Bradley Wiggins: Ineos Grenadiers victory at Paris-Roubaix was 'typical Dave Brailsford'

Former Tour de France winner spent the day on a motorbike covering the race

Bradley Wiggins
(Image credit: Future/Peter Stuart)

In the corner of the press zone in the middle of the Roubaix velodrome after all the riders had finished was a man in a motorbike jacket, looking like he had just ridden Paris-Roubaix himself.

That man wasn't just a random motorbike pilot or a photographer, nor an itinerant who had wandered into the wrong section, it was Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The former Tour de France winner had spent the day on the back of a motorbike for Eurosport/GCN coverage, and described his experience as "harder than doing it on a bike".

He raced The Hell of the North eight times, finishing ninth in 2014, but his time on the motorbike gave him a different insight into the race.

"It was really tough out there, I mean you can really appreciate how hard it is for the riders from that point of view.

"It's the first time I've seen it from this side of the motorbike, from Paris-Roubaix anyway. I appreciate how hard it is. Fair play to the riders, it was incredible."

His former team, Ineos Grenadiers, played a blinder on Sunday, winning Roubaix for a first time after 13 attempts through Dylan van Baarle.

An Ineos-engineered split in the crosswinds early on left key favourites like Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert and Mads Pederson missing out, while Ineos packed in seven riders.

While the race came back together, it unsettled the bunch and left a mark on the race.

"It was like typical Dave Brailsford, to hell with tradition and do something not from the textbook and break the mould really," Wiggins said. "They did that on the section where nobody would expect that to work. They had everyone there, and they all sacrificed their chances for everyone. Luke Rowe gave his wheel to [Filippo] Ganna, Ganna did his job for [Michał] Kwiatkowski, he did his job for the team.

"They really deserved it today, better than anyone. They rode more like a team than anyone today."

The crosswinds split was incredibly unusual for a race like Roubaix, which normally only blows apart once it reaches the first sector of cobbles.

"There has been a shift in traditions, especially this race," Wiggins said. Normally the first 100k the break goes, and everyone waits until the first sectors, but Ineos threw the textbook out the window."

The team have been in supreme form throughout this Classics period, and have won the last three one-day races they have taken part in, from the Amstel Gold Race last Sunday to Roubaix this week.

Wiggins explained that the huge change in form came after the team had gone through a bit of "a lull in the last few years, a bit of disappointment". 

"They've also had to learn a different way of racing, and it has taken them a few years to do that," he said.

"The guys that are doing well here in these classics, are all the guys that are supporting the big guys in the grand tours. In the past they had a classics squad, like with [Ian] Stannard, that would stop after here and have a break and then do the Vuelta [a España], but they seem to have one team that can cover all aspects of cycling at the moment, which I guess is what the sport is about."

The team's future is bright, too, with young riders like Ben Turner, who impressed on Sunday, and Brabantse Pijl winner Magnus Sheffield. Don't forget Tom Pidcock, either.

"Turner today was incredible, to see him up there," Wiggins said. "Just getting dropped before Carrefour de l'Arbe, and after having a big fall too. And to see him up there in the Tour of Flanders too two weeks ago, it really bodes well for the future."

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