I'll don yellow jersey - Wiggins
By Jonny Weeks Bradley Wiggins believes he has a great chance to wear the famous yellow leader's jersey when the Tour de France begins in London. The 27-year-old Maida Vale rider is one of the favourites to win tomorrow's 7.9km prologue event which passes
By Jonny Weeks
Bradley Wiggins believes he has a great chance to wear the famous yellow leader's jersey when the Tour de France begins in London.
The 27-year-old Maida Vale rider is one of the favourites to win tomorrow's 7.9km prologue event which passes through Hyde Park - the place where he endured hours of punishing practice before achieving glory on the track.
The four-times Olympic medallist and double World Champion has been offered a place in the French team Cofidis.
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And after winning the prologue to the Dauphine Libere race earlier this year, he claims he is in the best form of his life.
"Athens Olympics was obviously a great year, but I think I'd trounce myself if I raced the Bradley Wiggins from 2004," he said.
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"I always knew I was capable (of winning a prestigious road race), but it just never happened before The Dauphine, so it was a relief more than anything.
"It seemed like an eternity waiting to do a result like that."
Wiggins knows that all eyes will be on him and one of his rivals, Scotsman David Millar, for the start of the Tour in Britain. But he says the weight of expectation doesn't affect him.
"As I sit here today, some people are touting me as one of the favourites," he said. "But six months ago a lot of people didn't give me a look in and even I didn't, because I hadn't seen any evidence I was capable of doing it.
"Now I have made that transition and now I have shown I can do on the road what I did on the track. It's reassuring and it helps me to relax more now.
"There is a lot of hype because it's a good opportunity for us to promote the sport in Britain, and having Brits in the frame for the yellow jersey helps of course.
"I think afterwards I'll appreciate how big it is."
Yet it's hardly surprising that the magnitude of the event has bypassed Wiggins. The twists and turns of the prologue course are so familiar to him, it's almost like he's preparing for another practice session.
"I have visualised it so many times in my head," he says.
"The start is very fast up to the first corner and then once you get to the middle bit you probably have 2km either side where you can get going, and you hardly have to hit the brakes back down through Hyde Park Corner, so I really like it. It's going to be about nine minutes long which I think is ideal for me."
But Wiggins, who also rode for Cofidis last year, has ambitions beyond the prologue. He sees himself as a contender for the main sprint races during the Tour and hopes to play a pivotal role in helping his team-mates during the mountain climbs.
"I want to be part of the race throughout, instead of being part of the prologue and then being anonymous for three weeks," he added.
"I know what to expect. And knowing what the Tour is about is half the battle."
Tomorrow's prologue race begins at Trafalgar Square and finishes at The Mall. The first stage of the Tour on Sunday goes from Greenwich to Canterbury.