Brad Wiggins will return to training with the British track squad next month in preparation for the UCI World Cup round next February, with the event to form part of of a more "relaxed" approach to his off-season.
Wiggins was in London on Friday with Sky teammates Geraint Thomas, Russell Downing and Ben Swift to support a publicity event for new team sponsor IG Markets. Wiggins told Cylingnews he hopes a more settled off-season will put him in good stead for the coming season on the road.
"It's a bit less stress this year. This time last year I hadn't been announced in the team so it's been a bit more of a traditional off-season this year where I can really relax, plan for next year and there's nothing else going on outside of that. It's been good," said Wiggins, before taking on members of the public in a one-mile race on stationary bikes.
"I had three weeks off after the Tour of Lombardy and I've just slowly been getting back into training. I finished racing quite late so it's sort of works out a bit better really, I didn't lose too much fitness," he continued.
Wiggins' attendance at the track World Cup round in February is part of a lead-up to the 2012 Olympics, which will take place in his hometown in just over 18 months time. Despite the track coming back into sharper focus for the Olympic gold medallist, his major goals for 2011 remain on the road - albeit with a more relaxed approach.
"We start back with the track squad in December and train through with those guys until February. That's with a long-term view to 2012," he said.
"I'll be following quite a different programme on the road. I won't be doing the Giro, that's for sure. I'll do a few more early season Classics, just a bit more like 2009 really. I'll be racing the races I enjoy racing, have a bit more fun, rather than your traditional Tour [de France] programme."
While the Tour de France will remain a key goal, Wiggins said he will avoid the tunnel-vision that hampered his ability to match his 2009 performance at the race, when he finished fourth overall. He echoed recent comments from Team Sky that have indicated the the squad will aim to reduce the level of expectation upon itself as a whole.
"It's just about getting back to the fun of it. There's so much made of preparing for the Tour - doing training races and all that. I'll just concentrate on trying to win races and think about the Tour later on.
"I'm just excited by it. This year's been a blessing in disguise. It's been a good opportunity to realise what I'm doing this for. With the new team and getting fourth [in the Tour] the year before everything was just so heightened this year. Looking back now you realise just how big the hype was, and the weight of expectation.
"Right now I'm just really concentrating on the bike riding and getting back into it and looking forward to next season."
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