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'Sir Chris' backs fellow Brit for Tour glory
Sir Chris Hoy has thrown his support behind Bradley Wiggins in the lead up to the Tour de France, saying that his former Great Britain track stablemate is capable of winning the race.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Hoy praised the work of Team Sky thus far in its debut year, which of course lead to talk of its star rider, Wiggins, who was signed in the off season from Gramin-Transitions where he took fourth overall in the 2009 Tour.
"I think they're going to go very well [at the Tour]. They've had a great season so far for a brand new team... you're bringing guys who have never raced together before into the same team and it takes a while to gel and work together as a unit," said Hoy.
"Some of the results they've had so far have been fantastic. Bradley had a great Tour last year - he almost made the podium and equalled the best result for a British rider in the Tour, so there's a lot of pressure on him this year. I'm sure he's more than capable of handling that."
Of course multiple world champion Hoy is no stranger to pressure and expectations of the British cycling public, winning the 1km time trial at the Athens Olympics before taking an incredible three golds at the Beijing Games. That aggregate gold medal tally is one more than Wiggins, who won the individual pursuit in Athens before taking the individual and team pursuit titles in Beijing.
"I think the target for him in the next two or three years is to win the Tour de France," continued Hoy. "Whether he does it this year, I don't know. I think he's capable and he continues to amaze me. He's shown with the talent he has had since he was a junior - he was junior world champion - through to the senior team where he has won Olympic medals."
Hoy saw his 'pet' event, the kilo, axed from the Olympic program after the Athens Games. He then focused on the team sprint and keirin, while the road was never an option for the big Scotsman. Conversely, following his 2004 success, Wiggins looked to the road for his future but it wasn't until last year's Tour that he really showed the world the possibilities of his road career.
"To make the transition onto the road, which is quite a different prospect to riding a 4,000m pursuit, then to come out and be challenging guys like Armstrong who are true legends of the sport and beating them on certain stages on some of the biggest mountain passes in Europe is just amazing," said Hoy.
"I've got complete belief in him and I know he has the ability - it's down to a few good days in a row and it's not just about one day, it's about pinning together a few good time trials and mountain stages together for that general classification. I firmly believe he can do it," Hoy said of Wiggins' chances at the Tour, which starts on July 3 in Rotterdam.