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Wiggins: ‘No skeletons in the closet’ — Talk Sport
A year after his 2012 Tour de France victory, Bradley Wiggins (Sky) admits he was not proud of his win that brought the yellow jersey to Great Britain for the first time in history.
“A year ago, I didn’t feel pride to be the winner of the Tour de France,” Wiggins said in an interview with Talk Sport. “With everything going on with the whole Lance thing breaking, it just felt like there was a lot of anger among a lot of people. And everyone turned to me as the current winner and said: ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
Wiggins, however, said he is now over that sentiment. Less than two weeks after winning the Tour, he won the time trial at the London Olympics.
Watching teammate Chris Froome win the 2013 Tour while he was at home with a knee injury, Wiggins said, helped him understand what he was able to accomplish.
“It helped me embrace being a winner of the Tour de France a bit more,” said Wiggins, who has reflected on his career the past 12 months. “I have more pride now, and I’m happy to talk about it. Before, it was: ‘Oh yeah, I suppose I’ve won it, ain’t I? Puts me in the same category as Lance.’ That’s how I felt.”
Wiggins was also critical of those who questioned his statement that he rode — and is still riding — clean.
“I’d just like to challenge the people asking those questions a little more,” he said. “Maybe in a more articulate way than two years ago, when I called them all wankers. I just feel more ready for it now — and more of a responsibility to not shy away from those questions.
“I am proud to be a winner of the Tour de France, with no history and no skeletons in the closet. So I’ll challenge people: the real hypocrites of the sport who are asking those questions. Even [journalist and former pro] Paul Kimmage, to an extent. Someone summed it up for me: ‘Paul Kimmage: he took drugs, and he was still shit.’ And he has the cheek to challenge us on a daily basis. So it’s a funny old thing.”
The post In the News: Wiggins is proud of 2012 Tour win and ready to challenge critics appeared first on VeloNews.com.
- It looks like Mother Nature is going to release her grip on Sunday, and throw down a wonderful day for a ride. I want to come out and take part in, what looks to be a party on wheels, the Peat Sake ride on Sunday. What type of bike to bring to the shindig,Cross,Road or mountain?
All the very best in everything you do !!
"The Bold don't live forever,but the timid don't live at all."
KUALA TERENGGANU, Malaysia (VN) — By now, cycling fans should have noticed Michael Kolar. The Slovak of team Tinkoff-Saxo, besides being Peter Sagan’s high school classmate, has collected several placings.
“I started mountain biking in Canada, I continued in Slovakia and I rode for the same junior team as Peter,” Kolar said. “He’s two years older than me but I always rode with him and his brother Juraj.”
The two mountain biked together, and they raced on the road both near and far from their hometown in Zilina. Kolar began in Toronto, Canada. He moved there with his parents at the age of 1, started mountain biking with his stepfather, and returned to Slovakia at 12. His brother and sister remained in Toronto.
Sagan ruled most races. “He was always a superbly, over the top guy,” Kolar said. He won the mountain bike world title in 2008. Kolar — as he’s done so far in the Santos Tour Down Under, Tour of Qatar, and Tour de Langkawi this year — sprinted. In his final year as an amateur last year, he won two one-day races and stages in tours, including the Tour of Serbia.
Sagan, two years Kolar’s senior, and his agent Giovanni Lombardi spoke about Kolar. Lombardi looked for teams for the 21-year-old and found a few. However, with the European economic crisis, they fell through. Tinkoff manager Bjarne Riis, however, remained interested and signed Kolar for two seasons.
Kolar, sitting in the team car in his yellow and blue jersey, said, “It was probably the worst year for me to turn pro.”
Riis should be happy with his new cyclist. Though Kolar has yet to hit the jackpot, he has placed and taken important UCI points. In the final stage of the Tour Down Under, he finished ninth. Here at Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi, Kolar has registered seven top-10 finishes through nine stages before Saturday’s finale.
“He’s doing well and he’s  years old,” Tinkoff sport director Tristan Hoffman said. “He has power in the sprints and he has the fitness and the mental strength. He will only improve.”
Hoffman added that Kolar could lose a few more kilograms and become used to the speeds that the professional peloton travels. He will have his chance because his schedule takes him to Ghent-Wevelgem, Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders), the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe, Scheldeprijs, and possibility Paris-Roubaix.
He could bag his first win in Sarthe, Norway, Luxembourg or some of the other stage races that he will face. Or maybe even against Sagan at the national championships in June.
“I want to do good in sprints, which is what I’m doing right now. I hope to keep up my good form,” Kolar said.
“What I learned in the amateur races is that I need good positioning and timing to pull off a win. It’s the same in the professionals but you are going a lot faster!”
Paris-Nice starts Sunday and offers an interesting twist on how to win a major stage race.
The eight-day course from the outskirts of Paris to Nice on France’s Cote d’Azur sets the stage for tactical, almost surgical racing. Why? There are no time trials or mountaintop finishes in the 72nd edition of the “Race to the Sun.”
That means that the smartest, or perhaps luckiest, rider will win, and the strongest will almost certainly not. That doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting.
In fact, the race could be terribly exciting, setting up what organizers hope will be a week full of attacks and aggression, something that’s sometimes lost in weeklong stage races when everyone knows the winner will be crowned in a time trial or one decisive climb.
