The end of 2005 is a quiet time for Bradley Wiggins, but also a time to reorient and focus on a new season the Brit is very much looking forward to. After his stint with Crédit Agricole, Wiggins has changed teams and again opted for a French squad - Cofidis. Cyclingnews'Hedwig Kröner joined the Olympic Gold medallist at the outfit's second training reunion at a golf club near Montpellier, where Wiggins is taking advantage of every hour of sleep he can get; it's not an easy task with a 10-month baby boy keeping him busy at home.
"It's quiet here, so that's good," said Wiggins. "The season is going to be tough." The 25- year-old has two big goals lined up for next season, and feels the racing calendar will be full enough. "I'll start out with the GP d'Ouverture de la Marseillaise, then Etoile de Bessèges, followed by the Volta a Algarve, Het Volk and then Paris-Nice. There will be massive amounts of racing to do, but it's all in the right time for what I want to achieve."
So which races will Wiggins target in 2006? "I have two objectives for this season; the prologue of Paris-Nice, and the prologue of the Tour de France, for which I will prepare like it was the Olympic pursuit!," the Olympic Gold medallist and World champion answered on a determined note, also explaining his lack of drive over this past season. "I'm glad to be with Cofidis now, as I'll be able to concentrate more on my goals with them, and they know they have to let me prepare for them like I want to. This year I had no goals; I just spent all weekends racing on the road and it really depressed me. I've always been someone who's had specific objectives, so that's what I've come back to now."
As much as Wiggins was flying high after winning gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, he experienced some psychological lows during this past year. "As I had always done a lot of track, I found it difficult to recalibrate," he reflected. "I was struggling to be motivated for a long time, because I had built up so long to the Olympics. But now I've got that motivation back, and apart from my goals on the road I want to build up specifically for Beijing again, and then for London in 2012."
Getting to know the Cofidis management and his new team mates at this time of year, the World Champion is confident he will fit in perfectly. "The mentality at Cofidis is very different to Crédit Agricole - they know that I'm the kind of rider that has to prepare for specific goals. They encourage me in what I want to do, so that's perfect," Wiggins concluded.
"We do expect a lot of Wiggins," added directeur sportif Francis Van Londersele. "He is showing a great deal of enthusiasm right now and has a way of working that we find very interesting, so we want to respond to his wishes. Looking at his physical capacities at his relative young age, he's certainly able to really break through soon. It's time for him to find success on the road as well, and we hope he will do that with us."
Look out for a full report from the Cofidis camp in the next couple of days on Cyclingnews.