The last time Beaumaris saw a siege to compare with the throng of bodies around the WIGGINS team bus this morning may well have been when Parliamentary forces blockaded the Royalists in the town’s castle during the Civil War in the mid-17th century. The crowd was several deep and they were all there to see Bradley Wiggins start what may perhaps be his final major road race on British soil.
Looking and sounding relaxed, Wiggins said he was feeling good about returning his focus to the road, if only for the eight days at the Tour of Britain. “I’m trying to remember the last time I rode on the road… It was RideLondon, and before that Yorkshire and before that Paris-Roubaix. But my goals are clearly on the track now,” he told Cyclingnews.
“We did a big track block during July and August terminating with the event at Derby. Since then I’ve been on the road training for the last two weeks to get ready for this.”
Wiggins admitted he is still coming to terms with racing on the road without having any GC goals. But he insisted he’s not come to the race simply to sit in the pack.
“GC-wise I’ve not got the same focus and I’m still adapting mentally to the fact that I come to these races without focusing on winning them anymore. I’ll maybe just do a job for the team for the first few days and then in the second half of the race my goal is try to win a stage. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen, but I’ll certainly be trying to get into breaks in the second half of the race,” said the 2013 Tour of Britain champion.
Wiggins picked out Owain Doull as his team’s main hope for GC success this week. “Owain’s had a good year. Although he’s track-based now, he’s going to try to turn professional in the next two years, so he’s very up for doing something this week. He’s our big gun for the GC,” he said.
However, he added that both he and Doull have other track targets in the forefront of their minds. “The real goal is actually afterwards with the National Track Champs and the Europeans, and racing this is for that,” he said, before going on to reveal that his switch back to the track has given him a new lease of cycling life.
“The transition to the track has been good. All those questions about whether you can do it have been answered and it’s been enjoyable. The beauty for me of the track and changing disciplines is that it freshens things up every couple of years. You never get bored.
“I suppose the beauty of being able to do everything is that you can choose and do everything, whether it’s Grand Tours or Paris-Roubaix and the Classics. It keeps you motivated. The training is very, very different, so it’s like starting over for me. It does give fresh motivation. There’s only so many years of riding Grand Tours I can take. I need a new challenge to get me out of bed in the morning and keep it enjoyable.”