Wiggins to miss Volta a Catalunya

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) will not ride the Volta a Catalunya next week, the team have announced. Instead the British rider will now complete a two-week climbing focused training block.

“We’ve now changed the programme in order to ensure that I keep moving forward,” he told the teamsky.com website.

“Having spoken to the coaches we’ve decided that I’d benefit a lot more from a couple of weeks of hard training to work on my climbing before coming back for Paris-Roubaix - all with a view to being in good form for the Tour of California, the Dauphine and making the Tour team.”

Wiggins has had a solid start to 2014 and has already ridden the Mallorca Challenge, the Vuelta a Andalucía and Tirreno-Adriatico. The Sky rider spent the week working for teammate Richie Porte at Tirreno, until he dropped out midway through, and took third place in the final time trial.

Despite some errors, the Olympic time trial champion was happy with how things went at the Italian race. “Obviously I wanted to get up there on the timesheet and I was pleased I could do that,” he said “I’m still getting used to quite a few changes we’ve made on the bike.

“I’ve moved to electronic gearing and I flicked it accidentally on the start line and it changed to the little ring as I rolled down the start ramp. There were just a couple of little things like that which went wrong. I maybe lost a few seconds there and perhaps lost second place but I think the win was a bit beyond me.”

Catalunya was to be the first time Wiggins raced alongside Chris Froome, who will be the team’s leader at the race, in the 2014 season. The pair was also meant to race together at Tirreno-Adriatico until Froome pulled out with a back injury.

Wiggins has had a busier start to the year compared to recent years. “This block was probably something I was going to end up missing out on this year just due to the congestion in the race schedule, but this is now an opportunity for me to get some good training under my belt and concentrate on improving in every area,” said Wiggins.

Team Sky’s Head of Athlete Performance, Tim Kerrison said that the decision to miss the race is so that they can manage Wiggins’ efforts ahead of his big goals. “Whilst Catalunya would have given Bradley a guaranteed workload, by taking him out of a racing environment and into a training environment we can have much more control over that workload – making sure the training he does in that block is as specific to his needs as possible.”

If Wiggins sticks to his guns then this will be his last season on the road for Sky before he returns to the track. The 2012 Tour de France champion has big ambitions for the year, first of which is Paris-Roubaix. Wiggins has ridden the Hell of the North on six occasions and most recently in 2011. His best result was 25th in 2009, where he finished 6:32 behind winner Tom Boonen.

Wiggins will return to racing action at Scheldeprijs on 9 April.

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