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Bradley Wiggins sits towards the back of the Sky train
Good training, good weather, good racing appreciated by Sky rider
While most of the riders at the Tour of Qatar prepared for an early Saturday morning flight to Muscat for the Tour of Oman, Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins was getting ready to head home to Britain.
Wiggins will again target the Tour de France this season after finishing fourth in 2009, but opted to ride in Qatar to get in some early season racing and avoid the cold conditions in Europe.
With Team Sky winning the opening team time trial and Wiggins working on his form and suntan in Qatar, he left the race satisfied and happy.
"I was originally down to ride the Etoile de Besseges and looking at the weather they had and what it is like now, I made the right decision," he said to Cyclingnews.
"I never get the best out of me in cold conditions but Qatar has been brilliant, especially with winning the opening team time trial. It's been a good six days and set me up nicely for the next part of the season."
"The finale of the Thursday's stage, when we worked hard and chased the break down was what I came here for: a good workout when we drilled it for the last 10km. You just can't do that at home in training or when it's cold."
Following a few days at home in Northern England, Wiggins will head to his base in Girona at the start of next week, before traveling to the south of Spain for the opening stage of his next race: the Ruta del Sol on Sunday February 21.
"There's a nice 10km time trial in the Ruta, and I'll have a punt at that," Wiggins said.
"I won't go for the GC because we've other guys like Simon Gerrans for that. For me it's about riding well for the team and then the time trial. I won't be taking anything for granted at this stage of the year. I don't want to be too relaxed about my racing even though the Tour de France is the big goal. We've got a plan to really build gradually and I feel I'm already coming into some really good shape."
"My first go for overall will probably be at the Vuelta Murcia (March 3-7). Then by the time I get to the Volta a Catalunya, I should be going really good. After that I'll shut it down and take a mini-break and start building up to the Giro."
"It's about building gradually. A lot of it is about gaining confidence as you ride and showing the others guys in the team you can be strong."
At the moment, Wiggins seems to have made a good first step on the way to the Tour de France.