Bradley Wiggins headed home from the Dubai Tour with little to show results wise but over 500km of road racing in his legs from the four days in the desert. Wiggins is focused on his final track preparation as the days count down to the world track championships in London in early March after a winter of putting on muscle to boost his power and strength and specific training for the intense 4000m effort required for the team pursuit event.
The 2012 Tour de France winner happily let go of his road racing ambitions after targeting Paris-Roubaix as his swan song with Team Sky last April. Last week he rode the Challenge Mallorca series with a Great Britain team and has now complete the Dubai Tour. This week he confirmed that the Tour of California in May and the Tour of Britain in September will be the last road races of his professional career, with even his track career to end after the Rio Olympics in August and a final farewell perhaps at the Gent Six in December.
Wiggins spent much of the Dubai Tour safely at the back of the peloton with many of his young teammates. He only moved up to the front to put in several big turns in the lead outs for his WIGGINS teammates, before slipping back to avoid any crashes in the sprint. He sat up and lost five minutes on the uphill finish to Hatta Dam and went to finish 108th overall, 9:19 down on winner Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep).
“There wasn’t really much I could, except try to get on the front late on and help set up the boys for the finish. The day when I could something in on the finish to Hatta Dam are over for me, but it’s been enjoyable,” he told Cyclingnews in an exclusive final interview.
“We’re back on the track on Friday after a solid block of two four-day races, so I guess it’s served its purpose. It’s three and half weeks to the world track championships now, so we start our taper to be at our best for that.”
The recovery taper will enable the riders to be fresh for the track world championships and allow them to polish and fine tune their form for the team pursuit.
Mark Cavendish will ride the Tour of Qatar next week but is then expected to join up with Wiggins and the rest of the Great Britain team in Manchester for the final work before heading south to the London Olympic velodrome, which hosts this year’s track championships.
“We do two days on the track and two days off, doing standing start one kilometre rides, standing start two kilometres and other stuff to make sure we’re ready for the speed,” he explained.
“I think we’re pretty much on schedule. I think we will be right on the day; the group has been working well. We’ll be good.”