Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Well done Bradley!...

Great news for Bradley Wiggins and the Sky Pro Racing Team.

Bradley Wiggins on the final time trial
Wiggo achieved his potential and came away the victor of the recent Paris-Nice road race. The final stage last sunday was a time trial up The Col d'Eze mountain, high above the Riviera coast between Nice and Monaco, it is one of cycling's iconic locations, having served as the climax to the eight-day Paris‑Nice for over a quarter of a century, from 1969 to 1995. It has smiled on greats such as Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche, Miguel Indurain and Eddy Merckx, and Bradley Wiggins is now racing in their ranks having achieved the double of stage win on the Col and overall title in the "Race to the Sun".

Having finished a close second in the opening time trial, he took the race lead with a commanding performance as the race split on the windswept plains north of Orléans on day two, and did not put a foot wrong thereafter, never panicking despite the fact that his lead was never more than 6sec, first on the American Levi Leipheimer, and then on Westra after the Dutchman won the toughest hilltop finish of the race at Mende last Thursday.
Gradually, the triple Olympic champion is producing a stage-racing record of achievement that approaches that of the other British greats in this domain. His fourth place in the Tour de France in 2009 equalled the British best of Robert Millar. His victory last year in the eight-day Dauphiné Libéré stage race put him in the company of Millar, and the British Tour pioneer Brian Robinson.
He has already bettered the late Tom Simpson's Tour best of sixth; before Sunday, Simpson had been the only British victor in Nice, and that triumph dated back to 1967.
"I know the history of the sport and to be on that list and to become the second Brit after Tom Simpson to win Paris-Nice means a lot for me," said Wiggins. "I'm on that list of riders who won Paris‑Nice, the Dauphiné. There's just one left now to win."
Wiggins earlier during the Paris-Nice
That reference to the Tour de France underlines that while Nice was his big target for the early season, the goal at the back of his mind is in July. To that end, he will ride no one-day events this year, including declining the chance to defend his British national title in June. If Nice was a key goal, that is because he will start only three more races – the Tours of Catalonia and Romandie, and the Dauphiné – before the Tour. Every chance has to be taken.
Those close to him say that while he has hit this season in fine form, there will be more to come in a few months. "I don't know if I'm a favourite [for the Tour] but I'm one of maybe five riders who can do something there [overall] this summer. I said Paris-Nice was a stepping stone, no disrespect for Paris-Nice. But I must continue that progression to July now. Lance Armstrong warned me recently not to burn too many matches for July. It's certainly a long trail."

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