Bradley Wiggins’ strong ride in Friday’s 27km time trial and Saturday’s tough hilly stage in rain means the British rider is set to finish on the podium in Paris-Nice and confirm he is still Team Sky’s team leader for major stage races.
Wiggins finished eighth, just a few seconds behind Rémy Di Gregorio (Astana) in Sophia Antipolis, and is now 41 seconds behind race leader Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) and just five seconds down on Andreas Klöden (RadioShack).
“I wanted to go well early this season. It was always the plan that I’d be ready for Paris-Nice after riding the Tour of Qatar and the track in Manchester.”
“Yesterday was just a good time trial for me. I’ve always been a good time trialist. The course was good for me as well but Tony (Martin) is phenomenal at the moment. I probably haven’t got the legs to drop him in the climb, so I’m happy with my third place. I now don’t want to do something stupid and lose my position.”
Wiggins said he feels “a huge improvement from last year” when he finished a disappointed 24th at the Tour de France.
His next races are Milan-San Remo, Criterium International and Paris-Roubaix. The two-day, three-stage race in Corsica at the end of March will be a big goal because it includes a key time trial stage. After riding on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix, he then begin to focus on his build up for the 2011 Tour de France,
“After Paris-Roubaix, I’ll give all for the Tour de France”, he explained. “I won’t race much. I’ll do the Dauphiné after the Bayern Rundfahrt and lots of altitude training.”