Bradley Wiggins march to the Tour de France took another step in the right direction with a convincing display on stage two of Paris-Nice. The Sky leader escaped in the main break of the day and along with teammate Geraint Thomas helped to shake the likes of Tony Martin and Ivan Basso from GC contention.
Wiggins was also able to grab two seconds at an intermediate sprint before Tom Boonen capped the stage with a trademark sprint. After two stages Wiggins leads Levi Leipheimer by six seconds, and states that he has never been in better form.
"I’m in the shape of my life at the moment and that’s thanks to the coaching team behind me who have pushed me hard all winter. They’ve never let up and the goal is the Tour in July which is what we are working towards. But this is a big early-season target, it's a big race in its own right and we're here to win it,” he said on the team’s website.
In 2010 Wiggins targeted the Tour de France and admitted that he’d focused too much of his attention on July, ignoring many of the other possibilities of glory throughout the season. In 2011 and now in 2012 he’s still geared towards the Tour but has targeted a number of other events in the calendar.
Tuesday’s stage to Orléans was expected to come down to a bunch sprint but conditions and aggressive racing saw one of the most exciting days of racing so far this season take place.
"It’s probably going to be much the same tomorrow – it will be a bit of a free-for-all but it does help having the jersey and we can hopefully control the race a bit more. We’re in a good position to do that and looking forward to the rest of the race.
"This obviously gives a lot of confidence now to the rest of the team,” added team director sportif, Sean Yates.
“It gives added purpose and direction to every individual. Obviously the goal was to help Bradley win and now he’s leading so the job is even more obvious."