Sir Bradley Wiggins will race the Tour of Flanders on Sunday as part of his cobbles campaign. Team Sky announced the 2012 Tour de France winner in its roster today, which had to be modified due to recent crashes.
“[He] will add his horsepower to the team’s regular Spring Classics roster,” read a press release.
Wiggins last raced the Ronde van Vlaanderen in 2006 for Cofidis. Eight years later, and in Sky’s black and blue colours, he joins Edvald Boasson Hagen, Geraint Thomas, Bernie Eisel, Christian Knees, Gabriel Rasch, Salvatore Puccio and Luke Rowe.
Thomas should be able to give Sky a win or at least a top 10 in the cobbled classic, one of cycling’s five monuments. In E3 Harelbeke on Friday, he attacked free with Niki Terpstra and his Omega Pharma team-mate, and Peter Sagan. He gambled on a sprint and placed third behind Sagan. In 2011, the Welshman placed 10th in Flanders.
Ian Stannard, winner of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, crashed and fractured a vertebra in Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday. Chris Sutton also crashed and injured his left knee, but will be back in time for Scheldeprijs. After his Flanders return, Wiggins pushes ahead over the cobbles to the Scheldeprijs near Antwerp and France’s biggest one-day classic, Paris-Roubaix.
Sky also announced its Scheldeprijs roster for Wednesday: Boasson Hagen, Eisel, Knees, Puccio, Rasch, Rowe, Sutton and Wiggins. The race takes placed four days until Paris-Roubaix.
Wiggins raced Tirreno-Adriatico, where he placed third in the final time trial. Instead of heading to Spain’s Volta a Catalunya as planned, he retreated to train and to work on his climbing ahead of this summer’s Tour of California and Tour de France. Over the winter, he tuned his body to be ready for Roubaix’s bumps and grinds.
“The only thing that’s really affected is my climbing, I’m too heavy,” Wiggins told Cycling Weekly at Tirreno-Adriatico. “My flat speed is good, power and that, which is what I’ve been working on during the winter in the gym.”
The Tour of Flanders covers 259 kilometres from Bruges to Oudenaarde. Though the cobbled roads are not as rough as Roubaix’s, the route snakes its way on some of Flanders’ most technical roads and features 17 sharp and punchy climbs, nine of which feature cobbles. The mix, even more so than Paris-Roubaix, could suit Sir Wiggo.
Bradley Wiggins says that he's gained three to four kilos since 2012 Tour de France to increase his power to
Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins a welcome addition to Sky classics squad
Ian Stannard (Team Sky) will miss out on Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix after fracturing vertebrae in Ghent-Wevelgem crash