Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) took a leaf from Judith Arndt’s playbook at the UCI World Championships on Wednesday when he decided to forgo a radio earpiece during the men’s time trial. His choice paid rich dividends; while the Englishman was powerless to disrupt Tony Martin’s march to the rainbow jersey, he did enough to finish ahead of Fabian Cancellara and claim the second step on the podium.
"I find it a little bit distracting really," Wiggins said of his decision not to use radio. "It shouldn’t really change how I ride for one hour regardless of whether someone else was up or down. I had a plan and I stuck to it."
A number of in-race incidents during the season had dented Wiggins’ confidence in relayed information, and his resolve was stiffened after watching Judith Arndt’s assured winning ride in the women’s time trial the previous day.
"You’ve got to have confidence in the people giving you the information, and a few times this year, I’ve had people following me and lying to me and you lose confidence in people, so I’d rather just go in my own world really," he said. "I noticed yesterday on the telly that Judith Arndt had done the same thing, so I thought I’d go with that one."
That is not to say, of course, that the meticulous Wiggins rode the time trial on sensations alone. Processing the lessons of the Vuelta a España time trial in Salamanca, where he faded in the second half, he chose to gauge his effort with a power meter.
"A couple of the time trials I’ve done recently I’ve gone out way too hard and paid the price in the second half so I decided today that we’d just pick a power. We’d try an average power for the first lap and then just raise it in the second half."
A multiple world and Olympic medallist on the track, it was the first time Wiggins had enjoyed such success in British colours on the road. "I didn’t really expect anything to be honest," he said. "I just knew I was in great form from the Vuelta and just getting better all the time since my crash in July. So I just went out and did my ride."
Riding the Vuelta and the Worlds in such close proximity also allowed Wiggins to perform a dry run of sorts for the summer of 2012, when he attempts to follow a podium challenge at the Tour de France with Olympic gold at home in London.
"It’s certainly good news that I can ride a Tour of Spain competing day in, day out and then back it up eight or nine days later with a ride like that for an hour in a world championships," he said, although he admitted that he was still undecided as to what events he would tackle in London, with the team pursuit and the time trial vying for his attentions.
"I’ve got too many options, that’s the trouble," he mused. "When you’ve got too many options you never know what to do. There’s so many people trying to sway you different ways it’s always difficult. I’ll just try and enjoy this for now really and then worry about that in the winter when I have to make the decisions."
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