The former Tour de France winner hung up his WorldTour wheels at Paris-Roubaix and has spent the intervening weeks training on the track ahead of his June Hour Record attempt. However the ASO-organised race in the United Kingdom marks another important event in the rider's 2015 calendar.
"This is my first race back after Roubaix and it's just a nice starting point for the team and for my appearance with the team having not been able to come last summer," Wiggins told the media at the race presentation on Thursday evening.
By 'last summer' Wiggins was of course referring to the 2014 Tour de France and Team Sky's choice to leave him at home in order to give Chris Froome the calmest and most focused opportunity to defend his race title. That snub or line-up choice - depending on your point of view – sparked the beginning of the end of Wiggins' time at the team and set in motion the plans for the WIGGINS squad.
"This all came together really quickly and this all happened because I didn't get selected for the Tour last year and I sat at home twiddling my thumbs and I thought 'I'll have my own team next year, sod this. I'll race in the UK and enjoy myself' because I wasn't enjoying it."
The differences between Team Sky and WIGGINS are monumental in terms of budget, scope and sheer strength on the road, and Wiggins seems to be enjoying a new lease of life under a less constrained atmosphere. Organisation and attention to detail are two elements the WorldTour variant are always keen to stress whereas Wiggins' new track-road squad are tad less pressuring. Part of Wiggins' new bike only arrived on the scene as recently as today, for example.
"We're not trying to win the Tour de France. That's clear. Our goals are on the track and this was team started out in order to facilitate that. We don't have a huge budget. We're never going to compete with the Sky's of this world but I never wanted it to go to that level or be a Tour de France team. I've said a few times that I want it to be development team, similar to what Axel Merckx has in America.
"I feel liberated in some ways that I can have a dig and have a go. At Sky there is such a precedent and such a standard that there's always someone able to do something whereas here we've got a bunch of young kids who just want to race so that frees me up in some ways to try something. I attacked in Roubaix but other than that I can't remember the last time I attacked in a race. I'm so used to riding in a defensive role so I'll see what happens in the next few days."
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