After his record-equalling fourth place finish in the Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins is back on the bike and wasting no time in setting new targets. Yesterday, he confirmed that his first race back will be the ENECO Tour of the Benelux (August 18-25).
Wiggins has spent the last few weeks relaxing with his family, listening to music and drinking a few beers; a far cry from the intense pressure and hustle and bustle of the Tour de France circus.
With his break behind him, the Londoner has opted to return to action at the ENECO Tour of Benelux. Undoubtedly the eight-day race, which starts in Rotterdam on Tuesday, is well suited to Wiggins’s attributes.
The overall competition is likely to be decided by the two flat time-trials which start and conclude the race: a 4.4-kilometre prologue – expected to be a dry run for the 2010 Tour de France prologue – and a 13.1-kilometre closing effort around Amersfoort.
After a more-relaxed past three weeks, it is unknown whether Wiggins has the form or condition to mount a challenge.
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However, Garmin-Slipstream directeur sportif Matt White is confident that the Briton will figure: “In general, I think Wiggo will feature in the race – in what mode, time will tell.”
“He will certainly be another surprise at the ENECO Tour. We are going there with Christian Vande Velde and also Svein Tuft, so our GC hopes are not resting solely on the shoulders of our man of mystery.”
ENECO Tour of Benelux route
Prologue, Tuesday 18 August: Rotterdam, 4.4km
Stage 1, Wednesday 19 August: Aalter – Ardooie, 185.4km
Stage 2, Thursday 20 August: Ardooie – Brussel, 178.1km
Stage 3, Friday 21 August, Niel – Hasselt, 158.3km
Stage 4, Saturday 22 August, Hasselt – Libramont, 221.2km
Stage 5, Sunday 23 August, Roermond – Sittard-Geleen, 204.3km
Stage 6, Monday 24 August, Genk – Roermond, 163.3km
Stage 7, Tuesday 25 August, Amersfoort – Amersfoort ITT, 13.1km
ENECO Tour of the Benelux website