Wiggins redoubles focus for Roubaix, skips Catalunya

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Bradley Wiggins (Getty Images)

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and his Sky team have decided to withdraw the Olympic champion from the Vuelta a Catalunya, which starts Monday.

Team Sky announced the 33-year-old Englishman would skip the Spanish stage race to better prepare for his first major objective of the year, the upcoming cobbled one-day classic, Paris-Roubaix, 13 April.

Wiggins, will take part in only one race, the Scheldeprijs on 9 April, before turning his attentions to the Paris-Roubaix.

"We have modified the program to assure our progress," explained Wiggins.

"After talking with my coaches, we have decided that it would be better to have two weeks of intensive training before coming back for the Paris-Roubaix.

“This block was probably something I was going to end up missing out on this year just due to the congestion in the race schedule, but this is now an opportunity for me to get some good training under my belt and concentrate on improving in every area.”

Team Sky's Performance manager, Australian Tim Kerrison, said missing Catalunya would better prepare the Brit for the next three months or racing, with a more specific block of training more targeted in bringing the Brit to top form faster.

“Bradley is satisfied with the racing he’s done this year and how the season has gone so far, but he realises he needs to do a good, solid two-week block of training, focusing on climbing in preparation for his goals later in the season," said Kerrison.

"He’s is still very much focused on riding well at Paris-Roubaix and then going on to perform at the Tour of California."

Wiggins made the call to target Roubaix late last season, a race usually reserved for cobbled specialists, to the bemusement of many. The Brit has only ridden Paris-Roubaix four times in his career, his best finish coming in 2009, when he finished 25th.

Wiggins will take part in the Amgen Tour of California in May before the Criterium du Dauphine in June, a race he won in 2011 and 2012. He's then expected to line up at the 101st Tour de France in support of 2013 champion, Chris Froome.

Paris-Roubaix will be LIVE from 9:30pm Sunday 13 April SBS ONE with live streaming online at www.sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral.

It will be hosted by award-winning cycling journalist Michael Tomalaris with former professional cyclist Henk Vogels. Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen will provide commentary.

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