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"I think I’ve done everything I can do. I’m better than I was at this time last year. I feel like I’m in a better place - not just physically, where I can turn to the stats - but with everything else as well."

Photo: A.S.O.






11.04.2015 @ 18:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bradley Wiggins is proud to be among the favourites heading into his final race for Team Sky on Sunday, and will do everything he can to add the Paris-Roubaix title to his long list of achievements.


Wiggins spent the early part of the week recovering from the cuts and bruises he sustained in a crash at the Tour of Flanders, and since completing Scheldeprijs on Wednesday he has been honing his condition as he plans to tackle the Hell of the North one last time.


Buoyed by an encouraging performance in the same race last year which yielded him a ninth-placed finish, Wiggins knows he has what it takes to be at the sharp end in the Queen of the Classics and is in bullish mood as he braces himself for the iconic French cobbles:



My Team Sky career finishes after the race on Sunday, not before it, so I’m not even thinking about it at this point – I’m focused solely on the racing, and getting my head in the right frame of mind for that," Wiggins told



"My preparation for this race has been completely different from previous goals. Paris-Roubaix is not as quantifiable. You can be in the best-possible shape but still finish last in Roubaix – if you have a crash or a puncture at the wrong time it’s over. It’s not like the lottery, because you have to make your own luck and get yourself in a position where you don’t crash, but that good fortune does play a major part. If it was a simple time trial, I think I could win it, but it’s not.



"I think I’ve done everything I can do. I’m better than I was at this time last year. I feel like I’m in a better place – not just physically, where I can turn to the stats – but with everything else as well. I’ve ridden a lot of races in this part of the world since Omloop Het Niuewsblad in February, and aside from falling at the Tour of Flanders, it’s gone well. There’s not a lot we could have done differently. We’ve reconned the course every month over the winter, got a game-changing new bike, and if I can be in the same position as I was on the Carrefour de l’Arbre last year, I’ll take it.



"At the start of the week I was pretty beaten up [after the crash], but I’ve recovered quite quickly and have had good people looking after me. The crash put me on the back foot for the rest of the race last Sunday, but I tried to survive it with this Sunday in mind. I feel better now actually than I did a week ago, I felt a bit tired back then. I feel ready to go. Mentally, it’s a complete contrast from last year. I know I can be competitive at Paris-Roubaix now whereas this time last year I was only trying to convince myself that I could do it.


"The opening two hours are relatively straightforward, then for some reason everybody goes crazy for the first sector of cobbles. I’ve always dropped back into the last 10 riders for that because I find it a lot easier being in that position than in the mess at the front.


"After that first sector it calms down again and you wonder why there was so much stress in the first place. Coming through the next three or four sectors without crashing or puncturing is important, and then the Trouée d'Arenberg is the first key challenge in the race. Coming out of that in a good position and with no troubles is important.


"There’s only 100 guys left at that point, as the rest of the riders that had no chance are gone. That marks the start of the second phase of the race, and then the last one comes after the second feed zone. That’s where the 50 guys who can really do something come to the fore and it’s the business end of the race. The numbers gradually whittle down more and more, and it’s between the Orchies and Mons-en-Pevele sections where the first big moves are made. So many guys have gone there and won in the past."



Wiggins admits that the in-form Alexander Kristoff will be hard to beat.


"If he keeps riding the way he has done then he’ll definitely be the man to beat. He’s won six races since the start of De Panne so is clearly on form. On this terrain after Flanders, he has to be the favourite. He’s gone to another level this year and he seems to be able to do everything, he said.



"You can’t really plan; you have to feel when the time is right to attack. It’s forecast a strong tailwind on Sunday which will make it really fast, especially on the cobbles. You just have to think about where guys have gone for a long attack in the past. You have to be ready to adapt on the road because so much happens in the race.




"Our main strength is that we have numbers. We had numbers last year but we didn’t really use them. We’ve always had numbers actually, but our problem is we don’t have anyone who can finish it off in a sprint. Cycling’s changed in that respect; in the 90s sprinters would never get to the end of Roubaix, but now guys like Degenkolb and Kristoff can be right there. You don’t want to be taking guys like that to the finish. We’ll have to go from a small group, or alone. What’s important is how we use those numbers in the final.  It’ll be important to talk to each other a lot in the race."


Team Sky controlled the Tour of Flanders but may have a different approach this time.



"I think it would be easier to do that at Roubaix than Flanders was, but that’s not to say we’re going to do it. Again, things happen on the road. We hadn’t planned to take it up before the Arenberg last year, but we sensed it was the moment to do it because there were a lot of crashes behind. There’s even more road furniture on the approach to the Arenberg than there was last year – the road really narrows down and back out – so those decisions have to be made in a split second."


Wiggins will be leading Team Sky alongside Geraint Thomas.



"If we were in the same position as last year I’d talk to him more. I was a bit star struck last year to be in that position and that meant I didn’t communicate enough in the final, he said.



"I guess in years to come I’ll look back on these times with affection. Because you’re in the moment you’re just focused on the performance and you try not to think about everything else. It’s been a good laugh with the team and we’ve had a good time as a team. It’s a shame it’s got to come to an end."



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