Bradley Wiggins' focus remains locked on the Tour de France following his victory at Paris-Nice on Sunday.
Bradley Wiggins - his focus is now on the 2012 Tour de France (Lionel Cironneau/AP/Press Association Images)
The 31-year-old became only the second Briton after Tom Simpson in 1967 to win the prestigious 'Race To The Sun', producing a dominant performance which saw him in the leader's yellow jersey from the second stage onwards. He had to dig deep on the concluding time trial up the Col d’Eze to hold off the charging Lieuwe Westra, eventually topping the overall standings by eight seconds from the Dutchman.
It was his biggest road-race success since landing the Critérium du Dauphiné last year and Wiggins stressed it all served to underline that his preparations for cycling's biggest event this summer remain very much on track.
He said: "I’ve got a great coaching team behind me and we set off with this plan on November 1 with the aim of being in the best shape possible in July. Paris-Nice was part of the plan and we'll now continue working on all the things we are looking to improve. It's back to training work this week, then Catalunya the following week and altitude training in Tenerife after that.
"It’s just a continual process, it’s not a case of thinking ‘right how are we going to keep this form’ because in our eyes it’s only going to get better. I’m still not at race weight yet for the Tour and we’ve got these goals along the way, of which Paris-Nice was a huge early-season one."
Wiggins is understandably delighted with the results so far - he also beat world time trial champion Tony Martin in his first race against the clock this season at the Volta ao Algarve - and he was also proud to have emulated one of his cycling heroes in Simpson by winning Paris-Nice.
He explained: "To follow in Tom Simpson’s footsteps of becoming the second British rider to win it is something special. It’s a massive thing – as was the Dauphiné - and to have both those on my palmares is a massive honour.
"For me both races are right up there. One is the big pre-Tour race and the other is the early-season one; the one I saw when I was a kid reading the magazines and you’d see pictures of Indurain wrapped up in all his clothing with snow on the side of the roads, or Hinault and stages getting cancelled. We didn’t have the internet then so that was the only way of seeing these things. Cycling wasn’t on TV in the UK either so that was my first introduction to races like this and what they meant.
"They are both up there and behind the Tour de France they are the two biggest races in France."