Tour build-up continues with start of Criterium du Dauphiné tomorrow

Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins believes that his decision to avoid the Giro d’Italia this year means he’ll be much better prepared for the Tour de France, which starts in the Vendée four weeks today.

Last year, Wiggins, making his grand tour debut with Team Sky at the Giro following his close-season move from Garmin-Slipstream, won the opening time trial in Amsterdam to become the first man to wear the maglia rosa in the 2010 edition of the race.

However, he freely admits that his efforts in that race meant that hampered him in last year’s Tour de France. There had been high hopes among British fans that Wiggins might equal or improve his surprise fourth place finish from 2009, but he finished a very disappointing 24th overall.

“I realised that I may have overcooked it and had five weeks to sort of turn it around and get it right for July,” Wiggins said of his preparation for last year’s Tour.

“This year, I have no taken part in the Giro and I have focused exclusively on the Tour de France, riding a lot of races in France,” he added.

Those races include Paris-Nice, where Wiggins finished third overall. Last week he took part in Germany’s Bayern Rundfahrt, putting more than a second a kilometre into world champion Fabian Cancellara as he claimed the individual time trial stage.

“Beating Cancellara is a big satisfaction and it gives a lot of confidence,” said Wiggins, who had never previously won a time trial in which the Leopard Trek rider was also competing.

Wiggins will be looking to repeat his success against the clock in the Criterium du Dauphiné which starts tomorrow, and which opens with a Prologue in Saint Jean de Maurienne also targeted by Team Sky colleague Geraint Thomas, and also features an individual time trial based around Grenoble.

The route of the latter is exactly the same as the one that will be used on the penultimate stage of this year’s Tour de France.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.