Bradley Wiggins threw his arms in the air after his ride today in Grenoble at the Critérium du Dauphiné. He didn't win the prologue, but the fans around the bus cheered him just the same as he ended his warm-down. He acknowledged their excitement and gave a victory salute.
"I was just pleased," Wiggins told Cycling Weekly of the moment. "I stayed safe and where I want to be at the moment. I'm just trying to enjoy it, really."
Wiggins started his first stage race with the number one of defending champion on his back. He fell short by just one second to Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) in the 5.7km prologue time trial. He sits second and in good position ahead of what will be a demanding week.
He is not the favourite just because he's the defending champion. The experts look to Wiggins due to his wins this year in Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie. Also, they know this ride means a lot ahead of the Tour de France in four week's time. He responded well.
The wind and damp corners might have slowed him down, but it's not guaranteed. Many of the favourites, including Durbridge and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), decided to race earlier in the day. The wind did pick up as the other riders started and, for a while, it rained.
"It's always the same in prologues. In three hours, there are always different conditions," Wiggins continued. "The wind changed massively today for the last guys... You can't say, I'd have done this if I'd started earlier or later. That's just the pick of prologues, you sometimes get the advantage, sometimes don't. I'm just pleased it stayed dry, it's never nice riding a prologue in the rain."
Besides the victory salute, which he said had nothing to do with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Wiggins seemed relaxed. The Tour de France is approaching and he couldn't appear more ready.
"It's nice when the goal's coming up. We've done all the work now, and it's been a long process. There's not much training to do, the training's the unpleasant bit, so... It's nice that that's all done and we can race and enjoy it."
Criterium du Dauphine 2012: Related links
Wiggins second behind Durbridge in Dauphine prologue
Criterium du Dauphine 2012: The Big Preview
Criterium du Dauphine 2012: coverage index