Roche: Qatar time trial must be wake-up call for Bradley Wiggins

Stephen Roche says Bradley Wiggins should not be concerned by losing time in the Tour of Qatar standings, but finishing third in the time trial is a cause for concern

Bradley Wiggins before stage three of the 2015 Tour of Qatar. Photo: Graham Watson
(Image credit: Watson)

Sir Bradley Wiggins has a long way to go if he’s to reach top form for Paris-Roubaix, according to Stephen Roche, who says the Brit’s time trial performance was of particular concern.

While Roche concedes it was only Wiggins’ third day of racing this season, the 1987 Triple Crown winner said in his column that he expected Sir Bradley to honour his first outing in the rainbow stripes with a win.

Wiggins finished nine seconds down to winner Niki Terpstra in the stage three time trial and sits over 12 minutes down on the Belgian in the overall standings after being caught out in the Qatar crosswinds.

“It’s no secret that Wiggins isn’t the best rider in the wind and the likes of [Tom] Boonen have successfully exposed that,” he wrote. “It’s an unfortunate reflection on Wiggins, but in a race like the Tour of Qatar, it comes with the territory.”

“What I would be slightly more concerned about is Tuesday’s time trial, where Wiggins could only finish third and was beaten over 10km by nine seconds by winner Terpstra, who took victory at Paris-Roubaix last year and could well be one of his biggest rivals at this year’s race.”

“OK, it was only Wiggins’ third day of racing of the year and he wasn’t on a time trial bike as they aren’t allowed in Qatar, but it was his first time wearing the world champion’s rainbow jersey and I would have thought he would have wanted to honour it by winning the stage.

“So to have lost almost one second per kilometre to Terpstra is far from ideal. Again, it’s not a major worry, because Paris-Roubaix is still nine weeks away, but it does show that he is far from his best form and still has a lot of work to do.”

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.