his peerless time trial performance on stage three and following his victory, Wiggins spoke to the Press Association, his mind already on the time trial test in Tuscany.
"From (this) morning my thoughts turn to the world championships and this will probably be forgotten," said Wiggins, who is no stranger to how quickly the sport moves on. Last summer Wiggins moved straight from becoming Britain’s first Tour de France winner to the London 2012 Olympics, claiming the Olympic time trial gold just ten days after crossing the line in the maillot jaune on the Champs Elysee.
"It's a bit like the Tour with the Olympics. Win the Tour one day, the next day you're thinking about the Olympics,” said Wiggins, who won the 2012 Tour de France largely on the back of his phenomenal time trialling ability.
Wiggins’ main focus in Italy is the time trial with the British rider also scheduled to take part in the elite men’s road race on Sunday 29 September.
Wiggins will be joined in the time trial by 2013 British time trial champion Alex Dowsett, who also demonstrated his form in the Tour of Britain with a lone attack on stage eight. The 24-year-old from Essex was eighth in the 2012 world time trial championships in Limburg and won one of two individual time trials in the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
Wiggins and Dowsett will face a 56.8-kilometre course starting in Montecatini Terme and finishing in Florence; the parcours largely flat, with a small climb at six-kilometres the only blemish.
The Olympic champion’s run up to the worlds this year has been challenging, retiring from the Giro in May due to ill heath and missing the Tour de France due to the effects of a knee injury he picked up in Italy.
Yet Wiggins has turned his misfortunate into a positive, the season’s ill luck became a catalyst for a rebirth of the Wiggins mojo, which is now fully focussed on gaining the rainbow bands on the road, something Wiggins has never done.
Speaking to ITV after his Tour of Britain victory, Wiggins revealed the moment when his season refocused on the time trial, the day he found out he wasn’t to defend his 2012 Tour de France title: “From that day on I got back to what I do best – training hard and having goals that I really want to win – and this is one of them.”
Wiggins’ stature is visibly larger than it was in May, the rider’s training and preparation clearly focussed on gaining muscle and power ahead of the title bid.
With the stepping stone of the Tour of Britain out of the way it remains to be seen if Wiggins can wrest the title from its current incumbent, Tony Martin. The German took the title by a slender five seconds from American Taylor Phinney back in September 2012 in Limburg, the pair a country mile ahead of a field which lacked many big hitters like Wiggins, Fabien Cancellara and Bert Grabsch.
Martin’s time trialling season has been impressive so far, winning in the Tirreno Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country, the Tour of Romandie and the Dauphine Libere. Even a crash on Corsica on stage one of the Tour de France failed to derail him, suffering concussion and a contusion to the lung, only to come back and win the individual time trial on stage 11.
The German, riding for Omega Pharma Quickstep has already successfully defended the world team time trial on the first day of the competition in Florence and will be the man to beat.
Fabien Cancellara has been quiet since his classics campaign in spring, which saw him win both the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix. After Roubaix Cancellara went to ground, resurfacing for the Vuelta a Espana in preparation for the worlds, in which he beat Tony Martin into second place in the individual time trial, abandoning early to prepare for the worlds.
Wiggins will take heart from the fact that he beat Cancellara by almost a minute in the Tour of Poland time trial back in August, evidence that the Briton is in world beating time trial form.
The elite men’s time trial will take place on Wednesday 25 September with the first rider getting underway at 12:15 BST.