Bradley Wiggins: Back to His Roots

Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins talks to VeloUK about going back to his roots and another little race in July, the Tour de France

A legend in the sport after three Olympic Gold medals, multiple World titles and of course, that fourth in the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins is truly not just a great British rider but a true star in the World of cycle sport.

After his victory in the Cycling Time Trials 10 Mile Time Trial Championship in the North East, Wiggins was besieged by people, from young children to veterans well past their best years, for autographs and to have their picture taken with the Team Sky pro.

Earlier that day, Brad was out on the course, checking it out and playfully hiding his face with his hand when he saw the camera come out. Like the true cycling celeb that he is! This was a day when ‘Wiggo’ came to ride with the grass roots.

And the fans loved it with lots of people by the side of the road, stop watches in their hands, eagerly checking the gap between Wiggins and his ‘arch’ rival, Michael Hutchinson.

Prior to the race, there was no Team Sky bus, mechanic, soigneur, coach and all  the other things that Wiggins has at his disposal at a race through out the year. Just Wiggins and wife Cath, taking the bike out of the boot and assembling it just like the hundreds of others were doing that day in Crathorne, a picturesque village near Stockton on Tees.

For a rider with a profile like Wiggins though, putting your reputation on the line at such an event and against a rider who on his day will always be a danger to beating you, takes bottle. On that subject, he modestly replies, “I just think cycling is cycling and I have the greatest respect for Michael and think he’s a fantastic athlete. But I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to come and race events like this.”

“For as much as I take the p#ss out of Cycling Time Trials, or have done in the past,  it is the back bone of our sport and has remained constant for the last 100 years.”

Asked about the ride on the A19 dual carriageway, the course for the 10 champs, he says  “I hold this event in high regard and you never know what you are going to get from Michael”.

“I came up last night and rode the course this morning  and did a couple of laps and treated it full on and that paid dividends because the wind was incredible out there. I decided to go full on for the outward leg into the headwind because I thought that was where I would make most of my ground up and then hold my speed on the return. Which is what I did.”

“I knew I had been going well and have just come back from two weeks at altitude and we’re really deep into the preparations for July now. It is going fantastic this year with my new coach Shane Sutton and Tim Kerrison (sports analyst from Australia) working with me and it has been going really well. It’s really exciting for July because I can hopefully get up back there where I can be.”

Earlier this year, Wiggins rode the Spring Classics including Paris-Roubaix where he suffered some fairly bad injuries. Talking about how he felt, Brad explained “The body has healed really well. Fortunately, I had a week off after Roubaix and that was planned so that timing was perfect and then we started to get into the work for July. That gave me time to let the injuries heal but I was lucky that because of where the injury was, it didn’t take long for it to heal.”

Michael Hutchson, Wiggins closest challenger.

Time Trialling
Team Sky has quite a few riders capable of knocking out a good time trial, Alex Dowsett and Ian Stannard being two that like the race against the watch because it gives them a chance to ride for themselves which they don’t get in the bunch races. For Wiggins, he says he is concentrating less on the event though.

“I have concentrated less on this event, certainly over the last year since I won the Giro prologue, because it is something I don’t seem to struggle with and seem to perform well in them. And with the Tour going away from Time Trials, I have had to improve more with the climbing and the sustained stuff and become more efficient at  climbing for long periods of time.”

“I don’t seem to have lost the edge in the Time Trial either and certainly at this distance, its got better but in the prologues, I have probably lost that edge over the last two years  having concentrated on the Tour as a whole. It is still nice though to be able to come back and do this.”

On his forthcoming programme, Bradley says his next race is Bayern-Rundfahrt (Hor category 5 day stage race in Germany)and then the classic French Tour de France warmup race, the ProTour Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré (5-12 June). Then Brad and the team are into the last three weeks before the Tour and a lot of the work for the Tour has been done.

After, Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, Brad does some recce work for the Tour but  added that this year has been more about getting fit and riding the bike.

“You know Shane’s work ethic (very tough indeed-Ed)  and he’s constantly on at me so it’s been worlds apart from last year; the difference and the position I am in now.”

“From my point of view, I have certainly enjoyed this year more as I have a plan now and am doing things properly where as this time last year, I was a little bit lost.”

“So certainly, I feel I’m enjoying it more. And then being able to come and do things like this within your preparation it helps you enjoy it a bit more. This weekend having to fend for myself, get my bikes ready, make sure my tyres are all pumped up and not having people look after you left right and centre, that’s enjoyable because that’s going back to my grass roots and what I‘d do 10 or 15 years ago.”

It was then time to let Brad move on to the next round of interviews and recall his story yet again to some one else. It may have only been the ’10 Champs’ and not the Tour de France, but that’s the beauty of the sport because at the Tour, the whole world will be wanting a piece of Bradley Wiggins CBE where as in Crathorne, the whole atmosphere was far more relaxed, a place where the Wiggins, Cath and Brad, could enjoy the event without the eight of the world on their shoulders.

Thanks to Brad and Cath for their time during the day.

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