Wiggins hoping to sign off with win


Published: Friday 10th April 2015 by The News Editor

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It is apt that Sir Bradley Wiggins’ top-tier road career concludes with a bumpy ride over cobbles which finishes in a velodrome.

The 34-year-old Briton will race for Team Sky for the final time in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix one-day race and will do anything to be in contention for victory.

“Everyone says, ‘oh you can win Roubaix and have this fairy tale ending’ but it’s not as easy as that,” he said on cyclingnews.com.

“I mean I’d love to win, I’m not here saying that I’d accept ninth place, but to have a clean run through the race, to have no crashes.

“To come on to that velodrome with all my peers, I’m getting too nostalgic but that’s a huge part of it.”

For Wiggins, the world time-trial champion, winning could even surpass victory in the 2012 Tour de France.

“It would be bigger in my eyes at the moment,” Wiggins added.

“That’s not to say that the Tour wasn’t huge because it was. I think it would be more enjoyable because it’s only one day and it’s over in six hours.”

Known as ‘the Hell of the North’, the 253.5-kilometres race through the World War One battlefields of northern France, the brutal test features 27 sections of cobbles totalling 53km.

The race finishes in the Roubaix Velodrome, where Wiggins dreams of glory.

Wiggins is bowing out to ride for his eponymous team, go for the Hour record and switch his focus to his bid for a fifth Olympic gold medal in next summer’s Games in Rio in the team pursuit on the track.

The team is all important for Wiggins on Sunday and it will be on the road where it is decided if a fairytale finale can be claimed.

Team Sky has options and Wiggins is just one of them.

Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard are among the favourites, while a fourth Brit in Luke Rowe has an outside chance.

Wiggins, who was ninth in the race in 2014, when Thomas was seventh, will know his best chances of success are as part of this multi-pronged attack.

He could even sacrifice his own hopes to aid Thomas’ bid for victory.

Thomas was a team pursuit colleague of Wiggins in winning gold at the 2008 Olympics and has been a core member of Team Sky from the start, riding selflessly in support of riders including Wiggins.

Wiggins was embroiled in a transfer tussle to join Sir Dave Brailsford’s squad for its inaugural season in 2010.

He had finished fourth – upgraded to third after Lance Armstrong’s disqualification – in the 2009 Tour, but floundered a year later.

In 2011, Wiggins won his only one-day race – the British Championships in Northumberland – before crashing out of the Tour with a broken collarbone.

The four-time Olympic champion responded a year later to become the first British Tour winner in the 99th edition, despite a fall-out with Chris Froome.

Froome won the 2013 edition when Wiggins was absent through injury and Wiggins missed the 2014 race which began in Yorkshire due to the pair’s fractious relationship.

It means Wiggins has not returned to the Tour since his win in Paris.

Almost three years on, Wiggins has the opportunity to finish on a high, but there are no guarantees.

Published: Friday 10th April 2015 by The News Editor

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