Although there are no mountaintop finales, that doesn’t mean the race will be easy. With all eight days lined up as road stages, the distance is its longest in nearly 40 years, at 1,447 kilometers. The course offers a mix of terrain as it rolls south toward the warmer Mediterranean climes, with a few days suited for mass sprints, and the remainder tailored to riders who are not afraid to attack.
There is plenty of climbing along the way as well; the finish lines will merely be on the downhill sides of the mountains.
The opening three stages are ideal for the peloton’s sprinters, with the likes of Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) looking to grab wins early.
“This year’s route doesn’t present a time trial, so it will probably be a more open race,” Omega Pharma sport director Wilfried Peeters said Thursday in a press release. “There will be at the beginning a few stages suited for sprinters and riders who can defend themselves on the small climbs. We can count on Tom Boonen and Gianni Meersman for these kinds of races.”
Things will start to get interesting in the 201km fourth stage to Belleville, with four climbs packed into the final 80km, including 25-percent ramps on the Cat. 2 Mount Brouilly some 14km from the finish line.
That’s typical of what Paris-Nice will look like from there all the way to the Promenade des Anglais in Nice: a lot of undulating terrain for raiders to go on the march.
Stage 5 to Rive-de-Gier features another steep Cat. 2 climb 12.5km from the finish. The 221km, five-climb “queen stage” to Fayence sees a first-category climb with 20km to go before a short, punchy hilltop run to the line.
The penultimate stage explores the rugged terrain in the “pre-Alps,” in the hill country in the interior, with five climbs sprinkled across the middle part of the stage, providing chances for long-distance attackers.
Assuming no one rides away in a breakaway to take major time gaps, the GC should still be fairly knotted up going into the final stage starting and finishing in Nice.
The five-climb, 128km finale hits Col d’Eze — often home to a final-stage time trial — with 14km to go, and from there, it’s downhill almost all the way home. The race could be decided on the beachfront finish line in Nice, which is just what race organizers are hoping for.
Nibali, Hushovd among the wide-ranging Paris-Nice contenders
So who could win this thing? A strong descender, such as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) or Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing), will have an edge. So, too, will riders with strong finishing punches out of small groups, like world champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge).
Traditional GC riders, who excel in time trialing and defending on the climbs, such as returning champ Richie Porte (Sky) and last year’s third-place man, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), could be on the back foot.
“My fitness feels good — even better than last year — having raced in Oman [Tour of Oman in February],” van Garderen said in a press release. “They picked a nice route, but I am disappointed there is no time trial or uphill finish, which could make sprinting for bonus seconds valuable. My goal remains to fight for the general classification. Winning will be difficult, but we will try to get as high a finish as possible. We are sending a strong, motivated team, which could provide lots of options.”
More important than the traditional GC skill set will be the ability to attack for time bonuses. Although Tour de France owner ASO removed time bonuses from its marquee event, they will prove decisive in Paris-Nice. There are bonuses of 3, 2, and 1 seconds at intermediate sprints, and 10, 6, and 4 seconds for the first three across the line at the finish each day.
Back in January, Gerrans won the Santos Tour Down Under against Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) by one second thanks to time bonuses. It’s highly likely Paris-Nice will be decided with a fight for time bonuses as well.
The race is considered by many to be the season’s first “real” stage race, but it’s been somewhat overshadowed lately as rival Tirreno-Adriatico across the border in Italy has been drawing a better GC field.
That’s not to say Paris-Nice doesn’t have a quality field. Nibali chose Paris-Nice over defending his two consecutive Tirreno titles because he wanted more time racing in France as he preps for a run at the Tour de France in July.
The French race has also served as a jumping off point for young riders hoping to establish themselves high up in the sport’s pecking order. Andrew Talansky (Garmin) rode onto the podium after a stage win in 2013. Cannondale’s Damiano Caruso hopes to do the same this year.
“Taking a win in this race could make a big difference for the rest of the season,” Caruso said in a press release. “This is my first chance to really have a bold performance. Many cycling stars will be at the start, and we are all vying for the same stage wins. I have one goal for the Paris-Nice: return to Italy with positive results and success. I am really motivated to do it.”
In addition to riders already mentioned, other top names include the Andy and Fränk Schleck (Trek Factory Racing), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), and crowd favorite Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).
In addition to the 18 guaranteed spots to the UCI ProTeams, three wildcards fill out the field, with Bretagne-Séché Environnement, Cofidis, and IAM Cycling.
Audacity is the word race organizers are using in their promotional material. It will be interesting to see how ASO’s experiment turns out.
72nd Paris-Nice (March 9-16)
Stage 1: Mantes-la-Jolie — Mantes-la-Jolie (162.5km)
Stage 2: Rambouillet — Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche (205km)
Stage 3: Toucy — Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours (180km)
Stage 4: Nevers — Belleville (201.5km)
Stage 5: Creches-sur-Saone — Rive-de-Gier (152.5km)
Stage 6: Saint-Saturnin-les-Avignon — Fayence (221.5km)
Stage 7: Mougins — Biot Sophia Antipolis (221.5km)
Stage 8: Nice — Nice (128km)
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