Overall winner of Tour of Qatar has gone on to win Paris-Roubaix on four previous occasions

Bradley Wiggins‘s Paris-Roubaix goal on April 12 could receive a boost by riding the Tour of Qatar given that on four occasions the overall winner has gone on to win the cobbled classic.

“Whatever group you’re in here it’s hard work,” Sir Bradley said after stage one on Sunday.

“That’s the good thing about this race, if you’re in the back, you’re still riding hard. From that point of view, it’s good.”

Wind, sometimes reaching 25 miles per hour, pushed the group across the Persian Gulf state yesterday and, with the effort of teams like Etixx-Quick Step, it caused splits.

Etixx’s Tom Boonen won Paris-Roubaix four times, three times he won the Tour of Qatar two months earlier. The same for his team-mate Niki Terpstra, who won both races in 2014.

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Boonen’s work helped split the group and saw Wiggins lose 33 seconds yesterday.

“The secret? It’s the knowledge of the parcours, but if you are strong you can position yourself,” Boonen said.

“If you have that two per cent on your rivals, it helps you because there’s not that many secrets to riding in the echelons and sprinting.”

Bradley Wiggins in the 2014 Paris-Roubaix

Bradley Wiggins in the 2014 Paris-Roubaix

Wiggins refocused his aims from stage races and the Tour de France to Paris-Roubaix and the Hour Record. Last year, he surprised many followers with his ride over northern France’s cobbled farm roads that resulted in a ninth place in the ‘Queen of the Classics’.

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Despite the 33-second loss, Wiggins appeared pleased with his scheduling choice.

“This type of race, I always feel like I need a day or two find my legs and get used to fighting and taking risks,” Wiggins added. “I was happy with the way I felt.”

Team Sky’s sports director and 2001 Paris-Roubaix winner, Dutchman Servais Knaven is guiding Wiggins through Qatar and the spring. He indicated that Qatar success or failure does not translate directly to a Paris-Roubaix win.

“It doesn’t always say something about the legs when you are in the back and it splits,” Knaven said.

“You could have the best legs of the world, and the race could still split in front of you.”