Sir Bradley Wiggins exclusive: Team Sky will have a plan for all eventualities at Paris-Roubaix
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 09/01/15 11:00am
Sir Bradley Wiggins has said Team Sky will have a “plan for all eventualities” when he spearheads their attempt to win Paris-Roubaix in April.
The 34-year-old will make his final appearance for the British squad at the legendary one-day cobbled classic before leaving to prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Wiggins produced an impressive performance in the 2014 edition to make it into an elite front group of 11 riders alongside team-mate Geraint Thomas, but the pair were ultimately out-gunned by Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, who had three riders in the group and went on to take victory through Niki Terpstra.
Wiggins, who finished ninth, is confident that himself, Thomas and also Ian Stannard can get into the same position again on April 12, but he insisted that this year they will be more tactically astute.
He told skysports.com: “Last year’s race got me half way, because that was the realisation that I can do it. I was in with a chance of winning the race with 10km to go.
“I learnt a lot from last year. It was an invaluable experience. I learnt to have a plan going into the final, because so much of the preparation is about being fit enough and looking at the cobbled sections, and then all of a sudden you find yourself in the final with a team-mate up against another team with three of four riders, so I think running through all the different scenarios in the final is possibly something we would have done differently.
It could be that, on the day, Geraint is the leader. He is really targeting some big races early in the season, like Paris-Nice, so if he hits those in form, there is no reason why he won’t be leader that day.
Sir Bradley Wiggins
“Obviously, Omega Pharma - Quick-Step had strength in numbers there, and that’s something we needed to plan for. I wasn’t expecting to be in that position in some ways, so this time we will have to plan for all eventualities.”
Team Sky received special permission from the International Cycling Union to give Wiggins a four-month contract that will allow him to ride Paris-Roubaix and then leave the team mid-season.
However, despite going to those lengths, Wiggins is adamant he could step down into a support role should Thomas, who went on to finish seventh last year, start the race in better form.
“Geraint is on the verge of winning something huge," he added. "He has shown that potential and quality for the last few years.
“In a race like Paris-Roubaix, the ideal scenario would be for us to be in the same position we were in this year, and then it could be any one of us. The return of Ian Stannard will also be an influence.
“It could be that, on the day, Geraint is the leader. He is really targeting some big races early in the season, like Paris-Nice, so if he hits those in form, there is no reason why he won’t be leader that day.”
Paris-Roubaix is notorious for its cobbled roads, which make up more than 50km of the marathon 250km-plus route.
Wiggins went into last year’s Paris-Roubaix without having specifically targeted or trained for the race, but he will start April’s edition on the back of a meticulous build-up that has already featured a reconnaissance of the cobbles in wet conditions this winter.
He said: “I prefer it when it is dry, but at the same time, we have been looking at the course and we looked at it a few weeks ago in the wet.
“We went out to northern France and it is nice to see it in those conditions because I have never ridden the cobbles in the rain and it gives you an appreciation of what they are like when they are wet. Then when it comes to race day, you have tried them in all different extremes.”