Bradley Wiggins hopes to erase the bad memories of his disappointing Tour de France with a strong comeback performance in the Vuelta a España.
The Team Sky captain is hoping to make a run for the GC as well as prepare for the world championships, when he expects to be among the top challengers for the rainbow jersey in the time trial.
“I’m going to go into the Vuelta 100 percent and get everything I can out of it,” Wiggins explained. “For me it’s about going in there, battling through the three weeks and seeing what I come out with. And then from the end of the Vuelta to the world time trial championships, it is pretty much the same amount of time from the Tour de France next year to the Olympic time trial. So it is a good opportunity to go through that whole dress rehearsal for next year and see where I stand after a three-week tour and how I back up for a big event like the Worlds.”
Wiggins, who crashed out of the Tour with a broken collarbone, headlines the Team Sky squad, which also includes fellow Brits Chris Froome and Ian Stannard. Wiggins will be racing the Vuelta for the first time of his career.
“I’m looking forward to making my return at the Vuelta a España. It’s a race I haven’t ridden before so it’ll be exciting to take part in and I want to produce a strong performance for all those people who have supported me since my crash at the Tour de France,” he said in a team release. “The level of encouragement I’ve received has been overwhelming and I’d like to do everyone proud. I have a great team here to support me and it should be a really exciting three weeks of racing.”
Last year, Team Sky’s Vuelta debut was cut short by the tragic death of team soigneur Txema González, who died suddenly just days after the race started in Sevilla.
“The team’s debut in the race was cut short last year by the tragic death of our carer Txema González and the penultimate stage which ends in his home town of Vitoria will be a particularly difficult day for everyone involved,” said Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford. “While Txema will forever be in our thoughts, this year’s race should help aid the healing process though and allow people to focus on the future.”
After such a long absence from racing, Brailsford said the team is taking a cautious approach to Wiggins’ GC chances.
“Having Bradley back has reinvigorated us all,” he said. “He will lead the team and has recovered and trained well since his operation, but the fact he hasn’t been able to race for seven weeks means we will have to take things day by day.”
Team Sky for Vuelta: Bradley Wiggins Dario Cioni Morris Possoni Xavier Zandio Thomas Löfkvist Chris Sutton Kurt-Asle Arvesen Chris Froome Ian Stannard