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Bradley Wiggins has confirmed that he is ready to attempt the extremely rare and difficult feat of winning the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in the same season.
The 2012 Tour de France winner has set the Giro d'Italia as his first big goal of 2013 and has promised to ride in support of teammate Chris Froome at the Tour de France. However after talking to Team Sky's Head of Performance Support Tim Kerrison, Wiggins believes he can also be competitive in France in July, making the double a distinct possibility.
Only seven cyclists have won the Tour and the Giro in the same year: Fausto Coppi (1949, 1952), Jacques Anquetil (1964), Eddy Merckx (1970, 1972, 1974), Bernard Hinault (1982, 1985), Stephen Roche (1987), Miguel Indurain (1992, 1993) and Marco Pantani (1998).
Wiggins told Cyclingnews that the double is still possible in modern-day cycling.
"It's an incredibly tough thing to do but Tim (Kerrison) assures me it can be done. I'd love the challenge of trying to do that. I love the Giro. It's a race I've always warmed too," Wiggins said.
"I remember watching it as a kid when [Miguel] Indurain was winning it. I'd love to say I've won the Tour and the Giro. That's the challenge, that's the goal."
"I think there's five weeks in between. There's an element of the unknown but we managed it at the Olympics."
"It's a shame that (Giro d'Italia winner) Ryder (Hesjedal) crashed out at the Tour because they said he was in even better shape than he was at the Giro. If it's ever possible to do it in this day and age, with the way cycling is, then it's more possible than ever."
Wiggins attacked Lance Armstrong after his confession but now seems more at ease with his own life under the media spotlight.
His November training accident acted as a wake up call and he has been training hard in Mallorca since mid-November, focusing on riding his bike, rather than other distractions.
"I've been out here (Mallorca) on and off since mid-November, going up all the same climbs and same roads we've trained on for so many years and then got to win the Tour de France. It’s been nice. That hunger, that desire, that fire's comeback," he said.
"I was initially quite worried after the Olympics, whether that would all be there ever again having achieved what I achieved last year. But it's back in abundance. I've got a new set of goals: the Giro obviously. It's exciting times."
"I've had six months now, to take it all in and comes to terms with it all. I've certainly started to enjoy it more now, with having won the (BBC) Sports Personality of the Year. It's nice. It's what I always dreamed of as a child: winning those races and winning the Olympics in London. It's been good."