Bradley Wiggins closed out his first participation in cycling’s oldest classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a happy man. He played a perfect team-mate to his team captains and received hugs from his children afterwards in Ans.
If Team Sky calls him up for the Ardennes again next year, he will gladly return.
“There is always a role to play,” Wiggins told Cycling Weekly. “I like doing a job for the guys because they are obviously going to be there in July for me.”
Though he raced Amstel Gold in 2005 with Crédit Agricole, it was his first time to race in the other two Ardennes Classics, Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Wiggins’ experience in the Tour de France allowed him to cope with the nervousness of a demanding course: 258 kilometres and 10 Walloon côtes. Only a puncture prior to the Côte de la Redoute stopped him from performing his final work for Simon Gerrans.
“I punctured just before La Redoute, at a crucial stage, but I managed to get over the climb with the peloton. It was not ideal and it got a bit disorganised.
“Steve [Cummings] was really great and helped me return. We certainly met the objective, putting Simon in position to place as high as possible. Simon had a pretty good ride, so we were pretty pleased as a team.”
Gerrans finished 12th, in the third group behind winner Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana). Wiggins 74th, nine minutes back.
He quickly switched off after the race with the help of his two children and looked ahead to the Giro d’Italia, which starts in two weeks.
“I have already tested myself. I am better shape than I was last year going into the Giro and I had a pretty good Giro.”
The Giro, May 8 to 30, starts in Amsterdam with an 8.4-kilometre time trial, perfect for Wiggins to win he stage and take the race leader’s pink jersey.