Wiggins honing ‘kick’ ahead of Giro assault

Sky's 2012 Tour champion is taking focus away from his dominant time trial to sharpen himself for sharp accelerations in the mountains

Photo: Graham Watson

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LEON, Spain (VN) — Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is tweaking his training ahead of a run for the maglia rosa to be more explosive for the summit finales in the Giro d’Italia.

Wiggins is a proven diesel who is hard to drop, but he knows if he wants to win the pink jersey in May, he will need to have speed as well as lasting power in the steeper, punchier mountain stages of the Giro.

The Tour de France champion has elected training over racing to prepare for his run at the Giro, with a new focus on sharpening his kick at the end of a climb.

“This year, we’ve been working on the more explosiveness in climbing. The Giro climbs are more that way,” Wiggins said during last week’s Volta a Catalunya. “It’s what we’ve been working on. We are always looking on improving. It seems to be working.”

The Tour de France champion has been spending much of the past several months training on the Spanish islands of Mallorca and Tenerife; Catalunya was his first European stage race of the year.

Despite falling short of victory at the weeklong Catalunya tour, finishing fifth, 54 seconds behind winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), Wiggins said he was satisfied with his performance.

Tenerife, which boasts the highest point in Spanish territory with the 12,198-foot Teide volcano, has been the setting for Wiggins’ training camps to prepare for the Giro.

Wiggins explained he has been working on improving his acceleration after long, intense efforts on sustained climbs found along the flanks of the Teide volcano.

“We’re working more on the explosivity in the climbs. I don’t like it. It’s the worst part of training. We do a lot of that at altitude; we’ve been two weeks at altitude doing that,” he said. “Sometimes the stuff you don’t enjoy doing, it’s the stuff that works. If you only do what you like doing, you have the Bradley Wiggins of 2010.”

So far through 2013, Wiggins has been discreet. In February, he debuted at the Mallorca Challenge and “didn’t get much” out of the Tour of Oman, finishing a distant 74th, more than 22 minutes behind winning teammate Chris Froome.

That’s in sharp contrast to last year, when Wiggins blazed through the calendar, winning Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie, and the Critérium du Dauphiné thanks to his time trial skills.

Catalunya didn’t feature a time trial and Wiggins couldn’t answer the race-winning accelerations in the mountains, but he’s convinced it will be his climbing skills, not his time trialing, that will be required to win the Giro.

“You’re not going to win the Giro on the time trial,” Wiggins said. “There’s no point of taking three minutes in the time trial if you lose six minutes on the [Passo dello] Stelvio.”

The Giro is part of an ambitious 2013 calendar that will later include a yellow jersey defense and perhaps a start in the Vuelta a España for the Olympic time trial champion.

Before the Giro, Wiggins will once again retreat to Tenerife to train at altitude. His only races before the start in Naples will be Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro del Trentino.

“This year, I am training more than racing. I almost prefer the training camps to the racing,” Wiggins said. “You learn from the previous year. This year has been harder because the stuff we did last year, it’s a continual thing. The training we do now, I never imagined we’d do three years ago.”

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