Great expectations a dream for Wiggins
Bradley Wiggins is heading into the Tour de France as favourite
Bradley Wiggins intends to do his talking on the bike as the Tour de France begins on Saturday, with the 32-year-old "kid from Kilburn" seeking to become the first British winner of the race.
Wiggins is a three-time Olympic champion on the track, finished fourth in the 2009 Tour - equalling Robert Millar's 1984 British best - and enters the 99th edition of the race as favourite alongside defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) following an unprecedented series of results this season.
Instead of being fazed by the challenge, Wiggins, who has won the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races this year, is determined to embrace it, but he will not be talking up his chances.
"It's the stuff of dreams for me, being a fan of the sport," Wiggins said. "I'd never imagined that one day I'll be favourite for the Tour. Kids from Kilburn didn't become favourites for the Tour - you were either a postman, a milkman or worked in Ladbrokes.
"We're in a brilliant position and I think it's something to be celebrated."
After struggling to a 24th-placed finish on Team Sky's debut in 2010, Wiggins had lofty aspirations last year, only to crash out with a broken collarbone.
It means he is taking nothing for granted. "Paris is a long way off," he said. "We saw that last year. I was in hospital after seven days.
"The next three weeks are going to decide this Tour and not what you say. We go out on the road and that's where it really matters."
The road to Paris on July 22 begins with Wiggins rolling down the ramp in the 6.4-kilometre prologue in Liege. The distance and time gains are minute in the context of the 3,497km race, but Wiggins fancies his chances and could become the fifth Briton to don the yellow jersey with victory.
Asked how he will approach the prologue, he said: "The same way we've done every race this year. You can't mess around at this level, you can't try to be smart. "I'm just focused on what I'm doing and that is just literally not looking past tomorrow evening at the moment and that is it at the moment and after that one day at a time."
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