Bradley Wiggins to Start Season in Mallorca
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AFP / Yuzuru Sunada
Four-time Olympic gold medallist and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins will get his 2014 season up and running as the four-day Challenge Mallorca series gets underway on Sunday. Rather than the usual accumulation of times, the four-stage series on the Spanish island consists of four separate races allowing riders to be rotated across the four days of action.
Wiggins is pencilled in to ride on the final three days in the Campos, Serra de Tramuntana and Alcudia trophies respectively. The British rider is looking for a return to form in 2014 after having to pull out midway through the Giro d’Italia and subsequently miss his defence of the Tour de France due to a chest infection last year, whilst he was also bothered by a knee injury.
“Missing the Tour last year it was the first time in 12 months that I got the chance to reflect and maybe even soak up what happened to me in 2012,” he told the Team Sky website. “At that point I went right back to the drawing board, started doing all the little things again that got me to that point and I’ve had a straight run through. I had a good end to the season, we are racing again next weekend and I’ll hopefully have another good year.”
Sky have become the team to beat in the peloton as Chris Froome followed up Wiggins’ triumph to win the 100th edition of the Tour in 2013. However, team principal Dave Brailsford is guarding against any sense of complacency amongst his riders.
“There’s always a danger (of complacency). The key thing is to remember that as we start now, everyone is back at square one,” he said. “Nobody has an advantage because of what we did last year. No one gets a 10-mile start or anything. We’re all absolutely back to zero and unless you’ve done the work then you’re going to suffer. There’s no hiding place in this sport. If you haven’t done the work then you’re not going to get away with it. You just can’t be complacent. Otherwise you’re going to have a really nasty shock. But I think there’s enough ambition in the team, and young guys coming through, who want to push. That keeps everyone on their toes.”
Colombian rider Sebastian Henao will make his bow in a Sky uniform alongside cousin Sergio Henao, whilst Norwegian sprinter Edvald Boasson Hagen will also ride alongside Wiggins on the final three days. Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde is the other big name taking part in Mallorca. The 2009 Tour of Spain winner is also likely to miss out on the first day, though, as he is racing in the first ever Tour of Dubai until Saturday.
Challenge Mallorca Stages:
Palma Trophy: Sunday, February 9 – 116km ride around Palma
Campos Trophy: Monday, February 10 – 180 km ride from Ses Salines to Santanyi
Serra de Tramuntana Trophy: Tuesday, February 11 – 150km ride from Deia to Monasterio de Lluc Alcudia Trophy: Wednesday, February 12 – 160km ride from Muro to Port d’Alcudia