Wiggins takes tour inspiration from Evans
Main rival Bradley Wiggins has taken inspiration from Cadel Evans as prepares to battle the Australian for the Tour de France yellow jersey.
It was while Wiggins was recuperating from a broken collarbone which ended his 2011 Tour hopes that he watched in awe as Evans broke through to win cycling’s most prestigious race.
“The manner he won the Tour, it was incredible,” said Wiggins. “I found it inspirational watching it at home.
“He gave hope to a lot of people out there, the way he won it and the manner in which he won it, and it certainly inspired me to try to do it myself.”
On June 30 in Liege, Wiggins will begin his bid to become the first British winner of the Tour – fulfilling Team Sky’s stated aim – after enjoying a great series of results this season.
The 32-year-old, three-times an Olympic champion on the track, has won the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races in a sequence never before achieved.
“It’s a good position to be in now, going into the Tour de France as the favourite,” Wiggins said.
“No one would’ve given me that tag a few years ago so it’s just a mark of how much I’ve moved on as an athlete. My performances speak volumes and I’m trying to embrace that because it may never ever happen again.
“I realise what it would mean to win the Tour de France, which is why I’ve made the sacrifices I’ve made, why I’ve put the amount of work in that I have for the last year and a half.”
While comfortable with the favourite tag, Wiggins believes Evans, twice a Tour runner-up before triumphing last summer, is the man to beat.
Unlike Evans’ BMC Racing team, which will focus solely on his title defence, Team Sky must find a way to incorporate the dual goals of Wiggins and sprint ace Mark Cavendish, who has won 20 stages in four Tours and, last year, claimed the points classification’s green jersey.
Wiggins anticipates Cavendish will prioritise the Olympic road race, which takes place six days after the Tour’s conclusion, on July 28 in London.
“I know he’s focused on the Olympic road race; I know he’s put a lot of time and effort into that,” Wiggins said.
“We’ll certainly be chasing the GC (general classification) in the Tour and trying to win the Tour de France.”© AAP 2013