For Team Sky, the Volta ao Algarve could only be considered a huge success.
Overall victory for Richie Porte, a stage win and the points jersey for Edvald Boassen Hagen and another stage win and third overall for Bradley Wiggins ensured Sky scooped the team prize in Portugal and left but scraps for anyone else.
For Wiggins, winner of the final stage time trial in Portimao, his first race of the season was all about gauging form and the stage win is an added bonus after a hard winter’s training.
“I didn’t have any expectations coming here really,” said the British champion of his season opener. “I’ve been training really hard coming into this but you never know where you’re at when you start the season, so it’s good to get the first one under the belt and get a comparison to other riders and see where you’re at in relation to everyone else.”
Although he finished on almost the same time as world time trial champion Tony Martin, who also took second overall in Algarve, Wiggins took final stage victory by mere hundredths of a second.
“It’s always nice to win, especially when you beat Tony. It’s not every day you can beat Tony so it’s nice to beat him once,” Wiggins said. “It shows that everything you’ve been working on through the winter to improve or maybe to get the better of him in a time trial is working, so I just need to keep training hard, keep pushing on.”
Wiggins’ first major target comes in the shape of Paris-Nice in a couple of weeks, and though he put in a fantastic performance to set up overall victory for teammate Richie Porte on Alto de Malhao on stage three and has looked strong all week, the British national champion admits he still has some work to do before an assault on the Tour de France in July.
“I’m far from my best,” he said. “But everything is on track and this has given me a bit of confidence that what I’ve done during the winter has been good. It’s a good sign heading into Paris-Nice. I’ve just got to keep training, keep pushing on and build for July.”