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Wiggins hits the road at the Challenge Mallorca as Track Worlds and Olympics loom

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Bradley Wiggins

Bradley Wiggins
(Image credit: Halfords)
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Bradley Wiggins waits for the start of the men's team pursuit

Bradley Wiggins waits for the start of the men's team pursuit
(Image credit: Guy Swarbrick)
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Brad Wiggins (WIGGINS)

Brad Wiggins (WIGGINS)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Mark Cavendish slingshots Bradley Wiggins into the race

Mark Cavendish slingshots Bradley Wiggins into the race
(Image credit: Swpix)
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Coach Heiko Salzwedel keeps an eye on Bradley Wiggins during his new UCI Hour Record

Coach Heiko Salzwedel keeps an eye on Bradley Wiggins during his new UCI Hour Record
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World Champion Bradley Wiggins was third on Tuesday in Qatar.

World Champion Bradley Wiggins was third on Tuesday in Qatar.
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Bradley Wiggins steps up his preparation for the UCI Track World Championships and Olympic Games today, riding his first road race since last year’s Tour of Britain.

Wiggins lines up for the first race of the Challenge Mallorca – a series of four one-day races on the Spanish island, leading a Great Britain team.

Wiggins is no stranger to Mallorca, often training there throughout the winter and early season. He has raced the race series there on a number of occasions during his long career.

From Spain he will head to the Dubai Tour before returning to the United Kingdom, where he will fine tune his form ahead of the UCI Track World Championships in early March. As well as competing in the team pursuit, Wiggins is set to race the Madison with Mark Cavendish, although the Great Britain team have not confirmed their full line up.

“Mallorca is the first race since the Tour of Britain for Bradley. It’s a good starter for him, his season and it’s the next step for him in developing a good base in preparation for the World Championships,” his track coach, Heiko Salzwedel told Cyclingnews.

“The form in terms of preparation for the Worlds is moving along in the right direction. His focus has shifted towards improving his power level and increasing some muscle mass and that’s going well.”

The Challenge Mallorca is often seen as a gentle warm-up race for riders, and allows for athletes to skip days if they wish to rest or concentrate on specific training on the island. Expectations on Wiggins are low and Salzwedel - who coached Wiggins to UCI Hour Record success in 2015 – has not put any pressure on his star to perform in Spain.

A good block of road racing

“As this is his first race since the Tour of Britain expectations are not too high. We want to use the Challenge Mallorca as a way of building up to the Worlds and we fly straight from here to the Dubai Tour on Sunday, where he will race with the WIGGINS team. This is all about giving him a good block of road racing, which is just what he needs in preparation for the Worlds.”

“He’ll do the first three days for sure and then for the last day we might take it back a bit. We’ll see. It depends on how he gets through the first few days and we’ll consider that we fly straight from here to Dubai after Sunday’s stage. It means that there’s not much recovery in between.”

Mallorca and Dubai represent Wiggins’ only road race action prior to the Track Worlds, which take place in London. Over the last few weeks the former Tour de France winner has based himself in Manchester and worked with Salzwedel and the rest of the team pursuit squad.

Along with the Track World Championships, Wiggins is aiming to win a final Olympic Gold medal in Rio in the summer.

“The training in Manchester has been where it needs to be. He’s on track and we’re proud to be working with him. He’s an amazing person to work with and he goes that extra mile. He’s shifted his focus to the Games and the team pursuit and he’s 120 per cent committed to that,” Salzwedel said.

Along with team pursuit duties in London, Wiggins is expected to race the Madison with Mark Cavendish.

“We’re still waiting for confirmation from both but certainly I’m very keen to see the two together and racing in front of their home crowd. I think that the British public would be very happy about it. However the final selection has not been made and we’ve made the team yet. If we get the commitment from Bradley and Mark then we would be more than excited to see them race together.”