No regrets for Wiggins

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Published: Sunday 12th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Sir Bradley Wiggins has no regrets after his bid for one last victory for Team Sky fell short in the Paris-Roubaix.

The 2012 Tour de France winner, who is quitting the team in order to ride for his own squad, ‘Wiggins’, before a return to the track ahead of the Rio Olympics, had wanted to sign off from what he called a “golden era” with a win in one of the sport’s most prestigious races.

But it was not to be as Germany’s John Degenkolb produced the perfect race to cross the line first at the end of a gruelling 151-mile trek, which took in 27 tortuous cobbled spells, while Wiggins finished 18th.

“I’m happy. I’ve had a good run, and being a classics rider has been like a new job for me over the last two years – it was a hobby driven by my passion,” Wiggins told the Team Sky website.

“Before the race I was trying really hard to not think about this being my last race for Team Sky. So many riders came up to me to wish me good luck and that was really nice.

“All these guys who you’ve been bashing heads with for years, never spoken to them, and they’re coming up to congratulate me on my career. It’s hard not to get emotional when that happens, but I got through it okay.

“I said at the start, I just wanted a clean run today, and I got that. I didn’t have one puncture, one crash. I came through it pretty well and I was pleased to finish in the top 20.”

Wiggins, who has claimed 23 victories during his Team Sky career, did his best, breaking away with 32 kilometres left to shake things up at the head of the peloton, while he also made a late push, but in the end he had to settle for a place down the line.

One of the sport’s classic races, the one-day slog did not fail to disappoint, but the drama almost got out of hand at one stage as some of the riders had a lucky escape when a train sped through the tracks they were due to cross.

Some of the field slipped across despite the safety barriers being down, while others were held at the gate before being able to resume.

After that interlude the drama returned to the saddle, although Sky’s in-form Geraint Thomas was unable to play a part.

Among the early front-runners, he was unseated when he ran into a curb, while he also suffered injuries on the way which eventually reduced him to a participant.

For Wiggins it was always going to be a case of leaving nothing on the road ahead of his next phase, which is to include a ride at the Tour de Yorkshire.

He first made himself known in the race when he moved to the head of the peloton with 45 kilometres to go and, with 32 remaining he ditched the pack in a bid to reel in the leaders.

The peloton drew him back but his intent was clear and he held pace with them until Greg van Avermaet and Yves Lampaert went for it on their own.

The pair were joined by Degenkolb and then Zdenek Stybar and at this point it was clear Wiggins’ race was run.

He found some extra power to go it alone again but the top prize was no longer on the table for him and he was amongst the rest as Degenkolb won the race in two laps of the Roubaix Velodrome.

In the end Luke Rowe was Sky’s first man home in eighth, while Stybar and Van Avermaet took second and third respectively.

Published: Sunday 12th April 2015 by The News Editor

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