Wiggins confident ahead of Tour opener

Wiggins confident ahead of Tour opener

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Wiggins confident ahead of Tour de France opener

29th June 2011
Report: Press Association Sport

Photo:  Wiggins with teammates Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift.

Bradley Wiggins believes again.

In 2010, Wiggins struggled through the Tour de France and described his fourth-placed finish in 2009, equalling Robert Millar's 1984 best result by a Briton, as a "fluke" after capitulating in the mountains.

But 11 months on the three-time Olympic champion enters the Tour full of confidence after winning traditional warm-up the Dauphine Libere and the British Championships.

He said: "It's completely different. What a difference a year makes. I'm ready to go.

"That comes with the results and the self-belief now that I've pretty much done everything this year to get the best performance possible.

"A year ago there was a lot of doubt whether I'd actually done the work.  I perhaps tried to convince myself that I had.

"This year with the team around me we've ticked all the boxes.

"I don't know what I'm capable of - I never thought I'd finish fourth in the Tour two years ago.

"I've ticked all the boxes, I'm ready to go, I've won the Dauphine Libere - who knows? I could be first or last.

"What I do know is I'm going to get the best out of myself every day of the 21 days and get to Paris and we'll find out."

Wiggins decided not to dwell on his Dauphine success, comparing it to the first Olympic gold when the target is multiple success.

He added: "I haven't thought too much about the Dauphine, although we won. It wasn't the be all and end all, it was about July.

"I've been concentrating on doing the training, the run-up and the taper."

Success for Wiggins could come this Sunday.

Victory in the team time-trial in Les Essarts could propel a Team Sky rider, likely to be Wiggins, into the yellow jersey of Tour leader.

He said: "We've got a fantastic squad, but I'm sure there will be a few other guys in other teams going for that.

"It's not something I think about. We've just got to go out there and put the performance together on the day.

"If it brings us the yellow jersey, then fantastic."

Wiggins insists he does not know the full three-week Tour schedule and is taking a step-by-step, day-by-day approach.

He will treat each climb like a time-trial, racing himself, not his rivals, and will treat each day as one day, rather than part of a three-week race.

He said: "I try not to over-think it too much, over-complicating it.

"I've got to the point this year where I find out in the morning what stage it is - that seems to work better for me."

The Team Sky leader says the Tour has become part of his life and even in Olympic year he intends to take part.

In fact, Wiggins is considering a 2012 programme of the Tour, the Olympic road race, the Olympic time-trial and the team pursuit on the track.

Wiggins must ride the road race to be eligible for the time-trial, which he believes he could win, along with the team pursuit.

"I can't see myself not doing the Tour - it's become part of who I am,"
he said.

Mark Cavendish, another British cycling super star, is the favourite to take road race gold on the opening weekend of the London Olympics.

Cavendish has been linked with a move to Team Sky in 2012.

Wiggins would welcome the switch, but International Cycling Union rules forbid teams and riders from discussing transfers until August 1.

He said: "He's British, a good mate of mine and it would be fantastic to have him here.

"It is all speculation and we'll find out in the coming months."