Sir Bradley Wiggins will have one eye on qualifying for Chris Froome's Tour de France team when he lines up for the start of the Giro del Trentino stage race.
The Italian race starts on Tuesday and the 2012 Tour de France winner has made it clear that he hopes to be part of Froome's support team come July, according to cyclingweekly.co.uk.
“I’ll do everything possible to try to be there,” Wiggins said. “But it is Chris’s team and he’ll have lot of say on who’s around him and in front of him in the mountains.”
Wiggins will be Team Sky's lead rider in the four-day stage race that kicks off with a 14.3 kilometre team time trial by Lake Garda. He will be hoping for a repeat of last year's performance when he helped Sky win the Trentino and Giro d'Italia time trial.
Sky is already at a disadvantage, however, as the organiser last night listed the team with just six riders instead of the normal full eight-man squad. Dario Cataldo, Ian Boswell, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Philip Deignan and Salvatore Puccio will race with the Briton.
After Trentino, the 33-year-old will go on to lead Sky's team at the Tour of California before assisting Froome in the Criterium du Dauphine.
In late June, after the Dauphine and the Tour of Switzerland, Sky is expected to announce a selected nine riders for their Tour de France team.
“My job is to continue to do what I’m doing, go to the Tour of California, get the result I want there, and come back and put in a good performance and team role in the Dauphiné and warrant a Tour de France place,” continued Wiggins, who turns 34 on April 28th.
“This team has a lot of depth. It’s not straight forward that you are automatically on the start sheet if you are a Tour winner. I’d love to be there, I’ve proved that I have the legs now.”
Wiggins came fifth overall in last year's Trentino but had to pull out of the Giro d'Italia midway because of a sore knee and a cold. His knee injury also meant he missed the Tour which Froome won.
This spring the Briton has altered his goals from exclusive Grand Tour focus to one-day races and the Tour of California. Last weekend he impressed at the cobbled classic of Paris-Roubaix where he finished in the lead group taking ninth.
“Wiggins pleasantly surprised me,” said Patrick Lefevere, Omega Pharma – QuickStep's team manager. “Sky should help Froome in the Tour and give Wiggins a hand in future editions of the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”
“It’s nice that I’m not just a one-trick pony,” said Wiggins after finishing in the Roubaix velodrome. He stated his desire to return to the classic next season but for now the focus will be on the Tour.
Meanwhile, Sky has made a number of changes to their team for the Flèche Wallonne after this weekend's unsuccessful Amstel Gold Race.
Geraint Thomas and Edvald Boasson Hagen are among those who will be given a rest after a long classics campaign and Peter Kennaugh will be given his Ardennes debut.
"They all gave it 100% and you can't ask for any more than that. Christian [Knees], Danny [Pate], Ian [Boswell] and Josh [Edmondson] were really good today and Nathan [Earle] did a lot of work as well," said Team Sky Sport Director Nicolas Portal when explaining the changes.
"We couldn't give Edvald as much support as we'd wanted in those last 20km though, and that showed when those last attacks went on the Cauberg.
"We have Pete [Kennaugh], Mikel [Nieve] and David [Lopez] coming in [...] for Flèche Wallonne so I think we will be much fresher for that, and if we avoid any more bad luck, we should be in good shape."
Team Sky for the 78th La Flèche Wallonne: Ian Boswell, Nathan Earle, Josh Edmondson, Peter Kennaugh, David López, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate, Ben Swift.
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