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“It’s an important race for us” says Team Sky leader
Bradley Wiggins says that he’s relishing the opportunity to get back to racing when he leads a strong Team Sky line-up into the Tour of Britain on Saturday. Speaking to Cyclingnews in London after a photo shoot to publicise the team’s one-off kit for the Tour of Britain, Wiggins said he would love to do well in his home tour and believes he has the form and the team to make an impact.
Wiggins said he has been working hard at getting back to racing since his “disappointing” Tour de France appearance when he finished 24th overall. “I’ve trained well since the Tour and got myself together,” he said just a day on from retaining his British time trial title.
“I won yesterday, so I’m looking forward to going to the Tour of Britain and racing it and just enjoying it as well. I’m looking forward to getting back to racing and just enjoying riding the bike. I think that’s the overriding thing.”
Wiggins will be joined by Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings, Russell Downing, Greg Henderson and Mathew Hayman in the Sky team for the Tour of Britain. “We’ve got a good team for it and it’s an important race for us, so I think we’ll have a good shot at it. I’d love to do well in it,” said Wiggins.
“It starts with a stage that takes in a lot of my training roads around the Trough of Bowland. It’s quite a tough opener to the race as it’s hard in the middle of the stage, but there’s quite a long run-in to the finish in Blackpool – about 60k flat into the finish. So that stage probably won’t have too much impact on the race, but from what I understand stages 3, 4 and 5 are really difficult.”
Sky’s riders will be racing in a new jersey during the Tour of Britain in line with a new UCI ruling that allows teams to race in an altered kit for one race during the season. The team’s Rainforest Rescue Kit will see the blue colours on kit, bikes, glasses and other accessories replaced with green to support Sky’s backing for a campaign to save one billion trees in the Amazon rainforest.
“Wearing this unique Sky Rainforest Rescue kit during the Tour of Britain is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness for a really important issue and help reach the target of raising £4 million to save one billion trees in the Amazon,” said Wiggins.
Reflecting on his showing at the Tour de France, where he was hoping to improve on the 4th place he took in 2009, Wiggins said: “From my own personal point of view it was a disappointing race. It was tough to be at, tough to be in the limelight when you’re performing like that. That was very difficult because obviously you’ve got to face the press every day. I wasn’t happy being there.”
He did admit, however, that he believes the setback he had at the Tour will benefit him in the long term. He added that he still believes he can challenge for top honours at the sport’s premier event. “I still believe I can finish on the podium,” he stated.