SEALINE BEACH, Qatar (VN) — Bradley Wiggins (Sky) battled through crosswinds in the first stage of the Tour of Qatar Sunday, but after 136km over the sand-swept roads, his first question was, “Do you know how far Rohan Dennis went in the hour?”
Australian Rohan Dennis beat the Tour of Qatar peloton, which was behind schedule due to the high winds often coming head on. Dennis set a new hour record at 52.491 kilometers when Wiggins and group had 12km to race.
Wiggins was curious because he plans to attempt to break that record in early June after racing through the spring to Paris-Roubaix. Paris-Roubaix, the hour record and the 2016 Olympics will fill the last chapter of his cycling career.
Question: Were you impressed with Dennis?
Bradley Wiggins: He had 52.8 with 20 minutes to go. I thought he’d be capable of mid-53s, but then I said that about Jack Bobridge. I thought Jack could go 54. I was talking to Matthias Brändle about it today, and I just think that people underestimate it.
Q: It’s underestimated?
BW: It’s just a hard thing. That’s why I’m doing it in June, because I want to do Roubaix and then have eight weeks to get ready for it and I’ll probably do the full distance in training just to be sure. I don’t want to do it off the back of a stage race and have a few days to get ready for it.
Q: Do you have to manage the expectation?
BW: They booked the track, they are just trying to put the event together, all the stuff around it. It helps with it being 52.4, so you are not chasing 55 or 56 set in Adelaide in extreme conditions. That helps. The record is what it is. I sat down with Chris Boardman last week, asking how hard it was, he said it depends if you want to break it or put it out of sight. Obviously, there’s a big difference between doing 55 and 52.4.
Q: Do you have an idea of the distance you can reach?
BW: People keep saying, ’55, 55, 55.’ But everyone said 54 for Jack and Rohan, but I honestly have no idea. I haven’t done anything like that on the track.
Q: You have Brändle, Bobridge, and Dennis beforehand…
BW: It’s good having people go before you, you can see the mistake they made. Brändle said it was too hot, he had it at 26 [Celsius] in the velodrome. Boardman was telling me to have it at 30 C!
Q: What is the exact date?
BW: It’ll be early June. I think they set a date because it’s going to be on the television.
Q: Have you considered the best location?
BW: From the commercial and cycling point of view, London is the place to do it. I don’t know where Majorca [Spain] came from. Just the way cycling is in the UK, so to do it in London on the Olympic track. … You get to the point where the track is a track.
Q: Eddy Merckx says a 333-meter track is better. …
BW: Yeah, perhaps for people who haven’t been on the track. I was surprised that Brändle did it in Aigle [Switzerland]. He said he really struggled on the track.
Q: Dennis wobbled toward the end like Jens Voigt.
BW: Yeah? It’s a long time in that position.
Q: Is Thomas Dekker to be taken seriously?
BW: I don’t know. Who’d have thought Jens would’ve have got it this time last year? Thomas. … You just don’t know. Everyone thought it’d be at 54 now, and it’s not.