Bradley Wiggins said that he on track for Paris-Roubaix despite a slimmed down racing programme. He decided to skip the Volta a Catalunya stage race in Spain this week and to only race Scheldeprijs before aiming at the Hell of the North on April 13.
"Roubaix is different than all the others," Team Sky's star told Cycling Weekly. "For me it's always been like a time trial. It's about having the legs and getting past, getting to the point where most of the guys have gone, which is 60 to 70 kilometres to go, and it's a smaller group. Then it becomes about having the fitness and the legs. I think that's a priority more than having done all the classics."
He will race Scheldeprijs near Antwerp on April 9. It suits sprinters, Mark Cavendish won three times, and features smooth pavé – nothing like the cobble sectors that cyclists will race in Northern France four days later.
Wiggins last raced Roubaix's cobbles in 2011. His scored his best result, 25th place, in 2009 when he rode with team Garmin.
His Roubaix rivals programmed several one-day races leading up to Paris-Roubaix. Fabian Cancellara, who already has three Roubaix trophies, will race E3 Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. On Sunday, he placed second in Milan-San Remo.
Cancellara last week failed to list Wiggins as a classics contender. When asked about Sir Wiggo, he grinned, laughed lightly and mentioned him in the same breath with feather-weight Tour de France star, Nairo Quintana. He said, "Wiggins? Of course he's welcome. Everyone is welcome to Roubaix. Everyone. Even [Nairo] Quintana is welcome."
Wiggins, however, aims to win Roubaix. He said that he trained for it this winter and that he will spend two weeks honing his form instead of racing in Catalonia. Afterwards, he explained that he will reconnoitre the final 100 kilometres of Paris-Roubaix, including its important cobble sectors.
"The only thing that's really affected is my climbing, I'm too heavy," Wiggins said. "My flat speed is good, power and that, which is what I've been working on during the winter in the gym."
Wiggins spoke about Tirreno-Adritico's time trials. He placed sixth with the team and third in the individual stage on Tuesday. "They are kind of the things that I need to look to but still, coming from where I've come from at the Tour and all of that, it's hard to calibrate... You want to be there but you can't."
Sky said that Wiggins would work on his climbing as well this week to be ready for the Tour of California, the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de France this summer. After Roubaix's dust settles, he plans to transform into a slim stage racer.
"I'm kind of three-four kilos heavier than when I won the Tour so... My plan is, once Roubaix is done, to bring it down a bit more," Wiggins said. "It's one of those things not to be able to do everything but the goals have changed."
Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins a welcome addition to Sky classics squad
Fabian Cancellara appears to laugh off Bradley Wiggins's aim to challenge in Paris-Roubaix... but still says he's welcome
Sir Bradley Wiggins still has Paris-Roubaix as his major early-season goal despite lack of one-day race experience so far this
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