Sir Bradley Wiggins sat in the middle of a table of favourites in Naples today, two days ahead of the Giro d’Italia. Sky’s captain explained to the press that the numbers are pointing in the direction of another Grand Tour win.
“You can sometimes have mixed feelings, but the evidence is in the training we do, the times we do, the numbers we produce. Years of doing that,” Wiggins said. “Having all that data from the previous years, your body weight as well, that all goes to how good you are and the condition you’re in.”
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Wiggins joined several pre-race favourites along Naples’ bay in Castel dell’Ovo, including defending champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
The riders each took two question and stepped to the back of the room for TV interviews. Such was Wiggins’ draw that fewer journalists were left for a press conference with Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and other “stage hunters.”
“Everyone who was at that table [before] has been up there in Grand Tours; most of them have at least been on the podium. Everyone is dangerous and ready for this race,” Wiggins said to a few TV and written journalists.
“You’d say that on paper and form that [Nibali is] the favourite and the one we’ve all got to beat, but you can never underestimate anyone in cycling. Everyone’s a threat, even the guys who weren’t at that table and have been lucky enough to stay at the hotel.”
One favourite, two-time winner Ivan Basso (Cannondale) will not start in Naples. His team announced his absence this morning due to a serious saddle sore.
“He always performs at the Giro,” Wiggins added. “He would have almost have aided my race because we have a very similar way of riding.”
Wiggins last raced the Giro d’Italia when he won the time trial start in Amsterdam three years ago.
“I remember riding alongside [Marco] Pantani 10 years ago, that was my first Giro and racing with the great Pantani.”
Earlier in the year, Wiggins explained that the Giro is an “inspirational” race.
“It goes back to my childhood, one of the few races on the telly was the Tour de France when I was a teenager, but I grew up reading magazines and the Giro was always stuck in my mind,” Wiggins said.
“I don’t know if just that pink jersey. I particularly remember Andy Hampsten climbing in the snow [in 1988], which seemed quite inspirational.”