No stranger to breaking down barriers, Bradley Wiggins is aiming for another first in 2014. After becoming the first British Tour de France winner, he wants to do the same at Paris-Roubaix.
“I’d love to win it,” Wiggins told The Guardian. “Or to be part of that final, that final 40 or 50 kilometers, even if it’s doing a job for Geraint Thomas or whatever.”
There had been speculation on where Wiggins would race and what he would target this year. At a press conference yesterday at Sky’s training camp in Mallorca, Spain, he clarified his 2014 plans. He will target Paris-Roubaix on April 13, the Amgen Tour of California (May 11-18), and the Tour de France (July 5-27). He said that he wants to win the first two before helping Chris Froome take his second Tour title.
First Roubaix, the “Queen of the Classics.” Wiggins won several major stage races heading toward his Tour de France title in 2012. He took the London Olympics time trial, as well. However, his only one-day race win, other than in time trials, is the British national title in 2011. His best result in a classic is 25th in the 2009 Paris-Roubaix.
Roubaix, though, is his new aim after a difficult 2013. Last year, he dropped out of the Giro d’Italia and missed the Tour de France. Wiggins bounced back with a Tour of Britain win and a silver medal in the time trial at the world championships.
“The Hell of the North” snakes its way north from Compiègne to the Roubaix velodrome in Northern France. Along the way, it covers some of the worst cobbled roads in the country. Wiggins raced Roubaix three times and had a taste of the cobbles when the Tour de France passed in 2010. The 33-year-old explained that the threshold effort, which helped him win Olympic pursuit medals, suits him.
“Once the fighting is done in the early [cobbled] sectors, it’s about spending long periods of time on your own, which I’m good at,” Wiggins said. “That’s one of the beauties of it: it’s sustained threshold, there is a lot of risk involved but other than the reconnaissance of the race, there is physically not much difference [in training and preparation].”
Wiggins plans to race Milano-Sanremo on March 23, but has not mentioned participating in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) on April 6. He would likely line up in Roubaix with the core of Sky’s classics team, including Geraint Thomas, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, and Ian Stannard.
Wiggins targeting Amgen Tour victory
Wiggins also wants to return to the Amgen Tour of California, where he last raced in 2008 with Columbia-Highroad. He won’t be sightseeing, and will aim for the overall win.
After a recent visit to the U.S., he said he sensed that cycling is hugely popular and that the Lance Armstrong doping scandal left a void.
“People in the U.S. are keen on cycling, but have been robbed a little bit with what’s gone on. As a Tour winner with credibility, with no skeletons in your closet, people look up to you and want to get on their bikes because of what you achieved one summer,” said Wiggins. “That is quite rare, especially within cycling — there are not many of us Tour winners that haven’t got a history, three or four, part of a very small club, and it’s our responsibility to preach that to the world.”