Interview – Wiggins Wins In the Rainbow Jersey

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Bradley Wiggins won the final stage of the 3 Days of De Panne today, a time trial, wearing the rainbow jersey and saying he’s back on track

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Interview – Wiggins Wins In the Rainbow Jersey

Sir Bradley Wiggins powered to victory in the time trial at Driedaagse De Panne to celebrate his final race in the rainbow jersey for Team Sky. The British, World and Olympic champion looked supreme racing a technical 14.2-kilometre course in a time of 17 minutes and 49 seconds. The gap to his rivals was enough to see him jump up into third place overall.

Replicating his victory on the same course in 2009, the 34 year old came home 10 seconds quicker than nearest rival Stefan Kueng (BMC Racing) to confirm his form heading into both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) placed third in the TT to sew up the overall in De Panne, winning by an eventual margin of 23 seconds over Stijn Devolder (Trek Factory Racing). Wiggins took the final spot, 42 seconds off Kristoff to cap a superb day.

I’d hate to just get lost in it all in the next couple of years, punch drunk like an old boxer who can’t leave it alone”.

After the stage Wiggins admitted he wanted the win, explaining: “I think it was one of my first time trials as a professional back in 2002 and it’s probably my last one on this level. So it’s nice to win and it was certainly in my mind today and this week. I really wanted to win this one”.

“I think I was 11th the first time I came here and I’ve won here before in 2009. I’ve always liked this time trial, especially when the weather picks up. It felt horrible but I think it was the same for everyone. We raced this morning really early and it never feels like it’s flowing and fresh. Everyone’s trying really hard. I knew there was an opportunity to jump up onto the podium as well.”

Back on track
With Flanders three days away and Paris-Roubaix set to follow, Wiggins confirmed his is back on track following a brief illness. He added: “I’ve been at the front every day here and really committed to it. The team have done a good job in putting me there. The time trial there is a good test at the end.”

“I want to be at the final in Flanders with [Geraint Thomas] because I think that’s where you can make the biggest difference. It’s a big weekend. G’s win last week only increases the interest. It’s really good that now we’ve potentially got a British guy who can win Tour of Flanders. Not since Tommy Simpson have we had that.”

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Back in 2011, the 10 Champs and Wiggins races in the British champions colours. He did say he’ll be doing the Hull 10 on May 16 and if so, there will be huge interest in that event! 

In a separate interview on YouTube  he said “That felt nice, really nice. I knew I would not have too many opportunties, at this level anyway even though I will be doing time trials and stuff after this, so it’s good, really”.

Brad then explained that he hasn’t been well. “I was a bit sick at the start of last week. They thought I had shingles after Paris Nice and they decided to keep it quiet for some reason, I think to manage people’s expectations, so I didn’t start E3 after coming off antibiotics and I didn’t feel great on Sunday (Gent Wevelgem). I just feel like I have ridden myself in the last few days and I feel, after today certainly, I’m back on track now.”

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Team were buzzing says Brad after Geraint Thomas’s win in E3.

The next race is Tour of Flanders and for that, Geraint Thomas, or G as he is called, is one of the favourites. “After G’s win (E3), everyone was buzzing last week and his ride in Gent Wevelgem where he was by far and away the strongest rider. It puts us in a position now where we feel we have the favourite for Sunday (Flanders). So its how we play that now and get him in a position to do what he does best.”

Asked about Paris-Roubaix which is a race he has openedly talked of targetting, he says “I have to get through Sunday first and just take every day as it comes. This time last year, I wasn’t even thinking about Roubaix and was thinking about Sunday and that’s what I have done this week”

“I’ve taken each day as it comes, not thinking about the time trial (De Panne) because I have a habit of doing that and being out the back so Sunday is the next one now”. On why he was doing De Panne, he says “I think it is the best preparation for Sunday. I have always enjoyed this race. It always used to be the big warm up for Sunday but in recent years, not many people do it”.

And crashes another journalist said to him. “Don’t talk to me about crashes” he said with a laugh. “I am the most cautious rider in the peloton. You’d never race if you thought you were going to crash.”

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Brad then said he is doing a 10 at Hull on the 16th of May.
On how Flanders and Roubaix are with the likes of Boonen and Cancellera, Wiggins explained “It changes things massively and everyone feels they have a chance now. When you get to the Kwaremont for the last time, it’s who got the legs. That’s where ‘G’ will come into his strength and he’ll be trying to save as much before that as possible”.

“Roubaix will different and we have to see how we come out of Flanders. ‘G’ crashed in Flanders last year and he never really recovered from it so you just have to see how it pans out”.

Finally, on leaving the WorldTour peloton and moving on, he says “It’s nice to go out with this jersey winning a race. I’d hate to just get lost in it all in the next couple of years, punch drunk like an old boxer who can’t leave it alone”.

“I have had my time. We was talking about it and I said to the guys what were you doing 14 years ago this week and a lot of them could not remember what they were doing. But I could f’ing remember; I was in De Panne doing this race. I have been doing this a long time now and it feels like it. Fourteen years is a long time to be riding around DePanne and getting your head kicked in!”

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