Sir Bradley Wiggins will start Italy's Giro del Trentino stage race today with one eye on making the Tour de France team. He explained that he hopes to race to make Sky's team selection to support Chris Froome in July.
"I'll do everything possible to try to be there," Wiggins said, "but it is Chris's team and he'll have lot of say on who's around him and in front of him in the mountains."
Wiggins will lead team Sky in the four-day stage race. It starts today with a 14.3-kilometre team time trial next to Lake Garda. Last year, he helped Sky win Trentino's and the Giro d'Italia's time trial.
However, Sky already starts the race behind. The organiser last night listed the team with only six riders instead of a full eight-man team. Wiggins will race with Dario Cataldo, Ian Boswell, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Philip Deignan and Salvatore Puccio.
After Trentino, Wiggins will lead Sky's Tour of California team and return to Froome's side in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Team Sky will select its nine-man Tour team in late June, after the Dauphiné stage race and the Tour of Switzerland.
"My job is to continue to do what I'm doing, go to the Tour of California, get the result I want there, and come back and put in a good performance and team role in the Dauphiné and warrant a Tour de France place," continued Wiggins, who turns 34 on April 28th.
"This team has a lot of depth. It's not straight forward that you are automatically on the start sheet if you are a Tour winner. I'd love to be there, I've proved that I have the legs now."
Wiggins placed fifth in Trentino last year. He went to race the Giro d'Italia, where he abandoned mid-way with a cold and sore knee. The same knee pain kept him out of the Tour, where Chris Froome went on to win.
This winter, he changed his focus from winning Grand Tours to Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of California. Last weekend, he impressed in Paris-Roubaix by making the lead group and placing ninth.
"Wiggins pleasantly surprised me," said Patrick Lefevere, who manages team Omega Pharma. "Sky should help Froome in the Tour and give Wiggins a hand in future editions of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix."
Wiggins explained after the race, "It's nice that I'm not just a one-trick pony." He said that he wants to race on the track and to return to the classics again next year. This year, however, he has his eyes on the Tour de France.
Geraint Thomas and Bradley Wiggins comment on their seventh and ninth places in 2014 Paris-Roubaix
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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