Bradley Wiggins will keep Paris-Roubaix as a major goal this season despite cancelling several other one-day races, Team Sky confirmed. Wiggins only has the Scheldeprijs planned ahead of the Queen of the Classics, considered one of cycling's hardest one-day races
"It is still the goal," team principal, David Brailsford told journalists including Cycling Weekly this morning. "He's serious about it. He's talking a lot about it. He's really tuned into it."
Wiggins won the Tour de France and several other major stage races in 2012. Last year, he won the Tour of Britain but suffered in the Giro d'Italia. This year, he aims to win the Tour of California and help Chris Froome in the Tour de France. The cobbled-classic Paris-Roubaix, April 13, sticks out.
He last raced Roubaix in 2011, placed 90th. That year he also raced Milan-San Remo. He has yet to race one of the monuments again. In September, he raced the World Championship in Florence but pulled out under in heavy rain showers.
His one-day race programme looks similarly sparse this spring. He raced three 1.1-ranked days at the Challenge Mallorca but those are more stages than classics. The Strade Bianche race over cobbles in Siena, Italy, would have tested his legs against the likes of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) but he pulled out at the last minute. Sky had him down to race Dwars door Vlaanderen and Ghent-Wevelgem as well, but his schedule has since changed. After Tirreno-Adriatico this week, Wiggins has the Volta a Catalunya, March 24-30, and Scheldeprijs, April 9, on tap.
Brailsford agreed that Cancellara and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), with seven wins between them, are favourites for the Roubaix win but he would not rule out Wiggins.
"Of course he can win," Brailsford said. "He's not a favourite but you couldn't say he couldn't win. If Bradley wins Roubaix, would we be surprise? I don't think we'd be that surprised if he won it."
Brailsford explained that Wiggins could lead the team but that he would need to wait until the days before Roubaix to decide. The Sky stable contains riders who have been building steadily in one-day classics over the recent years: Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas, Bernhard Eisel and Edvald Boasson Hagen.
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